PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
The popularity of venues like Palings marks a significant shift in the Sydney dining scene. No longer do people want formal dining, it's all about more casual and accessible options. As part of the ivy renovation, Palings taps into this new market with its mix-and-match venue, with various dining areas (including Sunee's Thai Canteen), plus a sprawling bar and a cute little open roof courtyard in the middle.
The rustically open space is like a playground for adults – a pad thai from Sunee's (the menu overseen by former Sailors Thai Ivy head chef Wii Trissanamaneewong), a cocktail from the bar or perhaps a bang-for-your-buck Palings steak (the grill manned by former Mad Cow chef Christopher Whitehead). It's got that hip, "this-is-the-place-to-be-seen" vibe that one naturally associates with Merivale establishments, except Palings has a more laid-back, more "me" feel. There's both table and bar service, $5 drinks happy hour on weekdays and DJ's on Thursday and Friday evenings. Like the venue itself, the meals are a mixed bag. The smoked trout and ricotta salad impresses while the house pasta bake is heavy and tasteless. The dessert menu, however, courtesy of Lorraine's Patisserie, is undoubtedly a highlight.