When the weather isn’t beckoning you to the beach, what better time to hibernate in a cosy restaurant and test-run some of Sydney’s best new restaurants. From chefs taking on their first solo venture to the hospitality magnate that is Merivale, 2016 has seen some of the hottest new digs swinging open their doors.
When a chef takes on their first solo venture, there is a contagious mix of anticipation and hope in the air, which accounts for the energy that emulates at Bar Brose. Co-owned by head chef Analiese Gregory, together with the ACME team, Bar Brosé is a narrow bar running between Victoria Street and Darlinghurst Road. Open until 1.30 am, the snack menu features the kind of food that's best enjoyed with wine, from fresh oysters and gnocci to the famous late-night sandwich.
While The Resident’s views over Hyde Park are beautiful, they are an afterthought. The draw card here is chef Pablo Tordesillas, who made his mark on the Australian dining scene at Ortiga. The Resident’s Mediterranean menu is enhanced by a liberal use of local ingredients from lemon myrtle to WA octopus and Cooroong skirt steak.
After the success of Alexandria’s Kitchen By Mike, chef Mike McEnearney has set up home in the heart of Sydney’s financial district at No.1 Bent St. Applying the same ethos that garnered such a cult following at his first café, McEnearney continues to serve honest, simple and generous food, sans the canteen-style service. Designed with a minimalist layout and embracing the Victorian era sandstone interior, No. 1 Bent Street epitomizes the best of Sydney’s food scene.
Through a secret door on Pitt Street and down a dark and narrow stairwell, discover Norsk Dor, a Scandinavian culinary cave filled with natural timber, Kangaroo hides and Nordic delights. Start with house pickles, Gravalax and roasted bone marrow with rye before tackling the venison sampler, featuring fennel and berry or the cured king fish with red currants and five-spiced kipfler.
Bringing back old-school dining in its art deco dining room, private theatrette and baby grand piano is Restaurant Hubert. The French restaurant, from hospitality heavyweights the Swillhouse Group, has been carved into seven distinct areas, with Beatrix Dining Room offering bistro classics and a French vibe. Just peckish? Hang out at the wine and charcuterie bar for a bite and a cocktail.
Apart from Noma, this has been possibly the most talked about openings of 2016. The luxury hotel Frasers Broadway swung open its doors at Chippendale on the sites of the former Carlton United Brewery Administration Building and the Clare Hotel. The hotel features 62 rooms and three restaurants, including Kensington Street Social. Owned by Unlisted Collection, which runs upmarket restaurant-hotels overseas, Kensington Street Social is already making its mark on Sydney's culinary scene thanks to Michelin Starred British Chef, Jason Atherton, in the kitchen.
While strictly not a new restaurant, Yellow is deserving of a place on this last after relaunching itself as a vegetarian restaurant early this year. Rather than your token pumpkin risotto, hospitality heavyweight Brent Savage (whose portfolio include Monopole and Bentley Restaurant & Bar) has created a serious menu that will leave even carnivores begging for more.
Sydney’s inner-west isn’t known as a leafy landscape, which makes the arrival of the 350-seater Acre, that much more special. Formerly The Camperdown Bowling Club, this urban farm, restaurant, takeaway joint and bar takes its paddock-to-plate philosophy seriously. Sustainable produce is grown in the kitchen garden one day and the next it sits on diners’ plates next door.
A far cry from the Indian and Pakistani restaurants of Surry Hills’ Cleveland Street, Indu is where you will discover the finest food from the Subcontinent in the basement of a heritage-listed building on George Street. While each dish is plated in a fine-dining style, the restaurant’s ethos remains humble – with a focus on village style food from the South. There is an interesting cocktail list designed to pair perfectly with the menu; it's been carefully crafted with tonics and spices that evoke India's exotic heritage.
One hour's drive north of Sydney CBD, The Newport is a trendy drinking, dining and entertainment hub formerly known as The Newport Arms. The Merivale property is a playground for adults, with sprawling grounds that include a vintage gymnasium with badminton, ping pong and a giant magnetic Scrabble board. Indoor and outdoor dining spaces overlook Pittwater and there's a Mod Oz menu of pizzas, burgers and fish and chips.