Sydney Dining

Sydney Opera House

If I ever get back to Sydney, I may never leave. And not just because it takes the better part of a full day to get there, or to recover from the jet-lag, which Australians know about all-too-well…since for them to go anywhere, it’s a considerable journey as well. But what I found interesting was whenever I told any locals how great their city was, they’d say, “Yeah, it’s pretty great.” Most of the time when you talk to people who live somewhere, they’ll invariably have something to grouse about.

I liked walking around the small, but urban center of the city, with its tall buildings, shopping centers, and compact Chinatown. And I enjoyed putting on my walking shoes (and socks) wandering the various neighborhoods, which are eminently walkable and you can chance upon little cafés brewing up excellent coffee, sleek design shops, and ethnic restaurants with food that will blow your support hose off.

iggys ficelleAustralian garlic
chevreCheese at Simon Johnson

Coffee is a big deal in Sydney and now I know why two of the short list of places in Paris that specialize in quality coffee are owned by Australians. One cup of just regular drip coffee that I had at Bills from Single Origin Roasters made me want to cry. Seriously. If I didn’t want to disrupt the diners enjoying their meals in the cool-white atmosphere, I would have had a little breakdown while sipping my coffee in the corner.

paella

Seemingly all of the food in Sydney is full of big, bold flavors, and even in inexpensive Asian joints (as well as the pricier ones), very fresh ingredients were used in every dish. Because I was in the city to be a presenter at the Crave international food festival, I enjoyed plenty of great food and meals by the stellar chefs I met and worked alongside with in Sydney, who make it a point to feature regional ingredients and sustainable seafood, most of which is caught in Australia.

I also was eager to try things like locally made goat cheeses, the wines, unusual shellfish, and most notably, foraged berries that really perked up my tastebuds and changed my expectations that about how berries should look..and more important, taste.

Australian fruitsgreen berries
chef john tylercaramel sauce

The feel of Sydney is very much like San Francisco, both being coastal cities, but they also both shared a deep integration with Asian culture. As the host at a Chinese restaurant said to me, “Australia doesn’t have its own cuisine, so they borrowed from others.” And let me tell you, it was great to be able to go to a Thai “street” restaurant that spilled out on the sidewalk and have a big bowl of spicy red or green curry. Or check out one of the Yum Cha (dim sum) restaurants of Sydney. I didn’t realize how much I missed spicy Thai food, and once I got a tantalizing taste of blazing chiles and curry, all simmering in aromatic coconut milk, I was hooked all over again. And think I will be doing a little experimenting in my own kitchen back in Paris.

paella party

Because Australia is an island, it has a bit of an untamed or “wild” aspect to it. And because of that, the local chefs have really been able to forge a unique kind of cuisine with their native foodstuffs. Like Chef Ben Shewry, who lives close to the sea and spends his days searching the shores and in the waters for foods which he serves at his restaurant, Attica.

forages Australian berries

I was completely blown away by a selection of odd and unusual native berries and fruits, varieties I’d never seen before, that he presented for dessert one night and if I ever get back to Australia, my dream is to go foraging with him. Although I heard he gets ups early to jump into the sea, so I may wait until mid-morning to join him.

While in Sydney, I did get to know many of the chefs at a bbq hosted by John Fink of Quay, who lives adjacent to Bondi Beach. They were a great, welcoming group and there was lots to eat and drink. Our Aussie hosts created a big paëlla over the open fire, they grilled chicken and coated it with plenty of herbs, and freely poured libations in the style of good Australians.

Surry Hillsmaking paella
making paella John Finkgrilled chicken

Because we speak the same language, I didn’t make too many gaffes while in Sydney, but I didn’t realize how profound the difference in accents was. And more than once I had to repeat myself in shops or while ordering so that I could be understood. But Australians are very welcoming and as my friend Bryce Corbett said, “Anyone who comes all the way to Australia gets a big welcome – we love guests down here!” Which was true and on my first day, a waitress in a coffee bar told me my accent was “really cute.”

raspberry cakes

I did have one wee little problem with the language and accent; when it came time to take questions from the audience during my presentation at the food festival, where I was serving chocolate orbit cake with salted candied peanuts, I had to ask a woman in the audience to repeat herself a few times since I was pretty sure she was asking me in front of everybody if I had a “small penis.” Although Australians have a wider berth than other cultures when it comes to being ribald – still, I thought it was a pretty peculiar question to ask.

In fact, she wanted to know if she could have “s’more peanuts”, but Australians don’t pronounce the hard “t” like Americans do. So I think I do need to go back to Sydney just to prove that the rumors aren’t true. (But just to be on the safe side, I’ll stay away from the icy waters of the Biondi baths seaside pool.)

biondi beach pool

Here are some of the places I ate at in Sydney. Because I was with a bunch of chefs and food writers from around the world, some of these meals were part of the events, and some were by invitation of the local chefs who were welcoming me and others chefs from around the world to Sydney. (Or perhaps it was just me, and they felt bad because of perceived shortcomings.) Others places I either chanced upon or were recommended to me by the locals.



bills pancakes breakfast at Bills

Bills

I can’t imagine a restaurant like Bills succeeding in Paris. Not because the food isn’t great, but because Bills specializes in breakfast, which is available all day. I forgot how much I enjoy a well-made full-on breakfast; maybe a stack of pancakes with a pat of butter melting on top, a bowl of five-grain porridge, a plate of warm toast, or sweet corn fritters.

buttered toast at Bills

Most surprising were the ricotta hotcakes with fresh banana and honeycomb butter. I thought it was kind of goofy to call honey butter “honeycomb butter”, figuring it was just made with honey, but mixed in the butter were bits of honeycomb, spewing rivulets of dark, syrupy sweetness in the slices of butter. Yes, I was hooked. And yes, if Bill decides to open in Paris, he might have a hit on his hand after all. French folks do like soft-cooked eggs with soldiers (toast sticks for dipping) and I I’ve personally trained one in particular to like crispy bacon.



Porteño restaurant in Sydney

Porteño

I met up with my friends Bryce and his wife Shay, the former Lido showgirl (and cupcake-maker), who’d quit the glamour of Paris and moved back to Sydney and it was good to be reunited with them. While we waited for Shay to arrive after her exercise class, Bryce and I loosened up over a few cocktails in Gardel’s bar upstairs, then headed down by the rotating asador, where chefs Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate man the fireplace and prepare dinner.

red wine at PorteñoPorteño fire
lamb ribs at PorteñoPorteño sausage

The roasting of the whole pigs at Porteño gets started at 10am in the morning, and by around 9pm, they’re almost all gone. Thankfully there was pork left when we got there, so after a plate of marinated veal tongues, sliced sausage, and house made pâté, we had a big mound of the crispy skinned pig as well as a plate of lamb ribs and a side of sautéed radicchio with pancetta and hazelnuts.

Roast pork at Porteño in Syndey

We were barely able to make it through half of the food when Shay arrived and helped us with the mountains of meat. Like I always say – Thank heaven for showgirls.

During our meal I scoped out that everyone around us was ordering the same dessert, and even though my nearly-defeated tablemates begged off, I trudged on. And they were glad I did. (Well, at least I was.)

pavlova

The Postre Chaja a South American-style pavlova, consisted of pear syrup-soaked sponge cake, poached pears, custard, and topped with generous crumbles of meringue, and was one of the best desserts I’ve had in my life. (Which joins the ewe’s milk ice cream dessert at Quay.) Even if you’re a tea-totaling vegetarian, go to Porteño just for this dessert.



Spice I Am

Spice I Am

I found myself drawn to the Surry Hills neighborhood of Sydney a few times, and I’d passed by Spice I Am, and was drawn in by folks sitting on tables spilling out onto the sidewalk and eating big bowls of Thai curry. Being nosy, I peered into their bowls of food but since it wasn’t my mealtime when I went by, I made a note to go back. The only thing is, is that I wish it hadn’t been just a day or so before I left. Because now that I’ve had a taste of authentic Thai food, something that you just can’t find in Paris, I’ve got a hankering for it something fierce: it’s very easy to get hooked on all those spices and sauces and yes, I’m hooked all over again. I dove into a big dish of Pad Cha, a spicy stir-fry of pork with curry, tiny Thai eggplants no bigger then green peas, and a boatload of very thin red chiles. My mouth is still tingling.



Sailor's Thai

Sailor’s Thai

Another Thai hotspot that I wanted to visit was Sailor’s Thai, ever since I opened up my copy of Thai Food by David Thompson, one of the best and most comprehensive books on Thai cooking. It’s a stunner of a book and I was anxious to eat in the restaurant he founded, even though he no longer owns it.

sailor's thai Sailor's Thai in Sydney

I ate in the canteen, with its long communal table, rather than in the downstairs restaurant, since I couldn’t round up a dining partner. And although no one around me offered to share all the marvelous platters of food they were ooing and aahing over when presented in front of them, like the dramatically presented fried fish, I did pretty well for myself with a starter of vegetarian fried springrolls with sweet potatoes, and the staff kindly let me order some half portions of green papaya salad with dried prawns and coconut rice and a fiery green curry with pork and green peppercorns so I could try them. Dessert was a pandan jelly dusted with freshly grated coconut, which quivered alongside a mung bean cake, that was served warm.



deep-fried duck eggs

Billy Kwong

Even though I had a day-long lunch at Billy Kwong, the restaurant of Chef Kylie Kwong, I wanted to go for dinner and experience the actual restaurant itself. Plus after I wrote about it, a number of readers recommended some dishes that I didn’t get to try and I was anxious to return. Sure enough the crispy skin duck with organic orange sauce, as well as the forceful flavor of five-star anise, was indeed, worth returning for to try. But the big surprise was the deep-fried duck eggs (pictured.) It’s hard to justice to deep-fried food in a snapshot taken in a dark, busy restaurant, but each golden-brown packet encased a soft-cooked duck egg, served at just the right temperature and consistency to capture the silkiness of the rich yolks. When I popped one in my mouth, I had one of those “Oh My God” moments of joy, when you eat something so good, you can’t believe it. Judging from the line at the door upon opening, it’s obvious that the folks in Sydney feel the same way as I do about Billy Kwong and if I lived here, I’d be lining up too.



Palace Chinese Restaurant

Palace Chinese Restaurant

I asked a local Asian chef where to get Yum Cha (dumplings) and he recommended the Palace Chinese Restaurant, located in the multi-leveled Piccadilly Tower shopping center. As an American, the idea of eating in a shopping mall is never really appealing, but I recalled when I was in Dubai and in Japan and Thailand, where locals took me to great dining options in malls – at both ends of the scale, from high-end to casual. And I know people always want to recommend a dirt-cheap joint way out in the middle of nowhere that someone who is traveling isn’t likely to have the time to visit. (And the last time I had cheap dumplings that were recommended to me, the filling tasted remarkably like dog food.) So I was happy to be seated at a lone table at the Palace and chose from the dumpling carts being wheeled around the dining room.

Unfortunately the moment I pulled out my camera and took a quick shot, immediately the floor staff jumped on it and starting talking amongst themselves, and were on high alert. It made me really nervous. (I don’t understand when I hear about bloggers going into restaurants and announcing their presence. This was the first time this has happened to me and it was really unnerving and uncomfortable.) The host, who’d been hovering ever since that fateful shot, finally came by to see how everything was (it was great) and to put him at ease, I casually mentioned that I was here for the food festival as a chef and was more than delighted to be eating great Chinese food. It didn’t really calm anyone down and next time I come, I’m leaving my camera at home, and bringing a bunch of friends so I could order more.



sepia in sydney chocolate forest

(Photos by Grab Your Fork.)

Sepia

One night a group of us had a lengthy dinner at Sepia, where chef/owner Martin Benn had just been named the Chef of the Year by the Sydney Morning Herald. He was a chef at Tetsuya and it was easy to see the Asian influence, especially in the parade of raw and lightly cooked seafood dishes, accented with chiles, dashi, water chestnuts, or wakame, that he presented in his tasting menu.

For those who think that molecular gastronomy is silly, you haven’t tasted the salt and vinegar potato starch with sansho pepper “chip” made by Chef Benn, which is better than any potato chip I’ve ever had. (And I’ve had a lot.) It was like someone concentrated an entire bag of potato chips into one explosive, crumbly wisp. We had everything from smoked trout from Tasmania to crystallized Australian macadamia nuts with the cheese course, then finally onto dessert, which I particularly loved. The “Chocolate forest” came out and was a shallow bowl of airy chocolate, praline and chestnut flavors with candied fennel fronds, all topped with an oval of pure blackberry sorbet, and buried in the bottom were sparks of fingerlimes.

Piled in a bowl, which looked like rocks, were Japanese Stones (link to video); whisper-thin chocolate shells filled with coconut and caramel creams. They were both intriguing, and delicious. Say what you want about molecular gastronomy, and although that isn’t the focus of Sepia, when the techniques are used right – as in making a turbo-powered, spicy potato chip or lightening up chocolate so it retains all the flavor, but dials down the richness so you can still enjoy chocolate after a big meal –naysayers should taste the results for themselves.

(I didn’t bring my camera so thanks to Helen of Grab Your Fork for sharing two of her shots from the dinner.)


Becasse Becasse appetizers

Bécasse

Chef Justin North welcomed us at his chef’s table in his kitchen and I’m not dropping a bunch of names here, but it’s always interesting – and a bit of a challenge – to dine with Diana Kennedy, who became my breakfast companion for most of the week in Sydney. What’s challenging is that she’s an extremely keen observer of everything and is one of those rare people in the food world that can command respect, because, well, dammit…she’s earned it. And she doesn’t miss a thing.

Becasse in Sydney

Becasse desserts

But no worries as there was little to complain about when we ate at Bécasse, where Justin North produces multi-course menus featuring shellfish grilled over a Japanese-style bbq, tangles of unusual greens, and lots of contrasts of flavors and textures. We started with a smoked scallop with carrot jelly sprinkled with toasted buckwheat, then went on to one of my favorite birds – squab – cooked over a smoking bed of pine needles. Dessert was made with locally produced Zokoko chocolate, which they offer in their providore, where you can get some of the wonderful Australian products that they use which can be brought home, including vanilla and fig syrup, which I did.



barrimundi in sydney bugs

Sydney Fish Market

When my trip was winding down, I managed to squeeze in a trip to the Sydney Fish Market. I was warned that at the outside eating area, to beware of aggressive sea gulls, but I waved them away, responding that I lived in Paris and was used to objects coming at me at high rates of speed on sidewalk. So I had nothing to worry about. It was interesting seeing all the varieties of fish for sale and although there were a number of tourists, that’s also where locals buy their fish. And it’s easy to see why.

bugs in Sydney fish market

I was prudent and had grilled Barramundi, rather than fish and chips, although many local Chinese families around us were diving into big bowls of crab and raw fish. And the seagulls were trying to dive into their lunches as well. If I go back, I may try to take the early morning tour of the world’s second largest seafood market outside of Japan.



grilled quail

Bird Cow Fish

What a pleasure it was to meet Chef Alex Herbert of bird cow fish. During her presentation at the festival, instead of doing smears of sauces over plates (which seemed to be de rigeur , but I held my ground with my salted butter caramel sauce on my dessert plate), she talked about how to grill, with tips on letting meat rest and how to season. Then we got to see (and taste) the results with her grilled quail with polenta and quickly cooked radicchio. I made it to her restaurant later in the week for a glass of wine, but it’s at the top of my list for my next visit for a full meal.



Candies as Marque

Marque

Also at the top of my list for the next trip is Marque. I met Chef Mark Best over a plate of paëlla (or maybe it was a glass of Sauvignon blanc…?) during an outdoor grilling party, but because the restaurant is only open for dinner – and lunch on Friday, which was the day I left – I wasn’t able to go. Still, I wanted to stop in at least just to say hi. And when I did, I had a late-night espresso and a lovely plate of house made candies; Aperol-filled domes, chocolates oozing with salted butter caramel, apple jellies, and I can’t remember what was in those white chocolate bites (lemon?) But that doesn’t mean they weren’t memorable. It just means I need to go back and give them another try.


It wasn’t all gorging myself on great food—I had to work! I was fortunate to be invited to the Crave food festival in Sydney to be a presenter and in spite of messages that I should visit elsewhere, for one thing, since I was a guest in Sydney, it wouldn’t have been polite to go elsewhere. And second, when you have just a week, I like the idea of using that relatively short time to explore one place rather than hustle to get from one place to the next, and reorient myself to a different city.

Sydney is very easy to navigate. The downtown area is a grid and I mostly took buses or walked. Taxis are plentiful (my friends who used to live in Paris laughed when I was astounded at how many there were) and there’s also a ferry service that leaves from the Circular Quay and I highly recommend taking one of them to anywhere, to see Sydney from the water.

I did try some Australian specialties, like Tim Tams and Wagon Wheels. I never knew what Tim Tams were, and now I know why my Australian friends in Paris get misty-eyed at the mere mention of a bag of them. The packaged Wagon Wheels, well…I think they’re worth holding out for a homemade version.

tim tams and wagonwheel

During my presentation, a lovely young woman surprised me by coming up on stage. She’s the owner of Cupcake Therapy, an enterprise which she said was inspired by my baking (cue my heartstrings!) but as also a major factor in helping her to recover from a life-threatening illness.

Lamington Macarons

Then she presented me with a box of Lamington macarons. We both kind of had a “moment’ together and I was genuinely touched that someone from the other side of the world had been somehow influenced by what I always feel is the simple act of baking. When people ask me why I bake, it sounds sort of cliché to say it’s about “sharing”, but no one bakes a cake or tart for themselves and bakers are usually very generous people. And the coolest people in any restaurant kitchen, thankyouverymuch, including the team that helped us visiting bakers and pastry chefs in the kitchen.

pastry kitchen

I will miss all the people I met – the chefs from Sydney and around the world, as well as the great food and even jet-lag that left me goofy and unable to discern a simple request for somemorepeanuts from an inquiry about my …well, let’s just leave that business back in Sydney.

But I think someone is looking out for me and when I was pursuing the menu for the flight home…could it be true? Yes, there was a Lamington on the menu. Oddly, the flight attendant had no idea what I was talking about. I didn’t want to be The Problem Passenger in 12K, but I requested they check in the galley since it was printed on the menu card.

Lamington menu

So even though I had to spend the next eighteen-and-a-half hours feeling her wrath, I had my Lamington. And I could not have been happier.

airplane lamington



Related Links

Sydney, So Far

In-Room Coffee

Bourke Street Bakery

Kylie Kwong at Billy Kwong

Quay Restaurant

108 comments

  • Ahhhhh you’re reaffirmed why, as a Sydney-sider, I was SO happy to return after a 3.5 year sojourn to London. There really is no where else in the world I would rather be for the sun, relaxation and food! Great post!

  • I’m so pleased to read how much you enjoyed your visit David. I knew you would. I hope you do come back and perhaps next visit we will meet.

  • Such a great food roundup about Sydney David….and I think your observations are spot on….I do miss spicy food living in Europe…especially Thai….it is just not the same….Glad you had a great trip…xv

    • It’s funny because I never realize how much I miss it until I go somewhere else and have it. Nice to see Mexican places opening and thriving in Paris, but Thai offerings are still lacking. It really is one of the world’s great cuisines and is really underrepresented here. I have that David Thompson book and I think I’ll start exploring recipes from it.

  • Such a lovely way to wrap up this excellent series of posts on my hometown by someone so open and appreciative! So glad to read that you enjoyed your visit, may you have a chance to return soon. The lively writing has made me homesick for all the immense variety of flavours available in Sydney.

  • So glad you had a fabulous time. There really is nowhere else in the world like Sydney. Can’t wait to get back home again sometime soon.

  • I’m a Melbournian, but am so glad you had a taste of what Australia has to offer the culinary world! It was exciting to read about restaurants that I’ve visited (Billy K) and others that I dream of getting to (Porteno). Come further south too, next time!

  • Dear Mr. Lebowitz,

    Thank you for the wonderfully fun posting. As for bungles with the accent?…Just last week, I was telling an Australian friend an anecdote….in which Patrick Leigh Fermor, the Very British travel writer, found himself staying (back in the mid- 60′s) at a formerly grand, but completely abandoned-since-independence, Governor’s House in Kashmir. The only other person there was an Australian who’d been brought over by the government to see what he could do about establishing apple orchards in India (short answer: NOTHING). They sat there, eating the HOTTEST/MOST-FIERY curry Fermor had ever tasted (made by the only servant still hanging about the place).

    Just as Fermor thought he couldn’t swallow another bite without burning his lips off, he heard the other man declare “The problem with these damn Indians is that they don’t allow for enough spice”. Fermor was considering that there wasn’t anyway that anyone could possibly put MORE “spice” into anything….and then he recalled he was speaking to an Australian…..who was referring to the fact that the Indians couldn’t be convinced to put enough SPACE between the apple trees when planting an orchard.

    My Australian friend immediately responded with the tale of an American friend of hers (also a journalist) who found himself in a boutique in Sydney…..where he tried to buy the VERY SPECIFIC jeans his adolescent daughter had requested. He finally found the brand she wanted, plopped the cash down, and was surprised/appalled to hear the sales-lady ask him if he would like to have them “ripped”….free of charge.

    He told her, in no uncertain words, that he didn’t CARE what the so-called “fashion” was….no way was he going to spend his hard-earned cash to buy his 14 year-old daughter a pair of pre-stained and/or pre”ripped” jeans, so that she could go showing-off her teen-aged tail all around town in faux “used”-jeans.

    The Australian sales-woman patiently listened to his rant about current trends/fashions, and then (with equal and admirable patience) explained to him that she was very sure his daughter was, indeed, a well-bred and carefully-raised young lady……but she was just asking if he wanted those damn jeans WRAPPED.

    I love that story.

    sincerely,

    David Terry (who is, for once, not exaggerating one little bit)
    http://www.davidterryart.com

  • Fabulous post, David! I love Sydney so much…and the dinner we had at Marque was just about the best I’ve ever had anywhere…so you must go back. It’s an iconic city, and definitely lives up to the hype (so few places do) Hope the jetlag is ok…I always feel better coming home, it’s travelling East that’s the problem I find. Happy week xx

  • Woah and that’s where I live!!!
    I am a true Parisian living in sydney and loving every minutes of it!

    Soooo happy you loved it too!
    x
    though I still think that I have not found the right baguette!!…hehehe

  • Hi David – I’m the “s’more peanuts” girl from your presentation at Crave….awkward and slightly embarrassing…
    But in all seriousness – those PEANUTS were delicious!! ; )
    Thanks so much for coming to Sydney, Ive been reading your blog for years (mostly at work when I really should be working) and I want to say thank you so much for your honest, hilarious, and delicious – stories, recipes and anecdotes – you make my work days so much more pleasant!
    Im currently saving hard so that I can take a trip to Paris and go on one of your tours that Ive dreaming about for ages!
    Hopefully see you again (this time in Paris, and sans the peanuts awkwardness) one day soon!! xx

    • That was one of the funniest moments of the year. I had heard that Australiians were more open about discussing things, so I only thought it kind of unusual that someone would ask me that question in front of a large audience (or even a small one)…but after working in restaurants for three decades, I’ve learned that nothing is off-limits.

      The only downside was that it was quite uncomfortable walking around the next day with that sock in my drawers – to dispel the rumors that were floating around the festival after that…

      ; )

  • I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your Sydney trip! Even though I live in Perth, I seriously recommend taking a food journey through Melbourne, as for me, that place knocks my socks off, food wise that is, and culture.. :)

    And I completely agree with the nature of a baker – when ever I bake something I have to divide it up and give it out. There is far more joy and satisfaction when others can enjoy it.

  • Sydney is one of my favourite foodie cities in the world and one of my favourite cities non-stop. Thanks for making me homesick.

  • Oh David, you say the nicest things! Thanks so much for mentioning Cupcake Therapy (and by the way, you had me at ‘young’) – I enjoyed our moment together too, even though I was too tongue tied to say anything very intelligent! You managed to pack a lot into your time in Sydney and have done a great job of capturing the highlights. If you’re ever in Australia again, particularly Melbourne, my sister and I will be sure to (stalk) look you up again! Merci

    • Well, you looked young to me! : ) Actually, meeting you one really one of the high points of the trip and everything you said to me was really touching. So glad you’ve been able to conquer what ailed you and you’ve certainly triumphed. Good luck with the baking venture – and thanks for the Lamington macarons!

  • wow. Sydney is my next vacation spot now. I never realized the food was this good. That looks like an Etihad snack menu. Now that’s good airline food.

  • I am laughing so hard reading this post. I have never been to Sidney, but what caught my attention was the accent issue of peanuts. I am an asian Indian and I can relate so very well to the accent problems. People outside India cannot even pronounce my name correctly and my name is pretty easy to pronounce. Very nice post.

  • I have not been to Australia since the 90s and I am dying to go back not only to see my dear friend, but to try each and every one of these restaurants !!! Thank you for all of these gems.

  • Australia has SO much to offer on the international food scene. I’m just delighted that you had such a good time, and these photos and your observations have made me terribly homesick. (Although I’m a Melbourne girl and always will be…! the food scene there is AMAZING too)

  • Food is a great reason to travel. It’s been great reading about how much you have loved the fabulous food of Sydney. You’ll have to visit more often- there’s so much to explore- you may even get used to the flight!

  • Your story about the “odd and unusual native berries and fruits” reminded me of the month I spent outside of Cairns studying ecology/forestry back when I was in college. My professor was lecturing about “bush tucker” (aka wild food) and convinced me to try a “Davidson’s plum.” Expecting something plum-like, I bit in, only to discover the tartest, sourest fruit I have ever encountered. Noticing my puckered face, my professor said, “They taste a little sour to the uninitiated.” I still have no idea if he was just messing with me.

    • I was with another chef, who has a restaurant in New York, and she took one bite of a berry and scrunched her whole face up. (She said it removed all the saliva from her mouth, and I thought maybe it had potential for my next dental visit!) But I do like the element of surprise in a lot of these flavors and foods that I tried in Australia, because many are like nothing else I’ve ever tasted.

  • What a wonderful blog about my hometown, Sydney. Coffee is always a welcome treat when I am back home, especially as my palate has become numb to the drip coffee I wake up to in the US. I’m using this blog as a food guide when I go home for a visit, as there are a few things I must try. That pavlova at Porteno looks insane! Thanks David. Yours is my favourite blog to read.

  • OK, upon further investigation maybe my professor wasn’t messing with me. According to this article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davidson%27s_Plum) they are “highly regarded as gourmet bushfood.”

  • No Vegemite?

  • Have you tried a Tim Tam Slam? Ask your Australian friends about it and try it. Such a treat.

  • You, sir, are a devil!!
    I left Sydney in my youth to return only as a visitor many times in the last 50+ years. A classmate of Leo Schofield (yes, THAT Leo Schofield the gastronome extraordinaire) I miss Sinney with all my heart and belly.
    Alas, now in my later seventies, I cannot think of returning as a resident but you are torturing my memories and spearing my heart.
    Thank you.

  • Lamington Macarons, I would love one of those…. it also makes you wonder why hasn’t anyone ever thought about filling a Macaron with chocolate and jelly…….at least before trying ketchup. Just a thought……

  • Practically your best post ever, David. You’ve written so vividly I can almost taste everything you’ve described. Thank you!

  • Great post and I almost feel like I was on the trip with you after reading through it (though I wish I was) . Too funny about the accent faux pas, I suffer the same scenarios being a Scotsman living in California but it makes for fun stories,
    Take care..

  • But wait–Do you have a small penis?

  • David, Bill is opening his first restaurant in London this autumn: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/recipes/8718246/Chef-Bill-Grangers-favourite-Asian-recipes.html. Come visit!

    Oh and his new book is pretty amazing too: http://wtfdoieattonight.com/2011/09/15/the-cook-shelf-bill-grangers-everyday-asian/

    Brilliant post as ever; thank you.

  • Ahhh, David, this is brilliant! The pictures, the descriptions, just beautiful. That dessert, the sort of ramped up pavlova, sounds like heaven. I want to go now and try it all. I think the glory of traveling is sampling the food and hanging with the locals. I’m headed to Brussels in November and have never had more than a day there in the past, so this time I plan to get off the beaten path and find some treasures. And of course, frites with mayo! Good luck with that penis misunderstanding! Best to you!

  • Spice I Am is the best Thai food I’ve had outside of Thailand. And that’s all I have to say about that! HaHa! Well, sort of… Sailor’s Thai is very good, too. And their mango with sticky rice remains one of my favourites. For overall Thai food outside of Thailand, Pok Pok in Portland, Oregon is a close second. I loved reading this post. I miss Sydney quite a bit, and food is one of the major reasons. It doesn’t get much better than Sydney. Thanks for the reminder that I need to plan a trip back very soon.

    • Years ago I went to Thailand and after that, it was hard to eat Thai food anywhere else. Even though I lived in San Francisco at the time, where there were a good number of Thai places, the food in Thailand blew everything else that I’d ever had away.

  • David, this post could not have come at a better time. I am heading to Australia for the first time next month and will be spending my first week in Sydney. I’ve been printing out list after list of Must Do’s and this is going right into the folder. I particularly can’t wait to have authentic Thai food (love Thailand) and attack some of those Lamington Macarons. We’ll have to discuss how they compare to those at Laduree.
    Next stop after Sydney will be Melbourne. Are you going to give us any advice there?
    Thank you for your most wonderful blog.

  • I love Australia and reading your post about Sydney made me wish I could do my honeymoon all over again and eat at all the places you listed! You MUST visit Melbourne if you haven’t already. I know that I’m biased since I studied in Melbourne for a year when I was doing my undergrad in college, but I love it even more than I love Sydney and Sydney is a pretty amazing place.

  • Wow, you certainly did Sydney justice! how does it compare to beautiful Paris?

    • I was say the biggest difference in dining is the freshness of ingredients. Flavors in Australia were very dynamic and even the smallest café I went to in Sydney took care with their coffee, and noted when ingredients were local. I also saw a big nod toward using sustainable seafood in Sydney. At the seafood market, almost all the seafood was from Australia – not imported from far away.

      Also the ethnic food scene is different. In Sydney, there’s plenty of Asian joints serving Thai noodles and dim sum, whereas in Paris, there are more Middle Eastern places serving gyro sandwiches with French fries, some couscous and falafel. And in Paris, there are a lot more bread bakeries and cheese shops, and bakeries on the streets.

  • An amazing post, amazing! There really is so much to explore and never enough time. As a Sydney sider I’ve still not been able to try everything myself. Thank you for your post. It was such a pleasure to read :)

  • Wow. I don’t think I would ever want to leave either. Everything looks better than the one before! Your trip is a dream! Always wanted to go there but the flight is just sooooo long! Thank you for sharing- living vicariously through your travels!

    • The flight is pretty daunting, but once you’re there, it’s pretty awesome. From what my Australian friends told me, you do get a bit of ‘wanderlust’ living in Australia (you can’t really take a quick trip to somewhere – except New Zealand, which sounds quite lovely, but is likely somewhat similar) – and if you want to go anywhere, it’s a bit of a trip. But I was glad to go!

  • G’day David, I am totally gob-smacked by how you can enter a new place/culture, even with roughly the same language, and tell it not only like it is but entice the world to want to be there NOW. A true talent! Have sent to all my Aussie friends in SF.

    I’m saving all your posts for my trip next spring, I now know what to do there, where to go. Thank you!

  • In your post of 10-11-11 you talked about the coffee you had at a place called BILLS. It was by Single Origin Roasters. You said it almost made you cry….. if that was going to be a GOOD cry I would love to know what kind of coffee it was. Here I am at 73 young and just now switching from coffee ice cream to drinking it. I was a tea drinker before.
    I have printed all your post about your trip because my children are treating me to a trip any place I want to go for my 75th. and I think SYDNEY just might be the ticket !!

  • You captured the very essence of Sydney. Enough so, that I’m completely homesick as I sit here in Austin, Texas. Thanks for that. =)

  • You ate exceptionally well when you were here! Thanks for showing off Sydney to the rest of the world ;)

  • I’m so excited that you came over here to our little island, and even more delighted that you enjoyed it so much. I hope we can entice you back for a longer period, as each place has its very own food culture, and I’d love to read your beautifully written thoughts on each of them.

    You’ve also managed to make me actually *want* to visit Sydney (if only for gastronomic adventures), which is a bit of a feat. I’ve lived (or at least visited) pretty much everywhere else, but Sydney’s just a bit too big-city for the rest of us uncultured hicks. :P

  • That has to be one of the most. . .unusual, shall we say, in-flight menus I have ever seen. Looks like they wrote down random food items on slips of paper, put them in a hat, and wrote down whatever was blindly drawn. And here I thought the Virgin American menu was oddball – silly me!

    • i think airlines that fly to Australia, which go through other countries, must be truly international – especially with their menus. I think it’s kind of great that they cater to various tastes (my plane had an espresso machine on it!) and for the most part, the food was very good, too. Even the lamington!

  • David, I’m so glad you have been enjoying your stay in Sydney. And doing all the hard work for me when I next head there – now I can just consult your list of places so eat so I’ll feel more in the loop.

    One loop you definitely should explore when you next have the chance is down here in Melbourne. Somewhat different to Sydney’s restaurant scene we have a heavy European influence mixed in with lots of Middle Eastern and many more. And also down here our cafe culture is rife – some of the best food to be had comes from kitchens the size of a broom cupboard jammed between laneway dumpsters and the perfect coffee is a must for a cafe to survive the competition.

    I could tell you where to go and what to see but I think in a place like this discovery is what really makes the experience special.

    Enjoy the rest of your stay and thanks for setting the story straight on what a lamington is!

  • I have only been following your blog for a short time, indeed it’s the only blog I have ever followed. I’m not much of a cook, although I enjoy baking, but I do love to eat.

    Thank you for all the fantastic insights into Sydney’s eating houses. We are from Brisbane and travel down there a few times a years. It’s easy to find the big name places, which can be beyond the budget, but it’s really great to hear about some of the lesser known treats.

    If you ever make it to Brisbane there are lots of treasures here too. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

  • When are you going home? I love Paris!!!!

  • Thank you for reminding me why I bake, to share. And thanks for the armchair trip to Sydney, fabulous, I found recipe for Bills ricotta pancakes at:

    http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/44/ricotta-hot-cakes-with-honeycomb-butter:

  • WOW! I can’t believe I read the entire post. And this is a post. But the way you write David, is so real, that I almost fell as if I was walking along with you, visiting all these places, tasting (or actually devouring) all these great dishes, licking my lips after the desserts and just enjoying myself in a friendly city.

    I believe the tourism industry should hire you as their spokesman; visitors to the city would double. I copied this article, because I am hoping to be able to travel there soon and my best guide will be David Lebovitz.

    Oh yes. Maybe your next project should be the publishing of traveling guide.

  • Such joy! Thank you so much David for these wonderful posts on my home town. I simply love and read with gusto all of your travel posts, so to hear you talk about your visit to Sydney was such a joy. Merci merci merci!

  • Interesting you should mention the duck at Billy Kwong’s. I had it in January, and the dish was perfect except it was so salty I couldn’t eat it (I’m half Czech, and I can tolerate a lot of salt, trust me). I asked the waiter if it was meant to be like this, upon which he had it replaced. Unfortunately, no difference. My friend had a pretty bland rice-dish which could have come from any random take-away. We were therefore slightly disappointed but the waiter insisted we don’t pay, not even for the drinks.

  • Thanks so much for all your wonderful posts on Sydney. I’ve always a bit of a love-hate relationship with the place (being a country girl and missing trees and space). You’ve really brought home to me this fabulous place I’ve called home for the last four years and given me a fantastic list of things to try before I move back to the bush in a couple of months. So thanks for giving me a new look at Sydney, I’ve enjoyed seeing it from your eyes!

  • David, speaking of peanuts, what did you think of the Kri Kri Peanuts?

    • My hotel room quickly filled up with treats (um…thanks everyone!) including 4 various boxes of macarons, Tim Tams, Lamingtons, and the Kri Kri nuts. I managed to eat my way through half a bag and they were, indeed, delicious. The rest I brought back to Paris because I was stuffed…er, as was my suitcase – Thanks so much!

  • Thank you again David – your kindness and generosity has given me another piece of inspiration to tuck away in my memory banks which helps me get through those long lonesome nights of madly baking while the rest of the house is sleeping!

    And Lynn – Lamington Macarons from Cupcake Therapy are available in Gippsland, a regional area near Melbourne. Send me an email and I can arrange some for you during your visit – natalie@cupcaketherapy.com.au. Happy travels!

  • Just wanted to say thanks for the gorgeous post. It brought back many gorgeous memories of living in Sydney when I was 16. Though too young to appreciate the city fully (school uniforms and gender segregation!), dining atop Australia Square with a revolving 360 view remains incomparable. I’m sure your joy at being there was reciprocated!

  • Well, David, all you have done is make my mouth water for an extended taste of home. I am so pleased you enjoyed Sydney and its food fare. The only thing to equal it in my mind (and it has been years) is Melbourne.

    I truly hope you revisit Australia and travel around – the food is amazing. Fremantle in WA has a totally different flavour from Melbourne. Perth is a homing ground for many different cuisines.

    Ahem! I obviously miss the country of my birth and I am in Scotland. Not a culinary matchstick by comparison. I keep trying but get bemused half smiles by the Scottish mutton pie eater. Hahahahaha.

  • I LOVE this entry. We’re heading to Sydney in Dec and while I’ve researched on the dining scene myself, I’ve also noted all the restaurants you listed here. Fantastic! Love how gastronomically diverse Sydney is.

    Did you by any chance get to try Rockpool? We’d love to try it. Also wondering if you received recommendations on pho in Sydney since there is quite a sizable Vietnamese population there.

    Cheers!

  • As an Ex Pat, there are a few things I miss from the UK. Most I have been able to find in Spain but some are too expensive to contemplate! One of the things I could not get was Tiger Loaf, a type of bread that was sold in a few of the well known Brit supermarkets – but (happy dance!) I have now been able to replicate it at home! The joy! I’ve been trying to make this stuff for 5 years, so I feel chuffed that I have now managed not only the look but the flavour of it!
    I put the recipe straight onto my website to aid others on the same quest.

  • http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/desserts/pink-lamingtons/

    David, here is a link to a homemade version of lamington’s that I think you will find interesting. They caught my fancy quite awhile ago, and your post reminded me of them.

  • Wow! I have a question for you… Are you hungry?

  • Beyond jealous! It’s been five years since I went to Sydney and fell in love with the city and its unbelievable food. You just reignited those feelings. But also, can we just talk about that Postre Chaja?! I’ve never heard of or seen such a beautiful thing…

  • David, what about that Crown Street Grocer, that bread from Iggy’s is like nothing else, and they also stock the most amazing local artisan butters and what about the salmon from Tetsuya! We always book a serviced apartment and stock up at the Crown Street Grocer and dine in at least once or twice during our Sydney stays.

    Really pleased you enjoyed yourself!

  • I’ve been reading your blog without commenting but I had to comment on this post. It is a fantastic tribute to Australia. I love the stories and the pictures, they make me want to visit even more. Your simple statement that baking is about sharing is so true. I love to bake and 80% of what I bake is shared with friends, coworkers and family.

    Glad you enjoyed your trip and shared it with us.

  • Thank you for this post. It reaffirms everything I love about Sydney. I returned to Sydney last December after nearly seven years away – five years in London and 18 months in San Francisco. I enjoyed both those places and the opportunity to travel but Sydney is my soul city. It is not flawless but no place is and I love it.

    I can’t go out to restaurants very much at the moment because I have 8-month-old twins, though I have been to a few of the places you mention in the past. You’ve inspired me to make the effort to do what I can.

  • Wow David you did very well to experience so much of Sydney’s food in just a week. And I particularly love the fact that you stumbled upon my very favourite dish at Spice I am. I always order it and everyone I have taken there has always called me later, from the restaurant on a return visit, to ask me the name of “that chicken dish”. So much so that I decided that I had to try and make it. I managed to make a really good version in case you are interested. I posted the recipe on my blog under the title “Spice I really am” (yeah, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself when I managed to make it!).

  • Sydney is voted #1 City in the world by Conde Nast Traveler- Incentive for all of us to visit in the near future! http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/sydney-voted-no1-city-in-the-conde-nast-traveler-readers-choice-awards/story-e6frfku0-1226165509411

  • Thank you for this timely post. We are thinking of going to Australia for the Australian Open tennis tournament so I am dutifully reading all your posts and planning for some good food as well. Enjoy all your adventures!

  • I always feel like ‘the fly on the wall’ when you write about a special trip. You do a wonderful job of transcending the audience into the ‘action.’

    Thanks for sharing Sydney with us. I’m sure you will be happy to get back home, but It is always a joy to read about your adventures. :)

  • actually there is a place in Paris that serves breakfast all day/all the time. Breakfast in america, 4 rue Mahler, 75004 or 17 rue des Ecoles, 75005

  • Thank you so much for sharing your experience in Sydney. Having moved back to San Francisco after living in Sydney for a year, your blog has definately brought back some wonderful memories. Isn’t Sydney just awesome!?!?! I think what really hit close to home was that you went to so many of the best restaurants in Sydney. You are one lucky man! I do have to mention that you absolutely must go back to the fish market next time you return. I’d highly suggest taking a boat ride through the harbour, docking your boat at the fish market and enjoy some amazing seafood. And the coffee…boy do I miss the coffee. I’d love to have a flat white right about now :) Can’t wait until you head back there again. Hopefully next time in Jan/Feb during the summer so you can also enjoy some beach time.

  • hullo david was lovely to meet you! so glad you enjoyed your trip to sydney please visit us again soon there are many more places to eat at :D

  • I’m an Australian and normally Sydney is last on my list of places within Australia to visit, probably because it suffers a bit from tall poppy syndrome and the rest of us feel like we sit in Sydney’s shadow, but really as much as I hate to admit it, it is a great city.

    You’ve managed to even convince me that I need to go back down to Sydney soon and feast at some of these amazing restaurants and cafes.

    I would love to know more about the native berries that you tasted. Indigenous foods are a bit of an interest of mine but it is very hard to find information about them, as so many of the traditional land owners who knew the information were displaced from their families and unable to pass it on.

    • I think that may be the same as France – so many visitors come to Paris, but don’t see the rest of the country, which is really quite different. I got a (large) number of messages that I should visit other places in Australia during my visit, and while it was nice to see that people are proud of their various cities in Australia, when people come to France and go to, say, Lyon or Marseilles, I nice to concentrate on one city. (I never heard of “tall poppy syndrome” but I like the term!) Plus the chef’s festival was in Sydney and it would have been impolite to go elsewhere while I was a participant in their festival.

      I wanted to know more about those native berries as well. Perhaps there are local chefs or people who give foraging classes or run expeditions in your area that you could plug in to?

  • Long plane rides or not, you definitely have to return to Australia many, many times. The food scenes in WA and South Australia are also booming. I missed Sydney’s fish market (yes, silly me) the last time I was there but managed to go to Manly. Porteño would be the one reason I’d fly there again – those guys rock.

    On another note, it’s not so easy to find authentic Thai food in Asia either (unless you’re in Thailand itself). Thai joints in Malaysia and Singapore manned by local cooks are assimilated with local taste buds and many Thai ingredients (holy basil for example) are not readily available. That said, we mostly cook our own Thai food at home, making spice blends and pastes from scratch so tom yam every other night wouldn’t be a problem. I can see why you crave these flavors.

    With all that said, do you need an invite to Singapore/Malaysia? You’ll never leave as well, I promise.

  • You should go and get an Ice Cream from Pat and Stick. Pat is the little one and Stick is the really tall one. They look weird but will talk ice cream sandwiches with you all day. It helps that they make some pretty good ice cream…

    http://patandstick.com.au/

  • Wonderful you had a great experience in Sydney. Thought you should know
    Wildfingerlime supplies Martin at Sepia with Finger Limes, you had the wrong link !
    Love it if you can change it to http://www.wildfingerlime.com

    I had linked to what seemed to be just the general site for fingerlimes since many readers might not be familiar with them, not because I thought they were the ones used at Sepia. I did change the link to your company since those are the ones Martin uses at the restaurant. They’re pretty delicious! -dl

  • You’ve made me so homesick. Sydney is certainly the best city in the world for this former Sydney-sider who keeps thinking she’ll be back any day. You can bet your bottom dollar that Aussies are darn proud of their cities. I would not let a bad word pass between these lips about Sydney.

    By the way, the only lamington I’ve had since leaving Sydney was in Hong Kong! I was really surprised to see them have lamingtons in the McCafe selection in Hong Kong of all places. And yes, the top Aussie restaurants just don’t like to do lamingtons very often as it’s seen as a treat that harks back to the school canteen. Now, that wouldn’t be very posh would it?

  • Awww, i join the other aussies now thoroughly homesick!
    Sydney is fantastic for the food scene, but….(and yes there is always one) next time you go make your way to Melbourne. The food scene is a bit more underground but i think even better than Sydneys.
    My other aussie friends sitting here in Geneva and i often get what has been termed “Asia mouth” – a massive craving for proper asian food that is not to be had here (CHF40 pad thai with tomato sauce anyone??). Last time I came back from Singapore i brought back with me enough laksa paste and Chilli crab paste to feed 30 people each. We had a massive laksa night and chilli crab is to brighten up drab November. So glad you enjoyed Australia, its great to hear the pride everyone takes in showing off what it can do.

  • Andrew: Will add that to my list for next time, for sure. Who doesn’t want an ice cream sandwich? There is a place that does that firm mastic ice cream, but it’s not in Sydney so I don’t have time to make it over there. Another one for the list…

    Laurian: I love that term “Asia Mouth” – I think it could be because of the spicy tingle after eating Thai or Singaporean, or just authentic Asian food in general. We don’t have any good Thai places here in Paris (that I know of) but there are some great Asian food stores in Chinatown that stock Thai and other ingredients – so I just need to do some shopping…and cooking!

  • What a feast, the passenger at 12K! :) Were you able to fit in one seat on the way back, because I probably would not be able to!
    By the way, the fried fish looks very angry on the plate!
    Hope to see the other side of the world someday!

  • God that Porteno pork looks amazing…looks like you had some great food (and good Aussie weather as well!) I never knew the culinary scene in Sydney was so good…

  • I love Spice I Am, too, especially their po tak, spicy seafood soup like tom yum! I am planning to go to Sydney again early next year. I also love the Sydney Seafood market, we could really have one like that in the US, I have never seen fresher fish elsewhere, other than the wet markets in Southeast Asia.

  • Oh god you bring back so many memories.
    The filling in the wonderful sweets at Marque is lemon.
    I think it’s OK to cry over coffee. I’ve done it twice, both times
    in the Cannaregio district in Venice.
    I recently cried over a fruit de mer in Cannes. I live
    in Greece where the misconception is that we are loaded
    with seafood. We’re not and it’s expensive!
    I agree with the feel of the city, the people, and the tour
    of the fish market is definitely worth doing.
    And Bourke Street Bakery is a delight for the
    taste buds too. Having lived in the States for
    many years I had to get over the ‘eating in a mall’
    syndrome but still enjoyed the Marigold in Sydney’s
    Chinatown for Yum Cha. So glad I’m not the only
    raver of all things in Sydney!.

  • You’re account of Sydney was breathtaking. I can imagine myself there again…what a fabulous experience you had. Not enough people know the joys of Sydney’s food culture.

  • I am sick with green, loving envy. You got the royal treatment in Sydney, being able to hang with the rockstars of the culinary world there, and each and every account you shared was perfect and beautiful.

  • sydney really does seem to have it all. your pictures have me drooling all over myself.

  • Great post. Love all the photos. Thanks for sharing.

  • I’m a born and bred Londoner that has found herself living in Sydney for over a decade now. Though I miss England with ferocity and I miss the European foods that are available readily there, the brilliant chocolates particularly, when (if) I return I will miss the fantastic Indonesian and Thai food that is available so readily (and cheaply!) here.

    And until I came here, I didn’t think I liked coffee. I’d just never had the good stuff.

    I’m glad you enjoyed your time in Sydney. Surry Hills is gastronomic delight.

  • Thanks David, very kind of you.
    We are pushing to get our Finger Limes to the States, one big hurdle, the FDA
    Europe can’t get enough of them which is fantastic !
    cheers
    Georgie

  • Hi David
    Which ocean has this “sustainable seafood, most of which is caught in Australia?”

    Most of the fish that I buy from the fish shops is imported or is caught far away from our shores. If one is able to go to the fish market then, perhaps their fish is caught locally.

    BTW we lived in Paris for 7 years and, although, we love Australia, which we now ” call home” we will never find another city to compare with “The City of Light”.

    I so enjoy your columns and have read a few of your books. I have journeyed back to Paris or France with your friend who was the dancer in Paris and with other great Australian authors.

    However, “Paris is a Moveable Feast” and I have to agree with Ernest H.
    Best wishes
    Paula.

  • Such a monumental post, and written with such clarity and eloquence! It was a pleasure to meet you and even more of a treat to read your posts. And I love that you found a lamington – I can’t think of a more fitting farewell!

  • paula: I was talking about the chefs I was working with, who were all very conscious about using sustainable seafood. When I went to the Sydney Fish Market, I noticed a majority of the fish was from Australia (some items were indeed, imported), and the shoppers and diners were a good mix of various ethnicities and income levels, so it was nice to see folks at that public market were partaking as well.

    Helen: So nice to meet you as well, and thanks for the photo! The flight attendant really didn’t know what I was talking about, even when I pointed it out to her. But I thought it was fitting as well…and somehow, fate…so I was glad I insisted : )

  • Damn. I was thinking “oh god not a Sydney stroke fest” which is commonly the case when I read articles about cooking and Sydney. Perhaps I should stop reading The Gourmet Traveller magazine. Having lived in Sydney for five years, I admit I was glad to leave the hustle and bustle for the bush.

    However, I admit an ever so slight mist over the eyes appeared when reading of a few haunts I recognised, the food I remembered, the people I had met and further admit that yes, Sydney is a pretty amazing city.

  • What jet lag? Many came and immediately called Australia home.

    Being in such close proximity to the melting pots of Asia, we are truly blessed with some of the finest international cuisines with an enviable lifestyle to match.

    What you experienced was merely the tip of a gastronomic iceberg not found anywhere else in the world!

  • Thanks for the wonderful photos and of the fish market! I missed out last time and hope to rectify it when I come up to Sydney again. Glad you had fun and hope it’s not your last trip down under. :)

    Totally not bias here, but if you have the chance to come down here again, come to Melbourne for the coffee. :)

    In regards to “tall poppy syndrome”, it’s people who are “high achievers” and they’re usually cut down by their peers because due to envy… However majority of the time, I think it’s just used to attack people who are assumed to be haughty and arrogant, i.e trimming the poppies down to our size?

    • Well, considering the volume of messages that I got inquiring why or if I was coming to Melbourne, I did see that they do have a culinary festival, so perhaps one day they will invite me as well. The people at the Crave festival in Sydney welcomed me on this trip, and I was glad to be a participant in their event.

  • After not having read this for a while, I flicked over to your blog today and got ridiculously excited that you went to Bills! It’s my favourite breakfast in the world, and my mum and I use the ricotta hotcakes as the gold standard for any breakfast pancake dish on any menu…which is probably a bit unfair…..

    So glad you enjoyed my home town :)

  • I’ve just caught up on this post, David. What a great homage to the food scene in my city! I just wanted to let you know that I make Wagon Wheels at home. I use the recipe for punitions from Dorie Greenspan’s “Paris Sweets”, fill them with homemade vanilla bean marshmallow and raspberry jam and dip them in tempered dark chocolate. They are pretty popular with the family and definitely trump the commercial version.

  • Well, you’ve gone and done it..thanks for making me homesick David. Great post on Sydney and it makes me even prouder to be an Aussie – even one who is living far away from home. I was back for a quick trip in May and was so proud to show off our food and coffee culture to my husband. It was a great feeling when I realized that it wasn’t just rose-coloured glasses but in fact the food scene is incredible down under.