Sydney, So Far…

I’ve been here about a day and a half, and am slowly acclimating to being on the other half of the world, which is a pretty exciting feeling. Each morning I wake up – a little too early…but after waking up at 2am this morning, I’m pretty sure that tonight’s the night I get a good night’s sleep.

Today some of the local chefs gave me bites of the best of Sydney, before I head to behind the stoves to return the favor. I’m a little swamped with getting ready, and will write more about the places I visited. But here’s a little taste…


Started the morning at Bills, the restaurant of chef Bill Granger, who is famous for his clean style – and great breakfast. Waking up to sweet corn fritters is almost as good as waking up to a winning view of the Sydney harbor. Add spicy avocado salsa? The fritters win, hands down. Bonus points for the great coffee as well.

bourke street bakery

So what’s the best thing to do after a hearty breakfast? Head to Bourke Street Bakery. I was pretty wowed by everything that’s packed into this tiny storefront. It’s a great place and I may have to head back for the savory pastries, which start coming out of the oven a little later than I was there. The line starts behind me.

victor churchill

For some reason, I hadn’t associated Sydney with meat, until the owner of Victor Churchill reminded me how important beef and lamb are to Australians. Then I remembered their well-known hearty appetites. Fair enough. But I wasn’t prepared for this stunning butcher shop.


Like many places, Australians are becoming more proud of their local and native ingredients. At Simon Johnson, they carry the best of the best, as well as a well-curated selection of cheeses from other countries.


And just when I thought I couldn’t eat any more, I pulled up to a sit-down meal at Becasse with chef Justin North, who was kind enough to make sure I not only left completely sated, but had several tastes of his spectacular cuisine. He did try to pull a fast one and sneak squid into each of my courses. I’ll forgive him because everything was great. And yes, I attempted to eat the squid. Because I’m a good sport, and an avid eater.


  • Claire
    September 30, 2011 10:13am

    Welcome to Sydney – you really picked the weather! Won’t give you recommendations except to say eat everything you can – even the mangoes have started early. Wish I could make it to Crave – good luck – sure it’ll be fabulous.

  • September 30, 2011 10:16am

    Sydney is such a great city, I love how Australia has such a thriving food scene. I can’t wait to go back!

  • September 30, 2011 10:19am

    Hope my beloved home city is treating you kindly. Try and make your way to a Sonoma at some point during your trip- their sandwiches on miche are pretty darn special (see

  • Nikla
    September 30, 2011 10:20am

    I see you did Surry Hills today, David. I love seeing my city through someone else’s eyes! Bourke St Bakery’s Rhubarb Brulee Tart is beyond amazing. And if you want to cross the bridge and get the best bread in Sydney, go to St Honore in North Sydney. And the best Laksa is at Deli Noodles in Crows Nest just up the hill. I imagine there is too much to see and just not enough time. Enjoy!

  • September 30, 2011 10:26am

    Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at Crave. I hope you fall in love with Sydney, I’m sure you will

  • Ben
    September 30, 2011 11:11am

    Glad to see your enjoying some of the best food Sydney has to offer, must agree with you on Victor Churchill but if you are looking for the best and freshest produce to table you need to head down south to Tasmania – check out the ‘Agrarian Kitchen’, ‘Sweet Envy’ and ‘Jackman and McRoss’. We might be at the bottom but when it comes to real food we are at the top.

  • Tess
    September 30, 2011 11:29am

    Can’t believe you’re in Sydney and I’m not! I’ve been reading your website for 3 years but currently living in Israel. Just wanted to say that deli noodles is good but the best laksa is at the Malay- Chinese takeaway/ eat-in on hunter st in the city – doesn’t have another name but skinless chicken with extra tofu is amazing and under 10 bucks! Enjoy Sydney.

  • September 30, 2011 11:36am

    Wow! Who knew Australia h

    Heaps good!

  • September 30, 2011 11:40am

    Wow! Who knew Australia had so much to offer in the kitchen? It’s not fair that they get great weather, the beach, AND good cooking. What’s left for us Parisians?

    Heaps good!

  • September 30, 2011 11:59am

    This made me laugh out loud because I thought What a delicious looking lunch!!!! And then you speak of breakfast; that REALLY killed my appetite (still shortly after my breakfast of freshly pressed orange juice, great bread, an organic yoghurt…)!
    Great post and lovely, lovely produce. Have a good time in Australia!

  • paula
    September 30, 2011 12:26pm

    coffee? gotta come to melbourne, we’re all about the coffee.

  • Rakster
    September 30, 2011 12:31pm

    Welcome to Australia!

    Crave sounds great – would love to come and see you there but having a small babe prevents easy travel/attending food festivals! Will just have to compensate by making a few new flavours of your ice-cream here in Brisbane.

    Have fun!

  • September 30, 2011 12:34pm

    You must stop off at Messina in Victoria st Darlinghurst for to die for ice-cream and Eveleigh markets early saturday morning for Kylie Kwong breakfast. Both not to be missed!
    Oh and lets not forget the best restaurant – hands down. Sean’s Panaroma in North Bondi. x

  • September 30, 2011 1:03pm

    Seems like you’re being treated to the best of my home country! Enjoy!

  • September 30, 2011 1:38pm

    Wow you have managed to pack it all in, in only 1 1/2 days!? Welcome to Australia, wish I was on the east coast!

  • September 30, 2011 1:44pm

    wow how did i miss that! you’re in sydney! have a great stay and I’ll probably learn about some new places from your blog eventhough I live here! Nothing beats a trip on the ferry to Manly and a glass of wine or a beer at Manly Wharf bar or hugo’s! Eventhough I’m sure you have a tight schedule and things planned.

    we definitely have great food and produce here so I hope you enjoy your stay even if the weather is a bit crap at the moment!


  • September 30, 2011 1:46pm

    I have very fond memories of Sydney; the friendly people, the buzzing city and the amazing food!
    Sounds like your trip has started off perfectly. Have fun!

  • September 30, 2011 2:06pm

    *wriggles around with delight* Oh David, I’m so happy that you’re enjoying your time here! I’ve yet to try the famous bills’ ricotto pancakes with honeycomb butter, but one day! And thankfully there’s the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook to swoon over :)

  • andrew
    September 30, 2011 2:41pm

    I think now that I am seeing my home town, and places I frequent in your photos, I’m loving your photography style even more. I particularly like the BSB window shot.

    Meat consumption is one big thing I noticed that’s different about UK/ Europe. We eat so much more of it.

    As Hannah mentioned, did you pick up your copy of the BSB cookbook to take back to Paris?

  • September 30, 2011 3:10pm

    I guess the trip would not be complete without eating kangaroo

  • September 30, 2011 4:13pm

    Ah, Surry Hills, my old ‘hood! If Dimitri’s pizza is still there on Crown Street at Campbell, that’s a great place to get a solid pie. I also had good meals at Bird Cow Fish a bit farther south on Crown.

    I do miss the meat pies. Can’t really get those here in the States.

  • Claudia
    September 30, 2011 4:45pm

    Finding great Thai food in Paris is difficult. Finding great thai food in Sydney is easy.
    You must try Martin Boetz restaurant, Longrain. Marty has just opened a smaller place next door called short grain. You must try it. Both are located in Surry Hills and you can easily walk there from the city.
    I have a list a mile long…..if you are interested…!

  • September 30, 2011 4:58pm

    I would LOVE to know more about the corn pancakes @ Bill’s. Those looked amazing. Hmm…. might have to do some experimenting.

  • September 30, 2011 5:04pm

    You have the best job in the world, hands down!!

  • H. C. Molloy
    September 30, 2011 5:14pm

    The dim sum in Sydney Chinatown is spectacular! A huge variety, including some new ones I’ve never eaten before. There are lots of places, but we liked Marigold on George Street

  • September 30, 2011 5:22pm

    You must eat at Longrain! Glad you’re having fun and a delicious time in one of my favorite cities. Breakfast at Bill’s is always on my list.

  • Charles
    September 30, 2011 5:30pm

    Glace has the best ice cream if it’s still around.
    Give Brian Revett a call at the Rhyde Tafe which is Australia’s equivalent of the CIA. He’s their head teacher I think.


  • Julia
    September 30, 2011 5:43pm

    Good Food Month is the best time of the year in Sydney. Well, January is also great… Glad you’re enjoying yourself! Bourke Street Bakery is the place I miss most since moving away from Sydney. The queues have been crazy since the day they opened, and the pistachio ginger creme brulee tarts are reason enough to go back there right now! Enjoy yourself, and eat yourself silly. Hope you’ll get to meet Sarah at Serendipity Ice Cream as well as Sal and Ciccio at Gelatomassi. I used to live equidistant between the two places and adored them both.

  • david m. k.
    September 30, 2011 6:22pm

    I was in Sydney (and Melbourne) for the first time early this year and I think you are in for some great treats. I won’t go into all the recommendations as I’m sure you have a busy and well-informed eating itinerary already. After years of missing great (and affordable?) food living in England I was dazzled by the great coffee and breakfasts – breakfasts without the ubiquitous tinned and sweetened beans drooling over everything – and the general integrity of it all. After Paris and San Francisco it’s where I’m missing most when I’m hungry. But, please, if you happened to have another breakfast at Bill’s would you mind terribly asking him why his London restaurant is so lame? I’ve been several times now, just to give them a chance to redeem themselves and each time it seems to get a bit worse. Pancakes are now off the menu entirely! Nothing at all like the great Bill’s breakfasts I had in Sydney.

  • September 30, 2011 7:09pm

    Good to hear to found great breakfast and equally good coffee! Australia sounds like my kind of place, you had me at Avocado & Pastries……

  • Charlie
    September 30, 2011 7:38pm

    David: Are you going to meet with Lorraine from the food blog “Not quite Nigella”?

    You really should make the effort.

    She is an awesome lady.

  • September 30, 2011 8:11pm

    Waiting to read more about Sydney´s culinary attractions soon. Great pictures too.

  • September 30, 2011 9:18pm

    well at least now I know what laksa is..
    I wonder if you can get in in New York where yr supposed to be able to get everything..?
    Have fun

  • Shandel
    September 30, 2011 10:10pm

    Are you coming to Melbourne also?
    Have a wonderful day
    See you at 4pm
    Can’t wait!

  • October 1, 2011 12:42am

    GORGEOUS! Those pictures have got my mouth watering. And I would love to try making an apple tart with uber-thin apple slices like the ones in the photo! Sydney sounds swank. :)

  • October 1, 2011 12:56am

    Oh how I wish I could make it down from the Sunshine Coast to Crave. Hopefully you’ll enjoy yourself enough to come back! I would love to hear you in person. As a yank in Oz I love seeing how others view Australia.

  • October 1, 2011 2:52am

    Wow…things have changed in the couple of years since I was there last. Can’t wail until I visit Sydney again!

  • October 1, 2011 3:20am

    Sydney is a Paradise for food lovers: the amazing pizzas of Napoli in Bocca, the steaks at Burlington Bar & Dining, etc. Amazing city! Glad you are having some great time there!

  • kim
    October 1, 2011 3:36am

    Welcome,its so exciting to know that you are getting to experience Australia! Enjoy!! Are you coming to Melbourne?I wish l was in Sydney. Love your work.

  • Yanie
    October 1, 2011 3:57am

    Welcome to Australia! Huge fan, first time commenting lol!

    Glad you’re enjoying Sydney, it is fabulous and the weather is much milder to Melbourne but I have to say, you should make your way down to our town. We are known as foodie heaven :)

    Mamasita for your favourite mexican food.
    La Movida for amazing tapas.
    Ladro for the best freaking pizzas as close to Italy as you can get.
    Cumulus Inc for a good lunch.
    Izakaya Den for high quality Japanese.
    Hardware Societe for breakfast.
    And Melbourne is pretty much a cafe culture and you can get amazing coffee at every corner! Penny Farthing in Northcote, St. Jude’s Cellar Brunswick St, St Edmond’s and Dukes in Prahran… etc etc!!

    And must I remind u to get fish and chips too? Hooked for fish and chips. Nothing short of Ah-may-zinnnnggg!

    Ok i’m drooling now. Off I go for brunch :)

  • October 1, 2011 4:30am

    You are such a lucky guy to be in Sydney!

    Maybe off the beaten track from where you’ll be (and probably not in your schedule) but I recommend trying to make it over to Balmain for Bertoni’s coffee and pastries from Adrian Zumbo. It’s a really quick and pleasant ferry ride from Circular Quay and a nice break from busy downtown Sydney. It’s also the home of Planet Cake and their awesome wedding cakes.

    Hope you enjoy your trip! It’s a far cry from Paris, for sure!

    PS — the Bills corn fritter recipe is in one of his cookbooks. The recipe cooks up amazingly close to the real deal from Bills. Pour on some sweet chili sauce and a spoonful of avocado and you’re good to go!

  • October 1, 2011 6:08am

    you lucky traveler! good job on the squid.

  • Loulou
    October 1, 2011 6:14am

    Nice story but wrong city. Melbourne is Australia’s foodie capital. Quick get outta there and get down here quick, I’ll save you a seat at dinner ( we’re having home made Peking duck) better bring another bottle of wine tho!

  • Oliver
    October 1, 2011 1:20pm

    Didn’t take long for the Melbourne promos to pop up did it? For what it’s worth… Sydney has better ramen. And a better Chinatown :)

  • Romany de Silva
    October 1, 2011 3:46pm

    Thank you for such an entertaining time this afternoon. Loved the peanuts. I hope you like the jellies my husband left with you. Thank you from both of us.
    Romany de Silva and Brent Templeton

  • Vidya
    October 1, 2011 4:16pm

    Melbourne promos have entered on cue :P Look, they’re both great cities, if a European feel is what you’re after, sure, go to Melbourne. Enjoy Sydney, if you truly feel like a macaron I second the Adriano Zumbo recommendation which I’m sure you’ve already got on your list. Please hit Chinatown for some Uyghur food before you leave! If you don’t get the time to, well then you’ll just need to come back.

  • October 1, 2011 4:27pm
    David Lebovitz

    I’m sure Melbourne is great and I’d love to visit. But since I was invited to the Crave festival in Sydney as a guest chef at their event, here I am, enjoying and exploring Sydney.

    There’s so much great food here and I really like the people I’m meeting as well. So exciting all that the chefs and food people are doing…and the energy!

  • October 1, 2011 5:34pm

    OMG Bill Granger is my all-time favourite chef/cook – did you go to Bill’s in Surry Hills? His ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter are fab!

  • October 1, 2011 10:15pm

    I am sooo jealous that you’re in Sydney – starting your days at Bills, no less! I was floored by Sydney’s food. For some reason, I wasn’t expecting it to be so fresh and vibrant. Every meal (and snack and sweet) was outstanding. If you don’t already have Danks Street Depot and The Book Kitchen (right near Bourke Street Bakery, if I remember correctly) on your list, add them & go! Longrain and Iceberg, too, of course…

  • Jim G
    October 1, 2011 11:47pm

    So glad you’re enjoying the terrific food in Australia. I went there in 1993 on a business trip and spent two weeks in Melbourne, which I loved. I was shocked to discover such a high level of cooking in the restaurants there….wonderful Italian and Asian foods, as well as the Greek restaurants. And then the Aussie wines and cheeses I had were great. I had expected English pub food circa 1975, all Cornish pasties and meat pies.

  • October 2, 2011 2:48am

    Enjoy your trip. Zip us a corn pancake recipe before Christmas, okay mate? ;)

    • October 2, 2011 10:23am
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Marge: One of the previous commenters mentioned where you can find the recipe and they said it was a pretty spot-on version of them. Enjoy!

  • October 2, 2011 3:45am

    You lead such an interesting life Mr. Lebovitz….Your travels and culinary adventures give me a cheap thrill! (and make me a tad jealous!)

  • October 2, 2011 9:13am

    Welcome to Sydney and glad you love Bourke Street as much as we do.

  • Kate
    October 2, 2011 10:43pm

    One look at those corn cakes and bacon and my stomach started to growl. Can’t wait to hear about the rest of the trip.

  • October 3, 2011 5:43am

    Great to meet. And drink. I was very jealous that Kerry got the photography tutorial over dinner.

    I’ve put some wheels in motion to see if we can get you and some more international bloggers to Melbourne for an event under the Fringe Food Festival umbrella perhaps.

    If you get a chance, see if they will take you to Single Origin in Surry Hills for coffee. Enjoy the rest of your stay.

    I’m on a strict broccoli diet for at least a month after all that food.

  • October 3, 2011 1:55pm

    Wow, looks like you are being taken to all the right places in Sydney! Btw, it looks like you had the famous “corn fritters” at Bills (not corn pancakes) ;-)

    Enjoy the rest of your stay in beautiful Sydney.

    You’re right! I so busy getting ready for my presentation at the festival, I kind of zoomed over everything. But now I want to go back and have them again! – dl

  • Jules
    October 4, 2011 12:19pm

    Welcome to OZ, hope the jetlag wasn’t too bad and looking forward to read what you think of the food :)

  • jean
    October 6, 2011 1:07am

    bill’s corn fritters have been published online in various versions. They can be found at Wednesday Chef (via LA Times) or at or

    The last is the one that seems most like the cafe version, but the avocado salsa in the lifestylefood version goes perfectly with the fritters too.

  • Jennifer
    October 7, 2011 10:21pm

    Bill’s hot chocolate is fabulous as well. Oh heck, even his scrambled eggs knocked me over!


Get David's newsletter sent right to your Inbox!


Sign up for my newsletter and get my FREE guidebook to the best bakeries and pastry shops in Paris...