Offering sun, sand and seriously good food, Sydney is a must-visit destination for any foodie
Sydney is a lot like Cape Town: hot and sunny over Christmas, with that stunning combination of urban chic and beach-bikini style. Only eleven-and-a-half hours by plane from Johannesburg, it’s a great overseas holiday spot. And with the many South Africans already living there, there’s nothing like “Howzit!” in a foreign place to make you feel just that much more at home. Sydney also happens to be one of the top culinary destinations in the world, featuring fabulous fusion food, much of which is made up of the refined simplicity of Asian cuisine and an outstanding selection of fresh fish. With that in mind, fast-forward to the last evening of our trip to the city.
Talk about ending our holiday with a bang! Dinner for two at the renowned Tetsuya’s Restaurant, rated one of the top 10 restaurants in the world, is a must-have experience for food lovers. Chef Tetsuya Wakuda’s 10-course degustation menu is a gourmet revelation. Expensive, yes, but worth it. Greeted by an immaculate hostess, we were escorted into the elegant private dining room area to a table overlooking a lit-up, tranquil Japanese-style garden.
The service at Tetsuya’s is impeccable, with knowledgeable waiters and a highly professional sommelier, who poured one delicious glass of wine after the other, all perfectly complementing the dishes we enjoyed. Combining Japanese-style cooking with classic French flavours, the set menu began with a shot of pea and mint soup, followed by a series of seafood entrées, including Tetsuya’s signature dish – lightly cooked Tasmanian ocean trout topped with a seaweed rub and a generous helping of caviar. Two other superb dishes included a small portion of twice-cooked, deboned spatchcock chicken and grilled, grain-fed beef fillet rolled and stuffed with sansho and shiitake mushrooms.
Dessert consisted of delicate mouthfuls of white peach sorbet and a sublime summer pudding. Although Tetsuya’s stole the show, Sydney gave us several other memorable experiences, including foodie delights such as sampling delicious produce at markets, buying from delis or trying out (slightly less extravagant) restaurants. Chef Bill Granger’s restaurant, aptly called Bill’s, was reasonably priced and really impressive. After climbing a series of hair-raising catwalks and ladders on Sydney Bridge early one morning, we couldn’t have asked for anything better to soothe our nerves than Bill’s decadently creamy scrambled eggs on sourdough.
Another highlight was catching the monorail to the Sydney Tower in the centre of town and taking the lift up 80 floors to watch the sunset at the chic revolving cocktail bar at the top. It was a little perturbing being at the top of what is essentially a very high, very narrow Johannesburg with her son some years ago and is making a name for herself in Sydney with delicious ready-made pasta salads and gourmet sandwiches. Julian is known around town for his superior coffee-making skills.
The great thing about Sydney is that, like Cape Town, it has a beach-holiday side to it. We stayed in Manly for a couple of days, which is an older, quieter part of Sydney currently experiencing a major regeneration (it’s also where the Springboks stay when they’re playing the Wallabies in Oz). We loved taking long walks on the beach every morning before enjoying breakfast at Manly’s Ocean Beach House, which serves deliciously healthy food and opens right out onto the sea.
A visit to Bondi Beach was also on the itinerary. From the Bondi Icebergs Swimming Club you have a panoramic view of the beach, which is packed with both locals and foreigners during the summer season. Sean’s Panaroma restaurant at Bondi is a beach bum’s paradise, with chef Sean Moran preparing simple, retro-style dishes ordered from a menu casually written out on big blackboards hanging above the kitchen. Nigella Lawson visited the restaurant every day while on holiday in Sydney. She said that she gained quite a few kilos in the three weeks she was there – this may well have had something to do with Sean’s signature nougat dessert, which is a seriously addictive indulgence. If you have friends or relatives living in Sydney, stay with them and skip on accommodation bills – you’ll want to spend the extra cash on food!
MUST-VISIT FOODIE SPOTS
• Tetsuya’s Restaurant, 529 Kent Street, city centre, +61 2 9267 2900 or www.tetsuyas.com. Booking is essential.
• Sydney Tower, 100 Market street, city centre, www.sydneytower.com.au
• Fish Face, 132 Darlinghurst Road, +61 2 9332 4803, www.fishfacepokebar.com
• Phamish, Shop 109, 50 Burton Street, Darlinghurst, +61 2 9357 2688.
• Café Sel et Poivre, 263 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, +61 2 9361 6530.
• Pelagio’s Deli, 235 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, +61 2 9360 1011.
• Bill’s, 433 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst, +61 2 9360 9631, www.bills.com.au.
• Waterfront, 27 Circular Quay West, The Rocks, +61 2 9247 3666.
• Pier, 594 New South Head Road, Rose Bay, +61 2 9327 6561, www.pieronesydneyharbour.com.au/restaurants-bars-sydney/
• The Sydney Fish Market, Bank Street, +61 2 9004 1100, www.sydneyfishmarket.com.au/home
• Michael’s Deli, Shop 17, Cosmopolitan Centre, Bay Street, Double Bay, +61 2 9327 4405.
• Simon Johnson, 55 Queen Street, Woollahra, +61 2 8244 8255.
• Ocean Beach House, Ocean Promenade, South Steyne Manly, +61 2 9977 0566.
• Sean’s Panaroma, 270 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach, +61 2 9365 4924, seanspanaroma.co