Normally when I visit Sydney it’s a fleeting round robin road trip from one relatives house to another from every outer corner of the large metropolis, never going anywhere near the excitement of the heart of the city. So this time I declared just 24 little hours of ‘gourmet goddess time’ with my husband to really see, smell and taste Sydney in style.
After we dumped our luggage at our inner city hotel we immediately started our hunt for the best dumplings in town. On recommendation from a good foodie friend we ventured towards Din Tai Fung at World Square. http://www.dintaifung.com.au Even though we arrived just before the midday rush we still had to wait outside for a table. I was mesmerized by the busy chefs in white cloaks and masks behind the glass wall pumping out dozens of freshly made dumplings one steam basket after another. By the time we’d drooled over the menu the buzzer had sounded and our table was ready. Seated next to another hungry couple we awaited our largely anticipated dumpling delivery to our table. Within a few short moments the first steam basket arrived with the neatest dumplings I’d even seen which smelt divine. I popped the pork dumpling in my mouth and to my delight a shot of hot liquid broth burst into my mouth after the first bite. Needless to say we devoured the basket of 6 dumplings very quickly. We also enjoyed a gorgeous prawn and pork dumpling soup, pork and vegetable dumplings and a variety of steamed buns all nicely washed down with a cold Asahi beer. Bellies full, we strolled out of Din Tai Fung in a state of pure dumpling happiness ready to search for a good cup of joe.
On George Street with a little help from the BeanHunter App on our iPhones we stumbled across a hoard of people lining up for something, what else would it be at 2:30 in the afternoon than possibly the best coffee in town. A vibrant hole in the wall called ‘Workshop Espresso’ was exchanging cash with piccolos and lattés quicker than a bookie working on Melbourne Cup day. Lovely little Italian sweets like chocolate filled lobster tails and jam donuts were also on offer for the sweet tooth. The coffee did not disappoint and the friendly service with a smile brought us back the next day for our final afternoon coffee fix before we left the city.
After an afternoon of shopping including an imperative stop at the famous ‘Haigh’s Chocolates’, http://www.haighschocolates.com.au where I purchased some of their new peppermint truffle bar and some lovely lime jelly chocolates, it was time for a drink or two and one with a view was desired. So again on good advice, we climbed up the hill and stairs in the rocks district to the rooftop bar of the ‘The Glenmore’, and what a view at the top! 180-degree city views including the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour bridge. http://www.theglenmore.com.au Funky music tanned gorgeous male and female wait staff with the sun shining and a gentle breeze we decided a jug of the Rooftop Royale was in order. With Chambord, vodka, fresh summer fruits topped with pineapple juice and lemonade it was the perfect summer afternoon rooftop sipper. The meals coming out looked fabulous too, classic pub eats with some funky items like popcorn chicken and some pretty amazing looking tacos and hotdogs, this was definitely a happening place to be. Alas we had dinner reservations so we resisted the temptation of the popcorn chicken and savored our cocktails.
Asian flavours + Neil Perry = amazeballs food at his über cool restaurant ‘Spice Temple’. http://www.rockpool.com/sydney/spice-temple/drink/ It was here we were told we had to go for dinner for the hippest location with unbelievable food. Our Spice Temple experience began when we entered the mystical video screen door and a candle-lit stairway lead us down into the very dark and romantic restaurant setting. Designed to share, the Spice Temple menu boasts many delectable tasting plates and share plates of Asian cuisine. We started our Asian spice journey with Fried squid with whole five spice and dark chilli paste – heavenly paired with a lovely varietal of wine we hadn’t sampled before from Oliver’s Taranga, McLaren Vale called Fiano, the new Chardonnay for Australia I’m sure – you watch! Next a bowl of the most unbelievable pork spare ribs arrived bathed in a thick sticky caramelized sauce topped with sesame seeds and crispy wok fried shallots and garlic shoots. Finger licking good doesn’t even come close to describing how good these were, if I were at home I would have licked the bowl clean for sure! We were left speechless and smiling in a pork spare rib stupor after this dish. Just when thought nothing could possibly be as good as course no. 1 or 2 our Stir fried grass fed beef fillet with wok blistered peppers and black bean arrived with a side of king abalone mushrooms, garlic stems, chives and ginger. The mushrooms were as soft as silken tofu and the beef and black bean dish superb! Mr. Perry if you are reading this, I have not eaten to this standard of food since honeymooning on the very pricy, 5-Star Hayman island 7 years ago and food has never made me speechless in a pure state of bliss before, you really do serve food in a temple – I bow and worship thee food god!
Whilst nothing could beat such a sensational meal, on our way back to our hotel from spice heaven we stopped for one last night cap 48 stories up in the air at ‘O’ the revolving bar in Australia square tower-which is actually round, go figure?! We needed to wait a fair while for a revolving window seat table but the view was worth the wait. We sipped on some very potent cocktails for over an hour whilst enjoying our 360-degree birds eye view of the city. On reflection of our day, we couldn’t be happier with our gastronomical finds within this bustling and vibrant city. Each street corner and arcade representing a different cuisine catering to all taste buds from Italian to Chinese, from Indian to Aussie pub fair with bustling bars, groovy coffee shops and some of the most amazing sweet and cake shops displaying their delightful creations. Sydney I can’t wait to come back and see, smell and taste you again, till next time, Bon appetite!