In Food + Drink

New Year, New Eats: Five Waterside Sydney Restaurants To Try This Summer

Sydney's in for a scorcher when it comes to good eating.

Between Matt Moran’s three-in-one blockbuster Barangaroo House, Maurice Terzini’s Bondi Beach Public Bar and Lizzie Bay’s Culina et Vinum, there’s no shortage of new restaurants to add to your list. Best of all? They’re all right by the water.

Barangaroo House

Will Barangaroo House be the jewel in the crown of Sydney’s most ambitious restaurant precinct? The buzz surrounding Matt Moran’s long awaited three-storey waterfront venue would certainly suggest so. Pitching itself as a ‘something-for-everyone’ venue, each level has different appeal: a family-friendly pub, a fine dining restaurant and a ritzy rooftop bar with sophisticated snacks.

Lamb with salad chips from House Bar.

The full tour starts with House Bar on the ground floor. With mains and snacks priced under $30, here you can come for chicken wings and other fried bits, along with daily spit roasts, buckets of prawns and jugs of Aperol-charged spritz.

Smoked bone marrow with condiments at Bea.

Bea, the middle child, is where chef Cory Campbell gets to flex his muscles. Tyrant ants garnishing the asparagus entree could be a nod to his time at Noma or Vue de Monde, but the contemporary Australian menu is forward thinking and fresh. If you want proof that we’ve moved past native ingredients as a gimmick, look no further.

Sea urchin and orange jam toastie at Smoke.

For the best views – and cocktails – in the house, head up to Smoke. Billed as “one of the world’s most unique waterfront cocktail destinations” by Moran’s PR team, it’s going to make one hell of a date spot.

The smoke theme in evident in the 50-strong cocktail list; from the Chase Smoke vodka martini with whisky rinse, to a Espolon tequila number with smoked agave, cherry and rosemary.

Eats don’t escape the haze; smoked brisket doughnut and chicken skin skewers are the perfect one-martini-too-many foil. Kick things up a notch with Beluga caviar, sea urchin toasties and tinned white anchovies with a bottle of Champagne if you’re feeling luxe.

Culina et Vinum

Current darling of Sydney’s restaurant critics, Culina et Vinum is in Elizabeth Bay, just a street back from the park. Owner-chef Naomi Lowry’s Italo-Euro menu isn’t breaking new boundaries, but focus on executing classic comfort rather well.

Cacio e pepe tagliatelle, taleggio and radicchio croquettes, chicken liver parfait with toast and cuttlefish risotto all make the cut. Good bread, from Grain Bakery, is there too, along with chilli-marinated olives and caperberries, and a nostalgic ‘Grandma’s Scones’ for dessert, with berries and mascarpone.

For drinks, expect more of the Euro-classic tilt, with barrel-aged old fashioneds, peach bellinis, and Italy-France-Spain wine offering.


The sashimi and sushi plates. Photo: Brett Stevens

And we’re back to Barangaroo, but with good reason. Fujisaki is a Japanese hard hitter with an all-star including Chef Chui Lee Luk (ex-Claude’s restaurant), sushi chef Ryuichi Yoshii sommelier Annette Lacey and bar manager Charles Zhang, backed by the Lotus Group

Lee Luk gives the robata grill a workout, charging paperbark-wrapped flounder with sake kasu, octopus with guanciale and red chilli, and Moreton Bay bug with ginger and karkalla.  Want to dine omakase? Ryuichi Yoshii takes the reins, serving a maximum of five customers at a time, in between crafting beautiful sashimi and sushi plates for the a la carte.

Highballs are spiked with shochu lemonade and genmaicha, but . you’re going to want to move on the sake list fairly early on. The 21-options are available in three different sizes, so you can sample away until you find a new favourite

Bondi Beach Public Bar

Cast your mind back to Surry Hill’s pub The Dolphin, before Maurice Terzini turned it into a fun house of James Hird-picked natural wines, bottled negronis and Napoli-style pizzas, with a monochromatic George Livissianis design as backdrop.

Terzini – best known for his Iceberg’s fine diner – and his crack team have taken the same approach to Bondi Beach Public Bar, which opened in late December. Chef Monty Koludrovic’s menu plays with pub classics – polenta nuggets with sour cream, a crumbed fish finger sandwich with crisps, carbonara pizza, squish burgers and am ode to Belle’s Hot Chicken.


Originally slated to open in June, Barangaroo’s French bistro Été has been a long time coming. Chef Drew Bolton’s menu name-checks a number of local heroes – Mirrool Creek lamb, Willowbrae Chevre, Hampton State Forest mushrooms – along with house-made charcuterie and churned butter. Here, the potato puree comes truffled, the veal tartare richened with foie gras and the sauce game is textbook Escoffier.

Wine-friendly food is an understatement. Not only are four proper champagnes on pour by the glass, but most of the Jura and Burgandy-laden list will be available by the glass.

“The use of the Coravin means that every wine will be available by glass, making ultra-premium wines readily available; The Coravin allows for us to bring a whole new realm of wine to the average punter,” says Bolton.

Through in a healthy dose of jeroboams, magnums and half bottles, and you’ve got a very decent long lunch venue.

Published 20 December, 2017