In Food + Drink

Sydney’s Most Anticipated Restaurant And Bar Openings Of 2019

A beer stadium at Darling Harbour, a new Bondi Italian that’s as good as they come and Sydney’s very own rum distillery – here’s where you should be eating and drinking right now.

With most of the nation back at work after the annual summer break, there could be good reason for some serious post-holiday blues. But fear not Sydneysiders, for a plethora of brand new eating and drinking options are gracing this fair city and lending themselves to our social catch-ups calendar.

From authentic Italian served in an olive tree-dotted courtyard to a bar best described as a “science lab” on the top floor of a Sydney pub classic, here are the hottest Sydney restaurants and bar openings to kick-start your 2019 in style:

Totti’s, Bondi

Italian wines and pasta, a courtyard dotted with olive trees and the sweet smell of fresh dough cooking on a woodfire. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were in a quaint osteria in the Tuscan hills. Far from it, you’re just up the road from Bondi’s pounding surf and hidden inside the revamped Royal Hotel at Totti’s.

Merivale’s latest venture sees Mike Eggert and Khan Danis producing scrumptious dishes that you’ll be reminiscing over for weeks. Sink into a director’s chair in the sunny open courtyard and soak in the smells, sights and sounds of this buzzing new eatery.

It’d be a sin to miss the delectable wood-fired bread, hot and crunchy and fresh from the oven. Dip it into some ‘nduja or burrata, lather it with zingy prosciutto and complement it with some prosecco for an authentic Italian experience. Oh, and don’t miss the lamb ragu with pappardelle – belissimo.

Maybe Sammy, The Rocks

Stepping into Maybe Sammy, a funky ’50s-styled bar, is like being transported back to an era when the Rat Pack was cool and listening to smooth jazz while sipping on a martini was de rigueur. The velvety pink and pea green hues hem an area of leather-clad stools to give off a charm that’s echoed by a very creative cocktail list.

Relax beneath a smiling simulacrum of Sammy Davis Junior with a Lady Luck in hand, replete with tropical mango and a passionfruit touch. Nibble on a Smoking Gun Bagel, spread with cauliflower, smoked cashew cheese and cacao. Feel naughty with the deliciously sumptuous Pari Pasticceria pear and ricotta cheesecake. And get overly indulgent with the New Frontier, a drink made with Calle 23 Blanco Tequila, Derrumbes mezcal, fino sherry and apple – all served alongside a clear, pillow-like bag that’s popped to release a whiff of coffee essence. Sammy would definitely approve.

Flying Fish at the Star, Pyrmont

Pyrmont’s beloved waterfront restaurant, Flying Fish, has moved. Not far, mind you, setting up shop just an angler’s cast from its old base at Jones Bay Wharf – moving inland and inside The Star. With Peter Robinson knocking about the pans (formerly The Fat Duck and Rockpool), diners can expect a reinvention of the seafood platter and a “jewellery box” of raw seafood.

Uninterrupted views over to the Harbour Bridge add to the new abode’s tranquility, as do a series of hand-blown caviar-inspired pendants dangling on ropes made of merino wool. It’s a fresh, modern facelift for one of the city’s favourite fish joints.

Scout, Surry Hills

sydney restaurants

Image: Scout / Facebook

Come February 20, there’s going to be a new player on the Sydney drinks-scene set to shake-up the city’s cocktail collection in a serious way. Award-winning London bar Scout is coming to town and will be taking up permanent residence on the top floor of The Dolphin Hotel. Matt Whiley, one of the world’s most celebrated mixologists, will be the man in charge and he’ll be bringing his unique approach to bars and drinks to Crown Street.

His London bar, a regular on the World’s 50 Best Bars list, has been described as “not a bar but a science lab”. So that can only mean great things for this Aussie offshoot. Whiley is keen to play with native ingredients in an inventive way, he’ll be shoehorning strawberry gum (or the flavour at least) into a very quirky drink and has told patrons to be ready for some banana “wine”. A mad drinks professor in a bar within a bar.

Brix Distillers, Surry Hills

sydney restaurants

Image: Brix Distillers / Facebook

Just around the corner from Scout is another Surry Hills secret that’s been turning heads and quenching thirst. Brix, a dedicated craft rum distillery, is hoping to bring the cane spirit very much back into fashion. The novelty of sitting at the spacious, open bar – complete with Brix rum barrels ageing above and glimpses of edgy street art outside – while the working distillery bubbles along beside you is a rare treat.

sydney restaurants

Image: Brix Distillers / Facebook

Back in the early days of old Sydney-town, rum was so revered it was once used as currency. Brix is now banking on that currency coming good once again. With over 150 rums from around the world at their disposal – and a killer list of cocktails – plus Colombian chef Ivan Sanchez’s tasty South American-style food on the menu, this is one inner-city distillery not to be missed.

Other noteworthy openings

Harajuku Gyoza Beer Stadium in Darling Harbour: The name is not an exaggeration; this is literally a tiered-seat, stadium-style brewery that serves all of the beer and all of the dumplings.

Sash and its sashimi pizzas of Surry Hills.

sydney restaurants

Image: Altum

The Mediterranean-inspired Altum at Milsons Point: chargrilled beef packed with sheep’s cheese and black garlic? Yes please.

Glebe’s The Charleston, with all the glitz and glamour of a South Carolina country club.

Canton! Canton!, a lively 68-seater restaurant specialising in traditional Cantonese, opening on George St in mid-February.

(Lead image: Totti’s / supplied)

Published 30 January, 2019