Me and mine consider eating out at anything other than a fantastic restaurant, such a wasted opportunity and now, here we are eating out in style in Sydney.
It has little to do with money, some of the cheapest eateries can be incredible. I always do loads of research before we leave on any trip, seeking out the gems.
It’s just that if you are going to invest your hard earned money on a restaurant, the food had better make you swoon, the ambience must feel special. For it’s about making memories with your loved ones.
It doesn’t always work out, causing some quiet perturbation and frustration on my part.
So, to save you all that angst here are 3 tried and tested amazing restaurants in Sydney that will have you and yours eating out in style in Sydney.
The guys are lovers of a curry. Finding The Spice Room was a major hit.
Seriously, hubby’s pillow talk consisted of much kudos for finding the ultimate chicken tikka masala (I kid you not).
A few nights later when Charlotte and I felt overcome by jetlag, the boys clapped their hands together gleefully and head back there for a take-away they brought back to the hotel room.
The Spice Room is gorgeously decorated with antiques from a grand Haveli Mansion.
Exotic, faded grandeur is the style and the aroma of rich spices coming from the kitchen is a heady mix.
Signature cocktails are served here. Classics with an Indian twist.
You could try a Chaiputin – Chai White Russian with vanilla Vodka topped with chai tea & laced with cream (they suggest you sip it like the Tzar in wintery Moscow).
I’d read about the passionate team of chefs who believe in absolute perfection and are offering a true feast for all the five senses.
Well, this is my chaat starter – tick.
This Malai Chicken Tikka. Wow. Melt in your mouth variation of traditional chicken tikka spiced with cream, ginger and garlic.
Soft and succulent Lamb Chops Mustard Masala. Spicy lean lamb chops marinated in mustard, spices and aromatic herbs, coriander and cumin and roasted in the tandoor.
Crispy, charred, bubbly Naan bread that is impossible to leave.
The restaurant is sat behind the raised railway line that skirts the Circular Quay, so street entertainers catch the kids eye.
‘That man literally has his head on fire’.
Our mains included this fantastic Grand Emperor’s Chicken Biryani. Peshawari Style Slow cooked, aromatic, layered Indian style spiced chicken fried rice.
And this Railway Canteen Goat Curry. Goat meat curry slowly simmered in a rich sauce of Tomato, Ginger Garlic, yoghurt and coriander.
We would also recommend the Chicken Tikka Masala – which was one of the stand out dishes.
And when you go to reapply your lipstick, family photographs full of memories look back at you.
I wish I had tried their exciting sounding desserts, such as their Gulab Jamun. Warm Rose Syrup dumplings served with Vanilla Ice-cream.
But, I was full up on biriyani and that irresistible Naan bread.
Get yourself a table here if you get to visit Sydney (just expect pillow talk to be about curry).
The Spice Room,
The Quay Building
2 Phillip St. Circular Quay
We head back to our hotel for a refresh, doing a little sightseeing on route.
This is the view from one of the rooms. Never has it been easier to check the time.
If you are looking for posh nosh with stunning views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House take a look at Cafe Sydney, found on the 5th floor of the Customs House.
Inside is contemporary and sumptuously lit.
The eyes are drawn outside to the terrace and beyond. Dining on the terrace looks fantastic, but if you are lucky enough to get a table by the window, you are raised up to see over the folk outside.
We gazed out dreamily. There was no doubt what city we were in from this table.
The service was faultless and the menu Australian with European influences.
We soaked up the atmosphere as the tables filled up, it was very celebratory and buzzy, lots of laughter and clinking of glasses. Including our own!
‘Here’s to Sydney and a great trip!’
The lighting means some dishes were too in the dark to photograph well, but here is my starter and it was so pretty glowing in the soft table light.
Seared scallops, skara bacon, white sausage, apple, cider caramel
Mains included this chicken dish. The broth was A-MAZING.
Holmbrae corn fed chicken breast and leg, asparagus, radish, truffle, mushroom, cavolo nero, jamon broth
Tandoori roasted king salmon, saffron cucumber, coconut, onion bhaji, raita
Queensland prawns, diamond clams, sorrel, charred broccolini, corn, faro cous cous
We sat back feeling well fed, contemplating desserts, not ready to leave this wonderful space.
The boys opted for a post dinner cocktail.
Andy opted for the Salted Caramel Martini made with 42 Below, butterscotch schnapps, Kahlua, salted caramel, cream, Murray River pink salt.
James stuck to his staple. The CS Espresso has Cazadores Reposado tequila, chilled espresso, spiced fig syrup, Tuaca, Creme de Cacao.
Both tasted fab, even better due to the views. Cheers! (again)
Us girls fancied a dessert. I’m so glad we did!
Charlotte went for the Strawberry and rhubarb delice, meringue, white chocolate, strawberry sorbet, which she LOVED.
Mine was one of the best of our trip. The em>Coconut panna cotta, crumb, caramelised pineapple, sorbet. I was still talking about it for daaaays.
I think we’d overstayed on our table and was politely asked if we’d like our coffees in the cafe lounge.
With one more lingering glance at the views we move on for just one more cocktail.
The bar waiter was an absolute sweetie, he gave us enough coasters for a game of noughts and crosses. That’s a good bloke in my book.
James and I got competitive as Charlotte poured her calming peppermint tea.
Having been quite a winner in my day (ok the kids were at junior school back then) I win the first 2 games. Sadly James caught onto the winning moves and ruthlessly used them against me, causing a stale-mate.
Despite having lost my crown, this evening has been one to remember.
5th Floor, Customs House
31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay, NSW, 2000
+61 2 9251 8683
Downstairs in the Custom House there is a wonderful model of the city. Don’t miss it. Actually you can’t miss it, it’ll be beneath your feet!
Another hot day in Sydney and we are heading to a French restaurant after a fun packed morning, and we have built up an appetite.
Felix is an elegant Bistro that couldn’t be more French if it whacked you over the head with a baguette.
There were seating outside, but we want to avoid basking in the Aussie sun afraid we may actually melt and chose a table in the quintessentially brasserie style interior.
I was confident the guys would be impressed as there is an extensive wine list served at this beautiful pewter bar
A jolly waiter in a traditional long-apron (I love all that) saw to our every need and before you can say ‘Oh La La’ we were supping French wine, enjoying crunchy pain de campagne and soaking in the atmosphere (you really could be dining off a cobbled street in Paris!).
The meals are straight forward and honest. The flavours and quality of cooking is très très bon!
Rotisserie spatchcock, iceberg, carrot and rocket salad, lemon and buttermilk dressing Every mouthful was succulent and tasted incredibly well, chickeny!
Don’t get me started on these chips. Usually I offer my chips round the table. I still did, but in much more muted tones.
Andy ordered the pie and exclaimed his eternal love for it. I’ve never been jealous of a pastry dough casing before…
Simple, but extremely well executed Steak frites, grain fed sirloin 250gr with herb butter
When you’re in an exceptional French restaurant you have to order their classics. This Apple tarte tatin, with calvados crème fraîche and cinnamon ice cream is an absolute must.
Sharp, sweet, soft, crunchy…
Profiteroles, vanilla ice cream, salted caramel and hot chocolate sauce
First, understand that ice-cream in profiteroles is the way to go.
Second, these are so good it’s probably ruined all future profiteroles for me.
Sacré bleu! I need these in my life!
So, as we hit the Sydney streets, full of French cuisine in our bellies it took a moment to acclimatise.
But thats Sydney, there are restaurants from all corners here and they relish their heritage. And so do we. Burp.