Each year The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide releases a list of the 10 hottest new restaurants that have opened since the last guide was published. Here's this year's list.
Follow the #goodfoodguide hashtag or @goodfoodAU on Twitter on Monday night from 7pm for the live results from the Good Food Guide launch.
Every dish is a surprise at this pop-up in the old Cafe Pacifico site. It's set menus only, but the quantity and quality are well-matched to price. And get in quick, the lease expires in January.
Level 1, 95 Riley St, Darlinghurst, (02) 9368 7000
The Good Food Guide 2015 review said: "It's Pasi not Paci but then, this is a pop-up. Or is it? Pasi Petanen (long-time right-hand chef to Mark Best at Marque) has become a semi-temporary lodger in this former Mexican tequila party joint, barely refurbished in steely grey with sparse, neo-Nordic tables dotted across the wide open floor. From his curtained-off kitchen come quirky, inventive combinations – pretty as a picture, ripe with intriguing aromas, and often obtuse names. BLB? That’s a lush, wet, smoky, salty assembly of bacon, lettuce and bonito."
Cho Cho San
The Greek-Chinese-Australian answer to Japanese cooking? A fabulous ride all the way, from J-pop fried chicken to sashimi to spanner crab buns. All in a bright, white, light space-odyssey room.
73 Macleay Street, Potts Point, chochosan.com.au
The Good Food Guide 2015 review said: "The team behind Potts Point’s neo-Greco Apollo has ventured just a block down Macleay Street, but its second collaborative effort couldn’t be further removed. This new-day, modern Japanese izakaya serves up intelligent, easy, drinking food at a handsome, stool-lined concrete bar in a luminous, long, skinny space. A raw bar sends out a shimmering oceanic wave of ocean trout dressed with soy, mirin and wasabi, while meaty cubes of raw tuna team with avocado and pickled eggplant in a silky slippery-dip."
Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta
Beautiful people, beautiful beach, beautiful pizza from an impressive wood-fired oven. And the inimitable Terzini touch (Maurice, that is) across everything from cocktails to waiters' kit.
75–79 Hall Street, Bondi, daorazio.com
The Good Food Guide 2015 review said: ‘‘Iceberg’s Maurice Terzini has ventured a little further from the waves with his newest Bondi venture. Yet there’s still something very beachside about the sunny, white-washed space, with its drawstring blinds gliding over the windows like sleek sails, and staff decked out in all-white, fashion-forward T-shirts and sneakers. Chef Orazio D’Elia focuses on Roman porchetta (whole pigs, stuffed, rolled and roasted) and Neapolitan wood-fired pizza, with pizzaiolo Luca Di Napoli turning out a crowd-pleasing, puffy-crusted pizza diavoletto of fior di latte mozzarella, tomato and spicy salami. For the best of both worlds, try focaccia con porchetta – an awesome sandwich stuffed with the same rosemary-scented pork.’’
Seems so simple. Tastes so good. The wood-fired oven lends its breath to everything from cauliflower (roasted whole) to the ultimate roast chook and we keep coming back.
46–52 Meagher Street, Chippendale, ester-restaurant.com.au
The Good Food Guide 2015 review said: ‘‘With its pale stone-grey walls, archways and wood-fired oven, Ester could be described as Flintstones-hipster (Flintster?). The clean, pared-down design contrasts with the warmth and honesty of head chef Mat Lindsay’s menu. Start with small plates: a steamed white bun topped with a rich, earthy blood sausage (one won’t be enough) and roasted oysters with a horseradish vinaigrette kick.’’
Thai mightn't be the latest food fad but Sydney never gets Thai-tired. Especially when it’s as real a deal - chilli and all - as in this tiny eat-in or takeaway.
370 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood, khaopla.com.au
The Good Food Guide 2015 review said: ‘‘Just another Sydney Thai? Khao Pla is a street-side diner in pan-Asian Chatswood with a DIY waiting list, a stack of takeaway menus, a steam- and smoke-driven open kitchen and a speedy line in table-turning. But among the green and red curries, tom yum and chilli-basil stir-fries lie some interesting options – a Thai-dressed sashimi of scallops, for example, or a juicy sweet-salty salad of nashi pear and crisp-battered fish. The true test is in the tasting: each dish deftly hot, sour, salty and sweet; each sauce or dressing finetuned to the ingredients.’’
On a quiet corner in up-and-coming Eating Land, Moon Park puts Korean on the Sydney food map. Modern, delicate, textured, clever with seriously interesting wine.
34b Redfern Street, Redfern, moon-park.com.au
The Good Food Guide 2015 review said: ‘‘This isn't your regulation Korean restaurant, mainly because Ben Sears and Eun Hee An aren’t your regulation Korean chefs. The pair, who met while cooking at Claude’s, teamed up with wine man Ned Brooks to take over what was a hip Redfern drinking hole. While the decor of white walls and bare-bulb lighting is bleak-chic, the food is all colour and movement.’’
Ticks the trends boxes: wood fire, ageing room, on-site cellar door, house-cured cheeses, charcuterie, producer-focus, spectacular looks. And just a great place to be, and eat.
16 Foster Street, Surry Hills, restaurantnomad.com.au
The Good Food Guide 2015 review said: "You’d be forgiven for thinking that Rockpool-trained Nathan Sasi is a bit of a control freak. Not only does he dry corn for polenta, smoke peppers for paprika and bake his own bread, but he also makes all the charcuterie and cheeses on view in the handsome, temperature-controlled maturing cabinet. The supple, subtle mortadella is the real deal, as is his gamey wallaby salami; and warmed, crusty Jersey milk haloumi is a must-order."
No rules on what goes with what: tofu with bacon, blueberry with white pepper? It’s really just about having fun with food in an engagingly awkward upstairs-downstairs space.
3 Jersey Road, Woollahra, pinbone.com.au
The Good Food Guide 2015 review said: "Pinbone started life as a dynamic and underground illicit young guns co-op pop-up, comprising chefs Mike Eggert and Jemma Whiteman (Billy Kwong, Duke, Three Blue Ducks, etc) and, front of house, Berri Eggert. Now they’ve moved into the upstairs/downstairs former buzo site, the pop-up has become a permie. The menu is like a kids’ party, with one surprise after the other."
Seasoned service staff set the tone for an easy, bistro-esque lunch or evening – French-inflected food and yes, fine wines from the Wine Library team.
14 Queen Street, Woollahra, vincentfrench.com.au
The Good Food Guide 2015 review said: "Like a duck to cassoulet, Woollahra and Paddo habitues have taken to this new French-style bistro from the savvy Wine Library crew. Tucked inside the revamped boutique Hughenden Hotel, it’s relaxed enough for you to dine at the hotel bar (where they’ll lay down some serious wine knowledge if you’re interested) or in two other crowded rooms, one overlooking Queen Street’s leafy Paris end. The usual list of bistro suspects gets some cheffy tweaks to keep things lively."
A bistro for this decade. Nods to France but with Brent Savage’s own additions and Nick Hildebrandt’s expert wine hand.
57 Macleay Street, Potts Point, yellowsydney.com.au
The Good Food Guide 2015 review said: "It's the ultimate epicurean man cave, courtesy of Bentley boys Brent Savage and Nick Hildebrandt. Concrete surfaces, exposed bricks, wooden details, leather lounges and mirrors are stacked artfully beneath a black ceiling to create a sexy up-to-the-minute space, with a cocktail bar and enviable wine collection to match. What was the Yellow House of the ’70s – home to artist Martin Sharp and his collective – has been reimagined as a creative space of a culinary kind."
The Good Food Guide 2015 will be available for $10 with The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday, September 6 from participating newsagents. It can also be purchased in selected bookshops and online at smhshop.com.au for $24.99 from September 2.