- Full coverage: SMH Good Food Guide awards
- The award winners
- The hats
- Dishes of the year
- Eating and drinking highlights of the year
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.
These are the buzziest places in town right now, regardless of score.
Here's this year's list.
Follow the #goodfoodguide hashtag or @goodfoodAU on Twitter on Monday night (September 7) from 7pm for the live results from the Good Food Guide launch
The chef at this casual diner is Mitch Orr, who has cooked his way from Sepia to Duke Bistro, Buzo and 121BC. His thing is pasta but not as we know it.
The Good Food Guide 2016 review says: Orr questions tradition: why can't we cover the table with small bowls of pasta the way we would noodles in Chinatown? Take a dark, intensely flavoured linguine with confit black garlic and burnt chilli topped with toasted breadcrumbs. It tastes intriguingly Asian, like wok-toasty mee goreng. That pig's head over there? It's prepared Filipino-style, then tossed with macaroni.
60 Bayswater Road, Rushcutters bay, 02 8068 0932. weareacme.com.au
This is not your average curry den. It's fun, from the Man Eating Tiger cocktail to the sand-roasted peanuts served in cones of faux Bangladeshi newspaper.
The Good Food Guide 2016 review says: This is not your average curry den. The small upstairs dining room wraps itself around a bar just waiting for people to sit at it, and a buzzy kitchen. The "Bang" brand extends to bold plates bearing a graphic B, A, N or G.. Don't miss the dahl puri, cute little roti puffs filled with lentils. Wagyu beef tri-tip curry is justifiably the big order – balanced, with great depth and density of flavour – and creamy mango ice-cream popsicle with white chocolate and pistachio crumbs is very nearly heaven on a stick.
3/410 Crown Street, Surry Hills, 02 8354 1096. bangstreetfood.com.au
Methodical, light and gentle are the catch cries here at the newly redux Bennelong – a three-part dining odyssey that hits all the right notes, from the bar to the restaurant and the Cured and Cultured counter in the middle.
The Good Food Guide 2016 review says: Peter Gilmore's stunning $1.4 million dream kitchen is home to Australia's finest produce, presented as a three-course menu that rivals the cinematic harbour views for your attention. Earthy, housemade wheat noodles with sesame and peanuts are playfully teamed with "noodles" of line-caught squid and smoked pork jowl, and a picturesque rockpool of mussels, clams, pipis and tiny guanciale bacon crisps is lifted by a heady, pour-it-yourself umami broth. Fermented hispi cabbage adds a lactic tang to the mellow flavour notes of slow-roasted Holmbrae duck, black miso and freekeh. And just in case you forget where you are, a darling little pavlova of rhubarb, raspberry and Italian meringue is clad with achingly fine meringue Opera House "sails".
Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney, 02 9249 8000. bennelong.com.au
Owner/chef Eugenio Maiale and the A Tavola team have gone back to their Oz/Italian upbringing at their latest venture. See meatballs and "mum's sponge birthday cake".
The Good Food Guide 2016 review says: The inspiration comes from, of all things, Besser blocks – those concrete bricks that spread across Australian backyards in the '70s. They're everywhere here, along with colourful, mismatched polyprop chairs, and Laminex-inspired tabletops. The food is pretty much what the boys grew up with, from crumbed lamb fingers and meatballs to a generous ossobuco.
3/355 Crown Street, Surry Hills, 02 9331 1611. besseritalian.co.au
This is the most serious offering in Sydney when it comes to Japanese grills, and while it tends to be a fairly slow process (each stick is cooked a la minute), it's also worth the wait.
The Good Food Guide 2016 review says: Bonjiri translates as chicken tail, salty and yielding with a lick of smoke from the grill; juicy thigh (try sprinkling a little togarashi spice mix on yours) or spicy lamb shoulder are probably the safer orders. Elsewhere on the menu there are gizzards, lung and heart pipes. Everybody should go for the grilled giant asparagus smothered in anchovy butter and the grilled edamame, crusted in salt and BFFs with a can of Kirin.
238 Crown Street, Darlinghurst, 02 9007 8352
Chef Lennox Hastie treats wood more as an ingredient than a fuel. His menu changes daily, but hope the 150 day-old grass-fed rib-eye grilled over vine shoots is on.
The Good Food Guide 2016 review says: Is four years too long to wait for a restaurant to open? Not when it's the much-anticipated newie from the wood-whisperer, Lennox Hastie, who, for five years, stoked the fires at Spain's award-winning grill restaurant, Etxebarri. Wood reigns at Firedoor, from the big, rustic, sliding wooden door to the recycled wooden communal tables, to the massive concrete, wood-burning double oven that creates the charcoal for the adjustable grills.
23–33 Mary Street, Surry Hills, 02 8204 0800. firedoor.com.au
A neighbourhood bistro where a gentleman without a jacket may feel under-dressed. The spectacularly named "royale with peas" fixes everything.
The Good Food Guide 2016 review says: The next-level Frenchness of Les Champs-Elysees, the 1969 knee-slapper is the perfect suitor for Hermes wallpaper, strange love-heart spoon rests, and the gallons of butter present in so many dishes. Springy veal sweetbreads are smothered in a gingerbread sauce so thick and spice-heavy a leftover puddle demands Iggy's bread for mopping. A ring of finely sliced peach, raw scampi and a dollop of sterling caviar is as composed and delicate as squab with foie gras, onion rings and truffle is overblown and rich.
92 Hargreave Street, Paddington, 02 9302 5222. guillaumes.com.au.
There's something special going on by Pyrmont Bay. It has nothing to do with that view and everything to do with a young chef who goes by the name of Federico Zanellato.
The Good Food Guide 2016 review says: Elegance, grace, delicacy: all there. Polish, refinement, technique: all there. The eight-course degustation menu flows like a tidal wave of global flavour notes: smoke, vinegar, miso, pistachio, fennel pollen, puffed grains. And, oh, pasta. Small coins of spelt ravioli ooze pumpkin puree, their skins so fine they virtually melt on contact with the burnt butter, toasted pumpkin seeds and tongues of sea urchin.
56 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont, 02 9571 1999. lumidining.com
Mark Best has brought his Melbourne concept and head chef, Matt Germanchis, to Sydney. Luckily for us, Best has also installed the signature casarecce pasta with chicken dumplings.
The Good Food Guide 2016 review says: A beef tartare topped with fat tongues of sea urchin is intriguing, if a little strange. Wood-roasted salmon tail is richly rewarding, the smoked and roasted Holmbrae chicken has a gorgeous campfire smokiness, and miniature fennel-spiced doughnuts with blood orange curd are damn-near perfect. Working from a wood-fired theatrical stage (sorry, kitchen) overlooking the moodily lit dining rooms and lower-level casual bar, Best and his team go way past their hotel dining room brief with slightly off-to-the-left, clever, contrarian cooking.
199 George Street, Sydney, 02 9250 3160. peimodern.com.au
Tim Ho Wan
Sydney welcomes the world's most famous dumplings. Start with good, freshly steamed har gau and siu mai dumplings, then go on to tender pai gwat pork ribs.
The Good Food Guide 2016 review says: "The cheapest Michelin-star restaurant in the world" has rolled into town in the perfect storm of social media frenzy, orchestrated publicity and dumpling love. Cue long queues. Dumpling lovers from far and wide come for the now-famous sugar-dusted, crisply coated barbecue pork buns – the same buns that sent Hong Kong into a frenzy when chef Mak Kwai Pui opened the original 20-seater Tim Ho Wan in 2009.
Cnr Victoria Avenue & Railway Street, Chatswood, 02 9898 9888. timhowan.com.au
The Good Food Guide 2016 is available for $10 with newspaper on Saturday September 12 from participating newsagents and supermarkets while stocks last. It can also be purchased in selected bookshops and online at smhshop.com.au/smhgfg2016 for $24.99.