Good Food's Sydney dining and drinking hit list for 2018

A roasted 600-gram mud crab at Bert's.
A roasted 600-gram mud crab at Bert's. Photo: Brook Mitchell

It is right now we are frequently asked to forecast the highlights  of the eating and drinking year ahead. Since we spend most of our time immersed in these two activities, it's a question we're confident about answering. So, please enjoy our list of things we are most excited about in 2018.


When mates visit Sydney and ask where they should go for dinner, six times out of seven the answer in the Good Food office is Ester. (The Chippendale restaurant is only open for lunch on a Sunday.) Ester owner-chef Mat Lindsay opening a wine bar on the Surry Hills strip home to Chin Chin and Longrain is cause for considerable excitement, then. The venture is part of the slick new Paramount House Hotel set to cut ribbon in March. Expect low-intervention grape juice and lots of char-grilled snack-sized deliciousness.

80 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills

Veal tongue with whipped bonito and roasted cos at Ester.

Veal tongue with whipped bonito and roasted cos at Ester.

Bert's Bar & Brasserie

Dresses in pastels and marble and all things that glitter, Merivale's new fine-dining digs at The Newport digs might be the hospitality group's most stunning venue to date. Executive chef Jordan Toft has migrated north from Coogee Pavilion to deliver a seafood-focused menu that channels Mediterranean summers and champagne-fuelled excess. You're going to want to explore that 700-bottle cellar and we reckon anyone living south of the bridge should find an Airbnb in the area and settle in for the ride.

2 Kalinya Street Newport, 02 9114 7350,

Tagliolini with lobster at the Newport on 09 February, 2018. Photo: Brook Mitchell

Tagliolini with lobster at Bert's. Photo: Brook Mitchell


While Peter Gilmore's cooking keeps going from strength to beautifully textured strength, it has been no secret that Quay's dining room has needed a contemporary makeover for a some time. The restaurant will shut its doors for three months from April 1 to undergo a major renovation with TZG architects. Hooroo, Dairy Milk-purple carpet. Hello, new and improved views of the Harbour Bridge and more intimate dining pockets. There's a chance the new-look Quay will only offer a tasting menu that - get ready to clutch your sea pearls - may well be without the signature snow egg. "This is a time of change and I want to be looking forward," Gilmore says.


Overseas Passenger Terminal, Hickson Road, The Rocks, 02 9251 5600,

Lankan Filling Station

After spending a good part of last year feeding happy shoppers at Carriageworks Farmers' Market, O Tama Carey has found a permanent home for her much-loved Sri Lankan flavours at Riley Street, East Sydney. The ex-Berta chef will open Lankan Filling Station with her cousin, Odette Overlunde, in late April. The sustainability-striving eatery will focus on hoppers. That is, savoury, lattice-edged Sri Lankan pancakes made with a fermented batter of rice flour and coconut milk for a spongy, crumpet-like centre.

58 Riley Street, East Sydney,

O Tama Carey (right) and?Odette Overlunde of Lankan Filling Station, East Sydney.?

O Tama Carey (right) and Odette Overlunde. Photo: Benito Martin Photography

A1 Canteen

It's been a hell of a commute between gigs for Clayton Wells in the last few months with the Automata executive chef opening Singapore's Blackwattle restaurant in October. Wells's next project, A1 Canteen, is a bit closer to home base - only 20 metres from Automata actually - taking over the ground floor of The Old Rum Store on Kensington Street in Chippendale. The casual, all-day eatery will feature a la carte options such as roasted flounder with espelette pepper and takeaway sandwiches including a fried eggplant, provolone and romesco number. Currently on track to open in May.

2-10 Kensington Street, Chippendale

Clayton Wells' new venture A1 Canteen Photos from Shannon Blanchard at The Cru Media?

Takeaway sandwiches from the menu at A1 Canteen. Photo: Supplied

The Good Food Guide 2018, supported by Vittoria Coffee and Citi, is on sale in newsagencies, bookstores and via, RRP $29.99