Handsome bartenders spent a lot of time at my table, muddling, freezing and whirling smoke through a range of bespoke Japanese-inspired cocktails, when I imbibed, early in the piece, with three food media pals. Frozen using liquid nitrogen, into a pretty pink slushy, Kawaii Kisses ($19) with watermelon, T2 Just Rose tea, Belvedere vodka and sake, could well become the taste of Sydney summer.
LP’s Quality Meats
If there’s a better BBQ Beef Short Rib ($44) in Sydney, I don’t know where to find it. Luke Powell coats his fat, juicy ribs in little more than salt and pepper, and sticks 'em into the wood-fire smoker for nigh on sixteen hours. Yep, they go in at 11pm and come out just in time for dinner the next evening.
Bar Fly: White Rabbit
This upmarket CBD bar is not only a hotbed of silver foxes in suits; it's also a great place to just kick back with carafes of cocktails and watch the world hurry by. White Rabbit is the place to go if you need to trick someone into thinking you've got your shit together.
ONE Tea Lounge & Grill
David Yip’s enthusiasm for what could broadly be termed stunt food is palpable. An ideas man, David is constantly thinking up new ways to make his dishes and cocktails fun. This is basically how I ended up with a rotating, dry ice billowing, Matcha Wheel ONE Tea Experience ($50/8 people) dominating my table for two.
Bar Fly: Junk Lounge @ Cruise Bar
My date might have been fluttering her eyelashes at me from across the table, but it was Cruise Bar's gorgeous twilight views of Sydney Harbour that I found myself lusting over. Sprawling across three levels, my date and I spent our evening at the oriental-inspired (and appropriately named) Junk Lounge on Level Two.
Lotus @ The Galeries
From slickly modern private dining rooms, to texture-rich ceramics and stone, highlighted by natural light flooding into what must have been a difficult u-shaped space, DS17 have taken the lessons of Alpha and outdone themselves. Equally so, in Head Chef Chris Yan’s hands, the now-extensive menu builds upon the ideas germinated in Lotus’s initial Walsh Bay outlet, but far surpasses them.
Bright, sunshiny colours and a cosy, welcoming interior transform this difficult corner space into the type of spot you’ll probably enjoy spending time in. Throw in a waitress with a Caribbean grandmother, and you’ll soon have the toasted coconut topped Bowl of Corn ($8) and vibrant, soupy Callaloo Greens ($8) on your table, with some idea about how to eat them.
Bar Fly: Grain Bar
If you can't afford a room at the Four Seasons, spend the night at its swanky hotel bar that coolly juts off the side instead. While my date was no stranger to whisky, Grain Bar's comprehensive Scotch menu left me cross-eyed somewhere in between the Glenfarclas and the Glenfiddich.
With a convict-cum-chic menu, craft beers and views of the coat hanger, one of Sydney’s oldest pubs has reopened with a vengeance. Overlooking Barangaroo, it still has a certain quietness, with a whiff of potential; and with plans to open a penthouse bar upstairs, the owners are surely banking on this.