“The sauce is quite good,” I say, gesturing at the Burnt Cabbage ($18) with fish sauce butter. “It is. What do you think about Kiss,” my dining companion snarks, “it’s Chinese Ester, but at least Ester gives you the full half cauliflower.” The eclectic (and often inappropriate) music is not solely responsible for his mood.
Hayes Street Wharf Bistro
This gold patterned little French hideaway on the sleepy streets of Neutral Bay is a hidden gem. In an age of share plates, it was nice to settle in for a three-course-meal of continental cuisine. I started with the delightful Chicken Liver Parfait ($16) with cherries, while my dining companion opted for Scallop and Crab Boudin Blanc ($18) – a kind of seafood sausage, served swimming in crab bisque and caviar, basically the south of France on a plate.
Taste of Shanghai
The empire has landed in World Square, giving shoppers a step up from the usual food court fare. Here you can have a bottle of wine - the T'Gallant Juliet Pinot Grigio ($36/bottle, $7.50/glass) goes down swimmingly - and gorge on dumplings all day and night.
One Ford Street
Some restaurants manage to slide effortlessly into the fabric of the Sydney dining scene, simply by encapsulating the type of food we want to be eating right now. One Ford Street, tucked in behind the Cricketers Arms, is one such restaurant, serving up fresh and unfussy, modern Italian food.
Run by husband and wife team Luiza and Marcello, Justine Grill sits unexpectedly on a leafy corner of Hunters Hill. Exposed brick, white paint and dark wood fit out a cosy, modern interior that feels a bit like a rural gastropub. To start, Crispy Quail ($25) is too tempting to go past, and sufficiently moreish to result in unbecoming bone-gnawing.
Bar Fly – Vic on the Park
I'm kicked back on The Vic's back deck, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying a wine when I catch the moment they first notice each other. I watch their playful interactions heat up before animalistic lust takes over and the pair threaten to consummate in the corner...