Food Safari in Sydney

Food Safari in Sydney

Steamed eel with black bean and soy sauce

“Good food, like good wine, should be shared among diners and the days of eating a whole main by yourself in a restaurant, may soon be over.”

~ Chopinand, co-author of ChopinandMysaucepan

Sydney restaurant closures – a sign of the times?

Sydney’s restaurant scene is going through a shake-up during these cold winter months.

We have already witness the high profile closures of Bilson’sBerowra Waters Inn, and both of Dietmar Sawyere’s Ad Lib restaurants in Double Bay and Pymble. More recently, Matthew Kemp’s Montpellier Public House in Randwick and Greg Doyle’s Pier in Rosebay, reputed to be one of Sydney’s finest seafood restaurants have shut their doors for the last time. Justin North’s Becasse in Westfield Sydney has been placed in voluntary administration while his city diner Etch has also been closed for business.

In view of this spate of closures, I believe restaurateurs are going back to the drawing board about on how to make diners return to their restaurants. The complex equation of good food, service, price and conviviality is further tested when my mother decides to leave Dad at home in Malaysia and travel with her three girlfriends, Janet, Margaret and May for a food safari in Sydney.

Pacific oysters at Sydney Fish Market $12/dozen

Pacific oysters at Sydney Fish Market $12/dozen

Our Food Safari in Sydney

“What’s new around town?” she enquires having been a regular Sydney visitor over the last 30 years.

I ponder about my choice of restaurant recommendations to Sydney visitors and in most instances, it’s almost always about what’s on the plate, followed by a complex and intuitive mix of ambience, service and price.

Instead of recommending a particular restaurant, I would invariably ask my friends what they feel like eating and recommend a particular dish that would satisfy their craving.

On hearing that mum will be in town, my sister Alice who lives in Perth, also gets excited and decides to join our Sydney food safari too.

Salmon sashimi at Sydney Fish Market $43/kg

Salmon sashimi at Sydney Fish Market $43/kg

What we ate over six days of feasting tells a fair bit about our tastes in food, how adventurous we are given time constraints and how to eat well without busting the bank account.

I believe Sydney has a lot to offer in terms of  good food but the choice of restaurants during our food safari might give some clues to restaurateurs on how to juggle that complex equation of offering customers good food, service and a memorable night out in town.

Cooked king prawns at Sydney Fish Market $18/kg

Cooked king prawns at Sydney Fish Market $18/kg

Sydney is a seafood mecca and there is no better way than to spend an afternoon at the Sydney Fish Market, tucking into fresh Pacific oysters, prawns, sashimi and a vast array of seafoods.

 

 

On the first day of our food safari, we feast on sashimi, cooked prawns and lobster as well as fresh oysters which would cost a lot more in a Japanese, Chinese or seafood restaurant, although granted it is essentially self-service at the Sydney Fish Markets.

Restaurant surcharges 

I understand the logic behind some restaurants imposing a group surcharge during festive seasons to cover the ever increasing penalty staff wages during public holidays. It is also well-known that many diners “over-indulge” at restaurants during the silly season as a result of alcohol consumption resulting in extended hours incurred by restaurant staff. Neither do I have an issue with a minimum spend for certain fine-dining restaurants to weed out “stayers” that sip on a glass of wine and nibble on an entree all evening just to enjoy the water views or a fabulous ambience.

However, I do have an issue with some leading restaurants in the city that impose a surcharge (regardless of time of day or week), sometimes up to $10/person for a party exceeding a certain number of diners, especially during these lean and cold winter months.

Being a relatively quiet Tuesday winter night as far as restaurants go, I am told by a leading Japanese restaurant in the heart of Sydney CBD that we have to pay a surcharge of $80 for our group of 10 diners tonight. Their restaurant policy is to impose a surcharge of $8/person for any groups of 8 or more diners. Get this – $80 just to sit our bums at this restaurant.

Restaurants in and around Sydney CBD would invariably pay a higher cost for rental of their premises in return for higher customer traffic over their neighbourhood counterparts. By imposing a surcharge on group bookings for higher customer traffic they have expected in the first place, these restaurants are indirectly telling their customers – “If you bring a large group of diners to the restaurant, you are creating more work for us, so we are going to charge you extra for creating this work for us”. It will be difficult for me to justify supporting these kind of restaurants especially during these lean economic times.

Chinese restaurants around Sydney CBD appear to be doing well and a fresh lobster stir fried with ginger and shallots would cost you upwards of $168/kg at most leading Chinese restaurant in Sydney’s Chinatown. However, you can get a very similar dish for around $80/kg at the Sydney Fish Market, complemented by a beautiful view of Blackwattle Bay albeit with self-service and pesky seagulls trying to pinch a bite. But to the enthusiastic tourist, this is all in the fun and enjoyment of al fresco dining around Sydney harbour on a beautiful sunny day.

Western Australian lobster with ginger and shallots $59.95/kg

3kg Western Australian lobster with ginger and shallots for $80/kg at Sydney Fish Markets

For restaurants looking to reclaim their glory of good food and a good dining experience, I believe they need to not only look at a local clientele but a address a formula that would attract tourists who are willing to spend good money on good food.

More than half of my restaurant recommendations to mum and her friends during this Sydney food safari were on neighbourhood eateries that dish out good, honest food coupled with attentive service at reasonable prices.

Oh, and they don’t slap you with a $8 surcharge for bringing more than 8 friends to their restaurants.

Mum's best food buddies: Aunty Janet and Aunty Margaret

Mum's best food buddies: Aunty Janet and Aunty Margaret

Here’s a sample of what we ate during a fun and absolutely mouth-watering 6 days of a Food Safari in Sydney.

Restaurant 16, Neutral Bay

Bruschetta $4.60

Bruschetta $4.60 each

Located in the heart of the restaurant strip along Military road in Neutral Bay, Restaurant 16 dishes up elegant Italian food with a twist.

Japanese head chef Toru Ryu used to be behind the kitchen burners at prominent Italian eatery Buon Ricardo with Armando Percuoco. We were impressed by some exciting flavours on our previous visit and decide to try a few new dishes tonight.

Bruschetta $4.60

Bruschetta with tomato, basil, olive oil

Chicken liver pate with crispy croutons

Chicken liver pate with crispy croutons $15

Special scallops with balsamic and pesto $36

Special scallops with balsamic and pesto $36

The scallops with balsamic and pesto looks like some eclectic art piece on a dinner platter with the jagged drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Scallop with balsamic and pesto

Scallop with balsamic and pesto

It is not easy to cook scallops to perfection – slightly charred on the outside and succulent inside. At $36, these scallops are the equivalent of a main course but the chef has obviously designed this dish to be shared among our party of 9 people.

Whilst tucking into these succulent scallops, we promptly request for more bread to mop up all that deliciousness on the plate.

Instead of having an entire steak as a main course on its own, I believe sharing these scallops among diners is such an enjoyable way of dining.  In our experience dining out, restaurants are becoming more aware and receptive to this new trend in dining and the more innovative restaurants are heeding towards sharing main courses practiced in many Asian cultures.

2011 Pierro Semillon Sauvignon Blanc from Margaret River, Western Australia

2011 Pierro Semillon Sauvignon Blanc from Margaret River, Western Australia

BYO wine is allowed at this restaurant at $8 corkage per bottle. I believe this is another reason that neighbourhood restaurants are holding their ground against their city counterparts many of which are fully licensed.

Food and wine is a big part of our dining culture. As the choice of restaurants become even more competitive in the future, I strongly believe fully licensed premises that disallow BYO wine would be fighting an uphill battle against those restaurants that allow flexibility for diners to drink their favourite wines at their premises.

2001 Leeuwin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Art Series from Margaret River, Western Australia

2001 Leeuwin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Art Series from Margaret River, Western Australia

We bring a 2011 Pierro Semillon Sauvignon Blanc and a 2001 Leeuwin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Art Series and these two Margaret River heavyweights do not disappoint.

The crisp and citrusy flavours of the SSB is refreshing with the cured trout with konbu seaweed, lemon, lime, orange zest & EVOO.

Cured trout with konbu seaweed, lemon, lime, orange zest & EVOO

Cured trout with konbu seaweed, lemon, lime, orange zest & EVOO (Standard $17 for 6 pieces)

Again, I commend restaurants that give flexibility to provide additional portions of a dish to cater for more diners. The cured trout comes in standard 6 pieces and our wait person promptly advises the dish can be modified to cater for the 9 of us tonight.

Beef tripe and parmesan $12

Beef tripe and parmesan $19

A beef tripe and parmesan is tender and subtle in flavour. Beef tripe do not have much flavour on its own and I eat it for its soft rubbery texture. Personally, I would prefer tripe in a hearty stew with more flavoursome ingredients.

Linguine with scallops and bottarga $29

Linguine with scallops and bottarga $29

Bottarga adds so much flavour to pasta and the linguine with scallops and bottarga is salty and gritty and the slightly pungent aromas of the fish roe bring this dish alive.

Special linguine pasta with sea urchin

Special linguine pasta with sea urchin ($35 entree main $41)

A special linguine pasta with sea urchin arrives with the unmistakable aromas of the sea. The sauce has the distinct flavours of sea urchin with a few fresh strips laid on top of the pasta for good measure.

Abalone risotto

Abalone risotto ($35 entree $41 main)

An abalone risotto comes with thin slices of abalone and sprinkled with chopped chives. It is sufficiently gooey which is how it should be whilst the rice is nicely al dente.

Papardelle with beef ragu, ricotta, tomato & parmesan $20

Papardelle with beef ragu, ricotta, tomato & parmesan $20

A papardelle with beef ragu, ricotta, tomato and parmesan comes with a heavier and flavoursome sauce. Thick al dente ribbons of pasta and a generous sprinkling of parmesan make this a hearty and wholesome winter dish.

Spatchcock stuffed with mixed mushroom risotto $30

Spatchcock stuffed with mixed mushroom risotto $30

A spatchcock is juicy and tender while the mixed mushroom risotto inside has soaked up all the flavours of this small bird.

Chocolate mousse $12

Chocolate mousse with berries sauce $12

We were impressed with a chocolate mousse with berries sauce on our previous visit and relive the soft and pillowy texture of this wonderful dessert again.

Tiramisu $12

Tiramisu $12

Restaurant 16 seems to be doing all the right things in creating food that is familiar but with an exciting twist.

I do not believe the signature scallops with balsamic and pesto and the cured trout are dishes that may be too complex to replicate at home. What makes this restaurant special is food that is well executed and pleasant service each time we are here.

We shall be back again, Toru.

Eastwood Garden Peking, Eastwood

Peking Duck $42.80 for 2 courses

Peking Duck $42.80 for 2 courses

We have been coming to this neighbourhood restaurant in Eastwood mainly for its xiao long bao, aromatic duck and northern Chinese style noodles.

Carving up the crispy Peking duck skin

Carving up the crispy Peking duck skin

The Peking duck today is good but not great because the skin can be a lot more crispier than it is.

Peking duck accompaniment: Hoisin sauce, cucumber and shallot batons

Peking duck accompaniment: Hoisin sauce, cucumber and shallot batons

Crispy and succulent: Peking duck

Crispy and succulent: Peking duck

One of the reasons we are here is because Alice and I are big fans of the aromatic duck.

Deep fried aromatic duck $18.80 (half duck)

Deep fried aromatic duck $18.80 (half duck)

Given a choice, I think I prefer this aromatic deep-fried duck style to Peking duck because of its crispy skin and tender strips of duck meat which is shredded with a fork and spoon by the wait person at our table.

Crispy and crunchy aromatic duck

Crispy and crunchy aromatic duck

Deep-fried to a golden brown, the small bones are also crispy and edible.

Shredded beef Peking style $17.80

Shredded beef Peking style $17.80

Alice is also a big fan of the shredded beef Peking style. However, the strips of beef here can be a lot crispier with more carrot strips too.

Second course Peking Duck Sang Choy Bao

Second course Peking Duck Sang Choy Bao ($42.80 for 2 courses)

The service today is average at best when we are among the first diners to arrive at 11 am and the food standard seems to be slipping from our previous visits.

This restaurant also needs to clean up its act because the toilets are filthy and this alone is putting me off from returning again.

Ginger & Shallots Chinese Cuisine, Eastwood

Deep fried whole flounder with salt and pepper $17.80

Deep fried whole flounder with salt and pepper $17.80

In keeping with the spirit of a food safari, we immediately wander across the road to Ginger & Shallots Chinese Cuisine for its congee and deep fried whole flounder after our “entree” at Eastwood Garden Peking.

Crispy with its salt and pepper flavours, this deep fried fish is good with a steaming bowl of hot congee on a cold winter day. However, I felt the deep fried flounder was a lot more aromatic and crispy during our previous visit to this restaurant.

Preserved fish and peanut congee $10.80

Preserved fish and peanut congee $10.80

Congee lovers will find at least half a dozen variety of congee at this restaurant that can be paired with many dishes.

Stir fried beef with ginger and shallots $13.80

Stir fried beef with ginger and shallots $13.80

One of my favourites is a stir fried beef with ginger and shallots and this place does a good interpretation.

Golden Century Seafood Restaurant, Sydney

Giant snow crab in Golden Century Seafood Restaurant, Sydney

Giant snow crab in Golden Century Seafood Restaurant, Sydney

Located in the heart of Chinatown, Golden Century Seafood Restaurant is one of the stalwarts of Sydney’s Chinese restaurants.

For many years, it is one of the most consistent for classic Cantonese style and live seafood dishes such as lobster, mud crabs, oysters and a variety of fish, prawns and other shellfish.

Fresh mud crab

Fresh mud crab $59.90/kg

Any live seafood that you order will be presented to customers prior to cooking to ensure customers are happy with the weight, specifications and freshness.

Fresh pippis

Fresh pippis $48/kg

Chinese roast pork belly

Chinese roast pork belly$13.80

A serve of Chinese roast pork belly for entree is crispy and succulent.

Stir-fried pippis in XO sauce

Stir-fried pippis in XO sauce

A stir-fried pippis arrives with generous amounts of the flavoursome XO sauce.

Stir-fried pippis in XO sauce

Stir-fried pippis in XO sauce

The pippis are unmistakably fresh from its succulent texture and sweet taste. The XO sauce is extremely tasty and goes wonderfully well with a bowl of hot steamed rice.

Mud crab with ginger, shallots & noodles

Mud crab with ginger, shallots & noodles

The mud crab with ginger, shallots and noodles is delicious and I believe this restaurant does this dish as well as any Chinese restaurant in Sydney.

Steamed oysters with ginger, shallots and special soy sauce

Steamed oysters with ginger, shallots and special soy sauce $5 each

Steamed oysters with ginger, shallots and special soy sauce at Chinese restaurants are usually relatively large compared to the oysters eaten fresh.

Steamed oyster with ginger, shallots and special soy sauce

Steamed oyster with ginger, shallots and special soy sauce

Tonight, these oysters are quite huge. Its creamy texture delicious with thin slivers of ginger and shallots in a savoury soy sauce.

Shredded beef Peking style

Shredded beef Peking style $18

The shredded beef Peking style is a little disappointing because the beef strips are bordering on soggy. Then again, this is probably not the best dish to order in a Cantonese restaurant.

Stir-fried Asian greens

Stir-fried Asian greens $13.80

Chinese dessert Sesame balls and Chinese cookies

Chinese dessert Sesame balls and Chinese cookies

Chinese restaurants do not have a good variety of desserts which are usually given complimentary with the meal.

Egg drop and chestnut dessert soup

Egg drop and chestnut dessert soup

Chinese Jasmin tea and disposable hand towel

Chinese Jasmin tea and disposable hand towel

A disposable towel is always handy after tucking into seafood with your hands and fingers.

Golden Century Seafood Restaurant, Sydney

Golden Century Seafood Restaurant, Sydney

Jurin, Crows Nest

Update 21 December 2013: This restaurant is now permanently closed 

Caesar salad with wasabi mayonnaise

Caesar salad with wasabi mayonnaise $12.50

The sister restaurant of HaNa-JuRin, Jurin is one of many Japanese restaurants that have sprung up in the lower north shore suburb of Crows Nest.

Tempura Zucchini flowers $9.50

Tempura Zucchini flowers $9.50

An entree of Caesar salad with wasabi mayonnaise is fresh with the zingy flavours of the wasabi and the crunch of corn flakes while tempura zucchini flowers are crispy and light.

Kakuni: Cooked Pork Belly Okinawa style

Kakuni: Cooked Pork Belly Okinawa style $15.50

2011 Teusner Rose

2011 Teusner Rose

We enjoy a light 2011 Teusner Rose and a 2006 Watervale Rieseling that go so well with sushi and Japanese food.

2006 Watervale Riesling

2006 Watervale Riesling

John Vickery’s art of making good riesling is clearly evident and this bottle will benefit from further cellaring.

Saikyo Yaki: Grilled marinated cod $27.50

Saikyo Yaki: Grilled marinated cod $27.50

A grilled marinated cod is delightful with the taste of sweet miso. The pairing of the soft white flaky fish with the gently sweet miso works so well and it’s no wonder this dish is on the menu of so many Japanese restaurants now.

Cold roast duck

Cold roast duck $15.50

A cold roast duck is a little chewy and tough though the flavours are appetizing.

Soft shell crab roll $9

Soft shell crab roll $9

Wagyu steak $27.50

Wagyu steak $27.50

A wagyu steak arrives boldly medium rare and each piece is succulent and juicy. I find eating steak this style with a twist of lemon juice and tangy ponzu sauce to be extremely tasty.

Chirashi sushi for 2 people $27.50

Chirashi sushi for 2 people $27.50

Two bowls of chirashi sushi with a mix of the chef’s choice of salmon and tuna sashimi, small cubes of egg omelette, tobiko, crispy strips of nori and rice is wonderfully filling and we have hardly anymore room for dessert.

The abundance and variety of seafood in Sydney means the freshest sushi and sashimi at Japanese restaurants are almost taken for granted these days.

With the hordes of ex-pat sushi chefs in Sydney, I enjoy coming to these friendly neighbourhood Japanese restaurants mainly because the food is honest and good. Secondly, your local Japanese joint always have a homely feel and prices are competitive.

Marigold Restaurant, Haymarket

Marigold's 30th Anniversary Menu

Marigold's 30th Anniversary Special Menu

This food safari is not the first time that mum and her friends have come to Sydney to sample its variety of good, hearty food. I was not as much a food blogger a year ago than my mum and her friends are lovers of good Chinese seafood.

So we find ourselves at Marigold Restaurant to sample a different array of seafood from our dinner at Golden Century a few nights ago.

2004 Penfolds BIN 389 Cabernet Shiraz

2004 Penfolds BIN 389 Cabernet Shiraz

Tonight, we are drinking a 2004 Penfolds Cabernet Shiraz that is bold with aromas of ripe berries and oaky with soft tannins.

It is the “poor man’s Grange” as it is affectionately called because the American oak barrels from the flagship Penfolds Grange are re-used for the BIN 389, this wine can obviously be even better with a few more years of careful cellaring.

Live baby abalone

Live baby abalone $118/kg

Just like in Golden Century, we are shown the live baby abalone, live eel and live pippis that we ordered for dinner tonight.

Live pippis

Live pippis $48/kg

Live eel

Live eel $48/kg

The abalone and pippies are obviously more sedate than the eel that is wriggling away in the plastic bag in front of us.

Waiter serving steamed abalone with ginger and shallots

Waiter serving steamed abalone with ginger and shallots

Steamed baby abalone with ginger and shallots

Steamed baby abalone with ginger, shallots and soy sauce

The steamed baby abalone with ginger, shallots and soy sauce is a classic Cantonese sauce for steaming seafood to bring out its fresh taste and flavours.

Steamed baby abalone with ginger and shallots

Steamed baby abalone with ginger and shallots

The abalone is firm and has a soft rubbery texture and is delicious with the subtle sweet savoury soy sauce with ginger and shallots.

Steamed eel with black bean and soy sauce

Steamed eel with black bean and soy sauce

One of the standout dishes for me at this restaurant tonight is the steamed eel with black bean and soy sauce.

Steamed eel with black bean and soy sauce

Steamed eel with black bean and soy sauce

The eel is neatly sliced into bite sizes and arranged in a round bowl. Each piece of eel is firm and the skin is slightly rubbery with very tiny bones that are edible. The meat itself tastes a lot like a regular white flesh fish but what brings out the flavour in the eel is the tasty black bean and soy sauce.

Stir-fried pippis in XO sauce

Stir-fried pippis in XO sauce

Another platter of stir-fried pippis in XO sauce is just as good as the one we had at Golden Century. This time we have crispy seared vermicelli at the bottom to soak up all the flavoursome sauce.

Silken tofu hot pot

Silken tofu hot pot $18.80

A silken tofu hot pot with soft pillowy tofu and a delectable sauce is great for winter.

Special soy sauce spatchcock

Special soy sauce spatchcock $28

A special soy sauce spatchcock is a lot tastier than the usual soy sauce chicken because the meat is more tender and flavoursome. I especially enjoy the sauce from this spatchcock for its hearty chicken and soy flavour.

Braised Asian greens with Chinese bacon

Braised Asian greens with Chinese bacon $18.80

Braised Asian greens with Chinese bacon is another good dish for winter because of the warm stock that comes with it. The strips of Chinese bacon adds more flavour to the crunchy vegetables.

Lamb hotpot

Lamb hotpot $43.80

The dish that my mum and her friends have been looking forward to is a lamb hotpot, another good winter dish because of the steaming hot soup. A large claypot is left simmering beside our table.

Lamb hotpot

Lamb hotpot $43.80

This hotpot comes with bite size chunks of lamb, tong ho vegetables, tofu skin and the hearty soup that has fermented bean curd as a dominate flavour.

Chinese cookies and fresh fruits

Chinese cookies and fresh fruits

Our meal at Marigold is comparable to any leading Chinese restaurant in Sydney. The food is good, hearty and service prompt and efficient.

Chat Thai, Westfield Sydney

Green papaya salad

Green papaya salad $12

On the penultimate evening of our food safari, mum and her friends are craving for something different and we decide on Thai food for a little change in tastes and flavours from the Chinese and western food that we have been having over the past few days.

Chat Thai has taken Sydney Thai food to another level with a dizzy array of sweet, tangy, sour and spicy flavours on its menu.

A green papaya salad comes with thinly julienne green papaya that is mixed with palm sugar, fish sauce, lemon juice and crunchy peanuts for texture. This is such a classic and appetizing Thai entree with its zesty and zingy taste and flavours.

Mhu Bhing: Grilled pork skewers $2.50 each

Mhu Bhing: Grilled pork skewers $2.50 each

A serve of Mhu Bhing comes with skewers of nicely charred pork that is sweet and savoury. A sour lemony dipping sauce makes you more hungry with each mouthful.

Gaeng Keaw Gai: green curry of chicken with apple eggplant, kaffir leaves and basil $16

Gaeng Keaw Gai: green curry of chicken with apple eggplant, kaffir leaves and basil $16

I have always liked the green chicken curry at Chat Thai. The curry sauce is thick and creamy with mouth popping bits of eggplant the size of little peas and strips of kaffir lime leaves and chilli complement the tender pieces of chicken beautifully.

Bpla Raadt Prik: Crisp whole snapper in roasted chilli and garlic sauce $35

Bpla Raadt Prik: Crisp whole snapper in roasted chilli and garlic sauce $35

A crispy whole snapper in roasted chilli and garlic sauce is another classic Thai dish. The fish is deep-fried to a golden brown and crispy while the curry sauce is thick, tasty and and aromatic.

Khanom Buaing: sweet thin wafers with candied herbs and dried shrimps $2.50 each

Khanom Buaing: sweet thin wafers with candied herbs and dried shrimps $2.50 each

Chat Thai is well known for some delectable Asian desserts and the crispy thin wafers of a Khanom Buaing complements the coconut cream and candied herbs beautifully.

Khao Nieaw Sangkaya: sweet coconut milk infused with sticky rice and coconut custard $4.50

Khao Nieaw Sangkaya: sweet coconut milk infused with sticky rice and coconut custard $4.50

A sticky rice and coconut custard is a sweet and delightful end to the meal and our food safari.

An empty plate and the end of a wonderful food safari

An empty plate and the end of a wonderful food safari

So dear readers, have you been on a food safari and if so, where did you go and what was your favourite dish?

Sydney Fish Market
Bank street, Pyrmont, Sydney
Tel: +61 9004 1100
Trading hours:
7am – 4pm everyday except Christmas Day

Restaurant 16
236 Military road, Neutral Bay
Sydney  2089
Tel: + 61 2 9909 0160
Business hours:
Monday – Saturday 6pm – 10.30pm (last order 9.30pm)
Sundays & Public Holidays closed

Restaurant 16 on Urbanspoon

Eastwood Garden Peking
167 Rowe street
Eastwood, Sydney
New South Wales 2122
Tel: +61 2 9804 1289
Business hours:
Everyday: 11am – 10.30pm

Eastwood Garden Peking on Urbanspoon

Ginger & Shallots Chinese Cuisine
Shop 25/1 Lakeside road
Eastwood, Sydney
New South Wales 2122
Tel: +61 2 9874 8066

Ginger&Shallots Chinese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Golden Century Seafood Restaurant
393-399 Sussex street, Sydney
Tel: +61 2 9212 3901
Business hours: 12 noon – 4am
Minimum charge: $9 per head
Private room minimum charge:
10 people or less: $800 (On food)
10 people or more: $80/head (On food)

Golden Century Seafood on Urbanspoon

Jurin
316 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest
Sydney
Tel: + 61 2 9966 5811
Business hours: 7 days a week
Lunch 12 noon – 2.30pm
Dinner 6pm – 11.20pm

Ju-Rin on Urbanspoon

Marigold Restaurant
Levels 4 & 5,
683-689 George Street, Haymarket
Tel: + 61 2 9217 6090
Business hours:  7 days a week
Lunch 10 am – 3 pm
Dinner 5.30 pm – late

Marigold Citymark on Urbanspoon

Chat Thai, Westfield Sydney 
Shop 6002, Level 6
100 Market street, Sydney
Tel: +61 2 9221 0600
Business hours: Open everyday
Lunch 10am – 5pm
Dinner 5pm – 10.30pm

Chat Thai Westfield Sydney on Urbanspoon

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43 Responses to Food Safari in Sydney

  1. I did a sweets tour for my hens and its such a great way of going to places you wouldnt normally. What a greta plethora of food :)

  2. Wow that was an epic post! :o Looks like there was a lot of good food eaten. I thought that restaurants weren’t allowed to have surcharges? :(

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Lorraine,

      I’m not sure but I think the surcharge that is disallowed is on food prices, there was no mention about other types of surcharges.

  3. Charles says:

    Wow Chopinand, you always managed to make me hungry – Some of that food… yummy! I’m a big fan of shredded beef… they don’t seem to serve that in France :(

    “I am told by a leading Japanese restaurant in the heart of Sydney CBD that we have to pay a surcharge of $80 for our group of 10 diners tonight.”

    What a cheek – I’d have just told them to forget it and found another place. There are plenty of restaurants who are happy for the business, even if it is a party of 8, 10, 12 etc.

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Charles,

      Exactly my sentiments with the surcharge because that is actually another meal or two depending on where we choose to eat and there are so many restaurants to choose from too.

  4. I just gained 10 lbs by looking at all these AMAZING dishes! Which I don’t mind of course if I can eat all of them! Totally worth it! Whenever I see Australian bloggers’ posts on restaurants, I am ready to move there… Or at least travel first! Thank you for sharing! I bet your mom and aunties were very happy!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Nami,

      Yes, you should make a trip to Sydney although I know it’s out of the way for you if you have to visit Japan or Taiwan but for a food lover and Japanese food, I think you will definitely enjoy the variety that Sydney has to offer.

  5. Hannah says:

    This post has literally broken my work internet with all the deliciousness; it’s given up on loading half the photos! I could maybe be convinced to try tripe again, if it came like that…

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Hannah,

      I think you need to get over the rubbery texture and psychological thought of a cow’s stomach :) One you cross that, it can be quite tasty!

  6. Hotly Spiced says:

    There is so much in this post I just don’t know where to start. I read the article about the restaurant closures. It’s very sad and yes, restaurants need to work out how to keep their restaurants full by probably doing a few things differently – charging a surcharge for groups is not going to win anyone over. I like the look of the restaurant in Neutral Bay. All the food looked incredible.

    I’ll give the restaurant in Eastwood a miss because dirty bathrooms make me think hygiene standards elsewhere must be amiss like the kitchen! I don’t think I would like a live eel presented to me for inspection and I wouldn’t want to be the person in the kitchen responsible for bringing that wriggling to an end.

    What a wonderful week you must have had and congrats on putting this post together – I think I would have been horribly confused! xx

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Charlie,

      We have decided not to go to the Eastwood restaurant also because a few other restaurants around town can do the Peking duck and other northern dishes pretty well too, minus the dirty toilets.

  7. That be one serious food safari… I’d want to take out travel insurance before embarking for fear of bursting but what a way to go :D
    Interesting to read the downside of Sydney dining and the closing of some big names :|

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Monica,

      Yes, a food safari can be really fun and exciting but we also tried to pace ourselves from over-eating.

  8. Juliana says:

    You guys sure know how to enjoy life!!! and how to torture me :)
    The pictures of the dishes are just insane…are sure filled my eyes with lots of desires…
    Well, I am glad at at least someone got to enjoy right?
    Have a wonderful weekend :)

  9. Winston says:

    My goodness this is one of the most EPIC blog posts ever!!! There really is SO much great food here and you really are the best person to ask to be a foodie tour guide. I am so tempted to make another trip to Sydney just to eat through this list. Good mix between Western and Asian food too. SO good. Must’ve been a memorable one with your family around!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Winston,

      It was great food but during my trip to Melbourne recently, I know you guys are not short of good, honest restaurants that dish out some fabulous food too!

  10. Raymund says:

    Wow! A lot of nice food in a post, love seafood and look at the presentation of that eel dish looks so good.

  11. Carolyn Jung says:

    I need to go on a safari like THAT! Are you giving more tours? LOL

  12. I am in Sydney at the moment so this is very handy. I agree with you about the surcharge – ridiculous!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Cara,

      I am not paying any surcharges, that’s for sure, especially during these lean restaurant times.

  13. sophia says:

    Holy…cow….SO much food!!!! My eyes can barely take it all in, much less my stomach. I just had three helpings of chicken alfredo spaghetti and three slices of peach tart and my expanded stomach is still pissed that it hasn’t eaten all these glorious dishes you have!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Sophia,

      Thanks for popping by, well you sure can afford to have a few more servings every meal, you lucky devil.

  14. My my, what a fantastic food tour. Your aunties are gorgeous!

    The surcharge is ridiculous and if people pay it, others will join in. I just wouldn’t go. There are too many good places to eat that respect their patrons.

    I don’t know which plate of food I liked the best.. way too many good ones to choose from!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Maureen,

      There are a lot of nice restaurants in Sydney at the moment, so much food and variety to choose from.

  15. Chopinand, I would need to buy a whole new wardrobe of kaftans and moo moos if I went dining regularly with you. I am gob smacked by the deliciousness of it all!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Lizzy,

      I think you are slim enough to go on a few safaris before even thinking about kaftans and moo moos.

  16. whoah!! that is A LOT of food and is definitely one heck of a food safari! So much food, I want it all but most of all, I want all that seafood (esp the crab!) nom nom nom

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Shan Shan,

      The seafood at the Chinese restaurants were pretty awesome as you would probably know! Those dishes were some of my favourites too.

  17. OMG that is SO much food! The eel kind of scared me a bit there…although I love eating them…:P
    I also can’t believe that all those restaurants have closed! I really hope Becasse stays open, at least until I can make it up to Sydney to try it! Last time I was in Sydney, I actually stayed right above Bilsons but I was traveling on a budget and so didn’t dine there. Such a shame. :(

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Jenny,

      I think Becasse’s food is pretty impressive but unless we are in Asia, fine-diner in a shopping complex is a bit of a misnomer to me.

  18. Whoa! An epic food safari and an epic post! What a wonderful tour of some of the tastiness that Sydney has to offer. Have you ever been to Mr. Chow’s Chinese Restaurant in The Rocks?? I haven’t been in years, but I remember their Peking Shredded Beef being excellent. Also, you drank one of my favourite wines on your tour… the Pierro Semillion Sauv Blanc. A great drop!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear SarahKate,

      No, I’ve not been to Mr Chow’s. My sister is a big fan of the Peking shredded beef, I just find it a little too sweet for my palate. Glad to see you like the SSB too, it was beautiful with seafood.

  19. Kimby says:

    Chopinandmysaucepan, this was not only a food safari, it was the most exquisite compilation of food photos in one post that I’ve ever seen! (Plus apt and unbiased descriptions.) Bravo!!! My mind’s eye (the one that “sees” and “tastes” flavors) is satiated indeed!

    I agree with you that restaurants need to create the “atmosphere” that diners are seeking — and willing to pay for, up to a point. Surcharges do not always guarantee impeccable service, and that’s a shame. Thank you for sharing your food safari — it was simply wonderful!

    As for my own safaris… I once dined at a restaurant (in Colorado, I believe) and couldn’t decide upon “which dessert.” I ended up ordering Strawberries Romanov, Creme’ Brulee, and Chocolate Mousse — and ate all three! :) Recently, I’ve been on a bent for BBQ — will keep you posted if I “adventure” anywhere!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Kimby,

      I have seen some great restaurants serving awesome steaks, burgers, grilled and roast chickens in so many different places in the US on Lifestyle food. I would love to go on a food safari in the US too, especially for the US steaks :)

  20. celia says:

    Wow, what a post! Your mum is like my mum – very interested in eating out, providing it’s Asian cuisine! :) Great line up of restaurants – sounds like you had a blast while she was visiting!

    I am soooo in agreement over the audacity of the large group surcharge! It’s bad enough that some venues insist you have a banquet menu if you have more than a certain number of diners, but to impose a surcharge on top of that, particularly when, as you say, it’s quiet in winter, is akin to shooting themselves in the foot, IMO.

  21. Sissi says:

    What an amazing feast! There are so many appetising dishes I would spend a year if I wanted to cook them and I’m sure they do not exist in my city’s restaurants. I find the surcharge shocking and frankly think they should give a discount for bigger groups (someone invited his friends or family to come which means they have new customers). I don’t think such policy is frequent in Europe.

  22. Christine says:

    epic post! looks like you all sampled a lot of great food.. loved the look of that fresh looking sashimi from the Fish markets and shredded beef Peking style is a personal fave of mine :)

    I gotta get back to Marigolds! fantastic place.. it has special memories for me cos it was the place I went on our first date with my bf 5+ years ago :)

  23. I very much hope the restaurant closure is no general and longer-lasting phenomenon in Sydney!!! Also, the surchase principle sounds eerie and unfamiliar to me. We don’t have anything like that over here, you just pay for what you order, regardless of how many people you are and in which season you go to a restaurant.

    Anyway, the foods you enjoyed look so wonderful! I’d totally be in for a safari like that! :D

  24. bams Kitchen says:

    Oh my goodness I feel like I need to go on a diet just after reading about this food safari. Restaurants noted for safe keeping…Thanks, BAM

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