Archive for the 'Sydney' Category

Cronut awaits ….

We’re flying out to Sydney tonight ….

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Can’t wait.

See you soon Jaso.

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Sydney Last Day: Sydney fish market and Cronuts

I am blogging my final post on Sydney just before I’m about to fly to Singapore for our sisters weekend, woohoo! The daitaoha sisters are all based in Perth now and it’s been pretty amazing…

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Ok back to Sydney. It was our last day in Sydney and probably my favourite day of all. We knew we were going to Sydney fish market for our seafood brunch. It was pretty easy getting there using the light rail system which was located at the Central station.

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A short ride away and we were there! I was quite surprised that we could only buy the light rail tickets when we were on the carriage itself with ticket guards approaching each passenger to issue tickets during the journey. Talk about an honesty system.

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Sydney fish market map. The market looked very big on the map, but really, the retail section of the market that was open to public was pretty small and not what I expected at all.

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The majority of customers were Chinese tourists, trust the Chinese to know where to find good food. You could see many tourists posing with their giant crabs before digging into a giant plate of noodles with steamed crab.

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I loved ogling at all the seafood on display. Giant swordfish for sale.

_DSC3736 (Medium)Prawn galore.

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Our favourite stalls were the sashimi counters, I wanted to buy everything because the seafood all looked so fresh and yummy.

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Lobsters and giant prawns all very popular with the tourists. They also had cooked food counters where many people bought the pre grilled lobsters with cheese.

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Another favourite! Oysters priced by size and variety. They were all quite affordable, around $17 per dozen for rather large oysters.
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Our oyster brunch! These oysters were sooo good, fresh and creamy, we were so tempted to go back to buy another tray but resisted.

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Tuna at $99.99 per kg. This was gorgeous too and even better than salmon.

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We took the lightrail back to the Star Casino. The casino itself wasn’t overly impressive (Crown Perth is better) but the only reason why I was there was due to Adriano Zumbo of macaron, croquembouche tower, V8 cake Masterchef fame.
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Bright, colourful and minimalistic. That’s how I would describe Zumbo’s patisserie which had his famous desserts on display.
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Can’t leave Zumbo’s without buying some boxes of macarons for friends and family.
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I’m not a big macaron fan finding them too sweet but R likes macarons a lot and he enjoyed these.

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Instead of the cronut (croissant and donut hybrid that was all the craze last year), we had the zonut (as in Zumbo’s cronut).

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Behold the Zonut! I had mine with a lovely cup of coffee, it was the ultimate afternoon treat.
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I’m not sure I would line up for hours for these, but I did like the croissant flaky texture and the sugary glazed sinfulness of donut. Best washed down with a smooth cup of hot coffee.
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Afterwards we headed back to Pitt Street for the shopping malls. Where to for an early dinner? None other than the ever popular Chat Thai famed for their tasty, affordable Thai food. We went to their Westfield branch and luckily there wasn’t the usual crowd because were so early.

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I had the gai yaang ($12.50) which is char grilled turmeric and lemongrass marinated chicken with smoked chilli and tamarind relish. It was well marinated and really tasty. I loved the relish too which was great with the rice.
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R had the boat noodles soup ($12.50) which was delicious, full of flavour and packed a punch, very similar to what you would get in Thailand. I was really pleased we managed to get to Chat Thai and happy that it lived up to the hype. Can’t wait to go back and try all the other dishes.

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And that wasn’t even the end to our wonderful Sydney food experience! We bought this pack of sashimi takeaway from the fish market and had it at the airport haha. It was worth it and the perfect ending to what was a glorious long weekend in Sydney.

Yeah, can’t wait for all the good food and family time in Singapore! We will be meeting up with my parents too so it will be wonderful, started to get excited (*____*).

Sydney Long Weekend: Day 3

I’m afraid that my ah ma is right in saying I won’t be able to finish my Sydney posts before I’m in Singapore, so here goes another Sydney post!

It was my second day wandering around Sydney city while R was attending his full day course. I remember a friend who once visited Melbourne on his own and told me he didn’t enjoy his trip as much because he felt lonely. In contrast, I didn’t feel lonely one bit and loved having breakfast and discovering the city on my own. I guess I’m a real introvert. Or maybe it was because I knew R and I would meet up at the end of the day so I could never be lonely for long (=^^=).

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Early breakfast at Reuben Hills in Surry Hills, another must eat on my list. Again, Surry Hills was quiet and peaceful. The quiet streets were misleading though, I was surprised at the buzz and hive of activity when I stepped into the cafe.
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A classic Reuben sandwich which apparently originates from New York is a hot sandwich of corned beef, Swiss cheese with Russian dressing, and sauerkraut. Reuben Hills had a fascinating menu of reubens and I found it difficult to make a decision.

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In the end I opted for The Broken Omelette Roll with fried shrimp and and bacon jam ($14). Interesting combination right? It came with prawn crackers on the side and really had teeny fried shrimp in the bun which gave it a crunchy texture. The bacon jam itself was tasty, but whilst interesting, I don’t think I would order this again.

Instead of ordering their famous salted caramel shake, I had their lychee with lime and coconut shake which came out exactly how I imagined it would, refreshing and tropical.

Would I return to Reuben Hills again? Definitely, only with so many great cafes in Surry Hills, it might be some time before I go back.

Reuben Hills
61 Albion Street
Surry Hills
Sydney, 2010

After so much walking the day before, I ended my day a bit early and headed back to the hotel for a great afternoon of winter olympics watching. Sigh, I do miss the Olympics. Luckily World Cup is coming soon but there’s only one sport to watch, luckily I like football.

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We were contemplating whether we should return to Chinatown for Gumshara Ramen again (R really loved it) but I suggested we try another popular ramen store in the city instead. So Ichiban Boshi it was. Located on the second floor of The Galleries shopping mall (opposite Kinokuniya), it’s pretty easy to get to this noodle store.

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Even though it was quite late by the time we arrived, the store was still quite busy. We wanted to order the Tonkatsu ramen which I read somewhere is their signature dish (with only 15 bowls on offer a day, that can’t be true?!). We weren’t surprised when the waitress told us that they had sold out on tonkatsu ramen for the day. Oh well, R had the Miso Ramen ($9.90) instead. While it was no gumshara, he enjoyed this ramen and we agreed the ramen noodles themselves were very nice.

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I had the Tokyo Ramen ($9.90)which was a soy based ramen with char siew and a soft boiled egg. It was lightly flavoured and pretty good as far as ramen goes but I wouldn’t say that it’s outstanding.

Ichiban Boshi
Level 2 The Galeries
500 George Street
Sydney

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After dinner, we walked down to Darling Harbour to catch sight of the nighttime view of the CBD. It was very pretty. Maybe someday Perth will be like this once Elizabeth Quay is up, we can only hope.

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Can’t say you’ve been to Sydney without taking the obligatory photo of the Opera House!
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Sydney Harbour Bridge at night. It must be beautiful when the fireworks light up the bridge during New Year’s Eve.

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Quay with the legendary Peter Gilmore at its helm. He is the guy with all the beautiful creations that the Masterchef wannabes try to create to no avail.  What a beautiful place to have dinner. R said we might go there for dinner some day 🙂 .
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A short stroll into the Rocks for some chocolate dessert (R had a chocolate beer!) at the Guylian cafe (I can’t remember what this dessert was called but it was reaally good) and we called it a day. Another great day in Sydney.

Just one final post on Sydney and I will have finished my Sydney series, it’s the best one too because we went to the Fish market *drool*. Let’s see whether I will get it done before we leave for Singapore. Four more days and my sister and family will arrive in Perth forever, woohoo.

Sydney Long Weekend : Day 2

Our Sydney long weekend already feels like a long time ago and I’m longing to go back to the good ol’days of quiet leafy streets, long indulgent breakfasts and excellent coffees.
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I had already done my research prior to my Sydney trip and decided that Surry Hills was the suburb to go for my brekkie needs. An inner city suburb, it was a short walk from the Central train station.  The streets were very quiet as I was there quite early. I enjoyed the easy walk up the hills.

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I had quite a few cafes listed in my Surry Hills must eat list and decided to go to whichever cafe I chanced upon first. It was perhaps perfect that my first Sydney breakfast experience was at Bills, the ultimate Sydney breakfast institution. Bill Granger is a famous Australian chef (the Jamie Oliver of Australia perhaps) with many restaurants and books under his belt, his signature dishes being his scrambled eggs and ricotta hotcakes.

The cafe itself was lovely, bright and light. Even though I was relatively early, it was already buzzing with a crowd but not to the point where it was too loud. The waitress was just friendly enough and efficiently brought me to the communal table since it was just me.
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This was when I was first discovering my No.1 Ladies Detective books and had brought one with me to Sydney. It was so cozy chuckling through the witty book while sipping on a warm milky latte.

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I was sorely tempted to go for Bills’ famous scrambled eggs which I’m told are the best scrambled eggs ever. But I wasn’t in an eggy mood, so I had the other famous signature dish being the ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter and banana ($20). Was it out of this world? To be honest, no. But it was very very nice, even for someone like me that normally wouldn’t order pancakes or hotcakes for breakfast. The ricotta hotcakes were light and fluffy, and tasted lovely drizzled with maple syrup and melted butter. If they were in Perth, I would order them again.

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I enjoyed being at the communal table and people watching. This young athletic chap was seated opposite me and had just dropped in for a bite after his morning run. He devoured his healthy and tasty looking avocado on rye with lime and coriander, had an expresso and was up and running again. It just seemed like such a great place to catch up with friends, chill by yourself, or pop in for a quick bite and consistently good breakfast.

I wanted to bring R back but we never made it, maybe during our next trip.

Bills
359 Crown Street
Surry Hills NSW
2010 Australia

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After a satisfying breakfast, I took a bus to Circular Quay, this time headed for the iconic The Rocks.

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It was the weekend The Rocks’ market! It was a pity that I was already full from breakfast or else I would have sampled some of the goodies being sold at the foodie corner.
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More window shopping for me. Cute owl hats which reminded me of Tristan and his love of Hoot Hoot.
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The Rocks is a tourist precinct with historic buildings and many souvenir and craft shops. I had fun exploring and walking around the markets and shops.

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Leaving The Rocks, I headed back to Circular Quay (just right next door) and visited the Museum of Contemporary Art which entrance had the spectacular view of Darling Harbour. They happened to be showing Yoko Ono’s War is Over exhibition and I went into a theatre to watch a documentary clip of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s anti Vietnam war efforts.

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After that it was a walk along the busy shopping street of Pitt Street right into the heart of the shopping district in the CBD. By the time I stopped for lunch, it was closer to 2 – 3pm. It was a bit of a hunt for me to get to Oiden but I finally made it. Oiden is a Japanese donburu (rice bowl) restaurant touting, fast, affordable and tasty rice bowls of many varieties and was a much recommended place from my guy mates. Perhaps it was later in the afternoon by the time I had my lunch but my karaage rice bowl while tasty didn’t come piping hot as I’m used to for these delicious fried chicken morsels. But I loved their soft boiled egg effect which can be added to every rice bowl. Slap on oodles of japanese mayo and it’s a match made in heaven. I would go again if I was ever in the neighbourhood and was looking for an affordable, tasty rice bowl on the go.

Oiden Bowl Bar
Shop 12, 537-551 George St
Sydney, NSW 2000

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Back to the hotel for a short rest. R returned from his full day training course and we started planning to head back into Chinatown for dinner. Chinatown at night was even busier than day time and very lively.

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For dinner, we decided to try the Chinatown institution Golden Century restaurant which I suspect is what Billy Lee is to Perth Chinatown. We had the homemade seafood tofu which was a rich creamy tofu with a layer of seafood sauce. While the tofu texture was special and lovely, the whole dish was a bit underseasoned for us and lacking in taste.

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The salt and pepper squid (I read somewhere that everything salt and pepper is good at Golden Century, should have known that that’s a tell tale sign for not so fab Chinese food) which the opposite of the tofu, was very heavily seasoned and very very salty. We both agreed that the best dish of the night was the complimentary soup that was given at the start of the meal, which was a really tasty soup with was laden with yummy ingredients which enhanced the depth of the soup. Why can’t I make chinese soups like that??

The atmosphere, service and interior of Golden Century itself was nice and we had a great window table. But this will probably be our last visit to Golden Century.

Golden Century
393-399 Sussex St,
Sydney NSW 2000

Another great day in Sydney with more lovely days to come.

Sydney Long Weekend : Day 1 Gumshara Ramen & Rockpool

I’ve just returned from a lovely long weekend in Sydney. It’s been a while since I’ve visited Sydney and it was R’s first visit, I think it’s safe to say that we both enjoyed this trip a lot and are a little in love with the beautiful and fun city.
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Before I bombard this post with Sydney pics, here are some palmiers that I made for our workplace afternoon tea before I left for the long weekend. I used frozen puff pastry and a brown sugar, walnuts and cinnamon filling,  it was a crowd pleaser at work (I work with a hungry bunch).
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Back to Sydney, I loved their extensive city rail network which was easy to navigate. Not that it isn’t easy to navigate in Perth but we don’t have much choice here because our stations in comparison to Sydney’s are sparse and few! Funnily enough, our train line was closed for trackworks during the weekend so for a couple of days I traveled solely by free replacement buses which were well coordinated and frequent.
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R was really there for a professional development course while I tagged along for some foodie/shopping/coffee time. But the course didn’t start till Saturday so we still had the Friday free for some couple exploration time. One of our first stops, the Queen Victoria Building right in town (TownHall train station). QVB is a gorgeous building of history which in recent times has been restored into its original design as a shopping mall.
Feb Sydney

In fact, a lot of the shopping malls and lanes in the CBD are housed in picturesque old buildings. I’m glad to see that Perth is starting to embrace it’s heritage buildings as well and places such as The Terrace Hotel, The Trustee etc. are being put into good use and being enjoyed by the public.

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From QVB, we walked into the neighbouring Haymarket suburb where Chinatown (Dixon Street) is located. Chinatown was a lot smaller than I expected but I suspect that satellite Chinatowns have emerged in suburban Sydney and am determined to visit some during my next trip to Sydney.

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By this time it was getting close to noon and we were famished. I didn’t have much time to do foodie research before my Sydney trip, but because R is a big ramen fan, I did google ‘best ramen in Sydney’ and came up with a few must-go ramen stalls with no.1 on the to-do ramen list being Gumshara Ramen of the 120kg pork bones per day tonkatsu ramen fame.
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Ta-dah, the famous tonkatsu ramen with perfect soft boiled egg. The charsiew (bbq pork) slices were very tasty and well done, ramen were of a delightful ‘bite’ texture (not too hard) but it was really the thick, sinfully rich porkbone soup that hit the mark with R. He thought about it every day after this meal and has confirmed that he will visit Gumshara for his ramen hit every time he visits Sydney. In all honesty, the porkiness and heaviness of the soup was too much for me and I could barely manage half a bowl (this is why every girl needs a ‘finisher’), next time I will ask them to dilute the soup for me.

Gumshara
Eating World Harbour Plaza
Shop 209, 25-29 Dixon Street
(enter from Goulburn Street or Factory Street)
Haymarket Chinatown, Sydney

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By the time we staggered out from the food court, R was very very full. I however, still managed to have a few of the popular custard puffs from Emperor’s Garden bakery ($1 for 4). Even thought it was past lunchtime, there was still a short queue for the puffs, on another night when I visited Chinatown, I spied a tremendously long queue for the puffs.
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Are the puffs worth the queue? Not really. They are a great snack mind you, I love anything custard and these puffs were freshly made and still hot with creamy custard filling, I’m just not sure I would queue for so long to eat these puffs which were nice but not amazing.

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Market City in Haymarket.

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The bottom level of the building is the Paddy’s market which is a wide array of stalls selling everything from wigs, souvenirs, bags to clothes. The upper levels is the Market City shopping mall which is very Asian and makes you feel as if you’ve been transported to a local suburb shopping centre in Singapore.

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This young girl got quite a few stares when she started doing pushups (one hand too!) in the middle of the busy city streets. What was she doing?
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It was an Amazing Race challenge! Throughout the day we spotted Amazing Race participants racing around the city doing all sorts of different challenges, in fact, we were roped into one because one of their challenges was to take photos with random groups. Haha, so I might be on tv soon.
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I told R that we had to take a picture of him in front of this bus stop to Birkenhead Point because we spent quite a bit of time trying to find the right bus to get to Birkenhead Point which is a factory outlet quite near the CBD but not easily accessible via the train. The  bus stop is located on Druitt Street (near the Town Hall train station ) and you have to take the 500 series buses to Victoria Rd, Drummoyne, alighting at the first stop after Iron Cove Bridge. Follow the signs to the factory outlet which is a 2 minute walk away.
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Hooray for shopping galore!

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It was a lovely area to shop at with the glittering harbour in near distance. Lots of great brands including my favourite Review, Cue Australian brands.
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Time for dinner! And it was a special one at Rockpool Bar and Grill which I had pre booked a couple of weeks earlier. Rockpool is one of those famous restaurants in Australia that everyone raves about. While some have commented that it’s overrated or not worth the hefty price, it has been very popular since it’s Perth branch opened up in Crowne casino. Many colleagues and friends have raved about the food but I’ve always been a bit skeptical.
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Despite the steaks being Rockpool Bar and Grill’s claim to fame, I was actually most impressed with the wide and lovely range of sides and starters offered by Rockpool. Everything sounded amazing and yummy so it was quite difficult  to choose the steak tartare with chips ($25) as our shared started. But it was a good choice because the steak tartare was very tasty, appetising and well seasoned.

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Friends have prewarned me that Rockpool’s famous steaks come with no condiments but is literally just one lone piece of meat .My Cape Grim grass fed 250 gm fillet ($55) was cooked a perfect medium rare and was definitely one of the better steaks that I’ve ever had. I’m not sure that it was a wow flowers coming out of head moment though.

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R’s 350g grass fed rib eye on the bone ($66) with bearnaise sauce. Also well cooked, R wasn’t too impressed with the cut of the meat and preferred my fillet finding it more tender.

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Our sides of ‘Mac and Cheese’ ($9) which is Rockpool’s decadent version of the simple mac and cheese and was rich and packed with flavour. It was very tasty but again, I’m not sure whether it was worth all the accolades. Probably not something I would order again especially since there are so many other yummy sides to choose from.

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Sauteed mixed mushrooms ($25), such a simple dish but so delightful. We loves this side. The sides were all of a generous portion so I would suggest that small feeders should probably choose just one side to share between two.

We had a nice dinner at Rockpool and it’s definitely worth a visit but probably doesn’t rate as high in terms of wow factor for me. Would I return again, I’m not sure, the other sides all sounded fantastic so I wouldn’t mind going just for the sides. But with so many other restaurants to try in Sydney, I think it will be a long time before I go back.

All in all, a wonderful first day in Sydney.

Rockpool Bar and Grill
66 Hunter St
Sydney NSW 2000
Australia


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