With a 21-metre long firefox, water buckets, climbing ropes, swings and slides, the new Darling Quarter may not sound like a dining destination, but while it is a child’s fantasy-land, it doesn’t leave us adults unhappy either. Tucked cosily between the Chinese Gardens and the Darling Harbour waterfront, this new dining mecca offers a plethora of beautiful dining options.
On a glorious summer day I decided to do a little restaurant investigation at the new Darling Quarter. Desperate to find out whether this harbourside precinct would rival my beloved Level 6 at Westfield, I headed down there for a quick power lunch.
Excitedly, I perused the long strip of restaurants. Around me, well-suited businessmen, families and tourists all seemed to have flocked here to soak up the warm sunshine. It had been open only a few weeks and already, the place was buzzing.
My stress levels reached fever high as I pondered what I should have for lunch. A green curry at the open-plan kitchen at Nok Nok Thai Eating House (from the founders of Stir Crazy)? A gourmet salad from either Fat Duck Rôtissoire Kitchen and perhaps a wine from Italian bar Janus? Or a Mediterranean meal in the swish Michael McCann-designed (Flying Fish, Vic’s Meats Woollahra) Stacks Taverna? The choices were endless and after much deliberation, I finally settled on a sushi train feast at Umi Sushi and Udon.
Perched at the sushi bar, with the chefs there to keep me amused, a selection of sashimi, miso eggplant and crispy salmon skin was the perfect lunch combination. The excited vibe of Darling Quarter was contagious – and I walked back to the office nourished, and in high spirits. Darling, I will see you again soon.
Darling Quarter restaurants:
Best for: Italian gelati
Son of Tuysuz
Best for: chicken or lamb kebab
Nok Nok Thai Eating House
Best for: authentic Thai curries and stir fries
Stacks Taverna and Bar
Best for: DIY “cook your own” aged rump Angus beef
Best for: “The Classic” Vietnamese baguette
Best for: cachaca! (a Brazilian spirit made from sugar cane juice). Braza has the first cachaca bar in Sydney
Best for: boutique Italian wine bar
Best for: Belgian waffles with Guylian chocolate dip and praline ice cream
Box & Bowl
Best for: takeaway pho
Umi Sushi + Udon
Best for: sashimi and sushi from sushi train
Fat Duck Rotisserie Kitchen
Best for: rotisserie-roasted pork roll
Address: Darling Quarter, Darling Walk, 1-25 Harbour Street, Sydney