Monthly Archives: April 2012

Best meals for under $20 in Sydney

Chat Thai

There is Thai and then there is Chat Thai. With lines queuing at all hours outside their Haymarket restaurant, it’s no surprise that their Westfield addition is equally popular. Our pick: red curry of roasted duck with pineapple and holy basil $20.

Level 5, 500 George Street, Westfield Sydney

Hugos Bar Pizza

Hugo’s Bar Pizza is a cool bar and pizzeria catering to Sydney’s young socialites. Situated below Hugo’s Lounge, one of Kings Cross’s hottest nightspots, this restaurant is a funky nightspot that serves some top notch pizza. Our pick: Margherita pizza with roma tomatoes, fresh buffalo milk mozzarella, parmesan and basil $20.

33 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross


Tucked in the far corner of a courtyard beside Christine Manfield’s Unviersal, Phamish is constantly abuzz with in-the-know locals craving their famous Peking duck pancakes and salt and pepper squid. BYO too, this place is a winner. Our pick: Chilli and kaffir lime leaf prawns $20.50; salt and pepper squid $18.50.

Republic 2, 50 Burton Street, Darlinghurst

Barrio Chino

A Mexican food revolution has hit the Sydney dining scene and leading the way is Barrio Chino. Tucked away on Bayswater Road in Kings Cross, the glam young duo behind Potts Point’s Fei Jai, Peter Lew and Nicole Galloway, offer Mexican street food in a dining table style. Our pick: A selection of Mexican delights; baja fish taco $6 and beef brisket taco $6 and grilled sweetcorn with chilli and lime $5. ($17).

28-30 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross

Wilbur’s Place

Another one from the Bourke Street Bakery Boys, Wilbur’s Place offers casual lunch and dinner menus that are simple and healthy. This hole-in-the-wall is located on Llankelly Place in Potts Point. Our pick: Brisket Ragu with mushrooms, orecchiette, gremolata and bread crumbs $19.

36 Llankelly Place, Potts Point

The Argyle

Despite its prime position in the heart of the historic Rocks, The Argyle is among the most affordable restaurants in the area. With a suave and sexy fit out, complete with soft-lit VIP sections, open courtyards and an industrial-sized bar, The Argyle also serves fantastic pub grub. Our pick: Wagyu burger with BBQ sauce and fries $18.

18 Argyle Street, The Rocks, Sydney CBD

Sushi on Stanley

Lines queue along Stanley Street at all hours with people eager to snag a table at this tiny Japanese joint. Value-for-money is what it’s all about at Sushi on Stanley, where the meals are huge and the sashimi as fresh as you would get at the fish markets. Our pick: Dinner box with chicken teriyaki, salmon and avocado California roll, miso soup, rice and salad $12.

85 Stanley Street, Darlinghurst

Anna Lisle

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Restaurant Review: Three Blue Ducks

The story behind Three Blue Ducks is simple. A couple of mates who all happen to share a love of eating and cooking decided that they needed to find a job that would not only foster passion for food, but would also let them surf. The answer: to open a cafe in Bronte. At first, the people of Sydney came here to experience the magic of one of the Blue Ducks, former Tetsuya chef Mark LaBrooy. Once the masses got a taste of Three Blue Ducks, in all its effervescent and energetic glory, the rest of the Three Blue Duck story is history.

Three Blue Ducks at night

What started as a casual cafe, the Three Blue Ducks have since taken over the pizza parlour next door, offering the perfect space for a more formal bar and dining room. With Mark at the pots and pans, the other two members in the duck-trio is Sam Reid and Chris Sorrell, as barista. The winning formula of this bustling place is the well-priced menu, house-made pastries and baked goods and staff who look like they actually like they actually want to be there.

Beef, burnt onion and mustard seed

If you head there on a weekend, queues wait outside, creating an excited buzz that surrounds the periphery of the 20-seater cafe. By night, however, the vibe is more chilled out. There are no tablecloths or snooty waitresses. The printout menu is without all your usual bows and whistles yet the food impresses with the use of quality produce and some seriously talented chefs. Check out the dinner menu here:

Anna Lisle

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Read more about Three Blue Ducks here

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Best new cookbooks

With four glorious days up your sleeve this Easter weekend, now is the perfect time to have some fun in the kitchen. Here at Best Restaurants, it goes without saying that love to dine out but our passion for food doesn’t end there – we are also keen cooks.

Here are 3 new gorgeous cookbooks (and our favourite recipe from each one). Follow the link to download each recipe.

  1. Mum’s Jam Tart from My Mother’s Kitchen– Guy Grossi ($49.95; Penguin Books).

1. Mum’s Jam Tart

  1. Chilled Pea Soup With Crab Salad And Black Olive Oil from Manu’s French Bistro – Manu Fiedel ($49.95; Penguin Books).

Chilled Pea Soup With Crab Salad And Black Olive Oil

  1. Alaphias Chocolate Cake from Best-ever baking recipes – David Herbert ($49.95; Penguin Books).

Alaphias Chocolate Cake

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Restaurant Review: Honeycomb

Andy Bunn established his reputation as head Chef at Fratelli’s Cafe Sopra. Today, Bunn can be found behind the pots and pans at his humble neighbourhood restaurant, Honeycomb.

On a quiet little intersection, with bustling gourmet fish ‘n’ chips joint, Sea Cow, across the road, Bunn has quickly developed a loyal crowd of Eastern Suburb’s locals. The fit out is bare but beautiful with exposed concrete walls and natural wood trimmings. Large mesh gold light globes hang from the ceiling, creating a moody and intimate atmosphere at night. By day, the restaurant transforms into a sundrenched cafe where a simple black awning provides shade for diners who opt to sip their lattes on the street-side, bench-style seating.

The simple and elegant interior

The menu isn’t tricky – it’s a classic mix of Italian and European dishes and our group-of-three decide that we could happily order every single dish. There are light and fresh entrees like tuna carpaccio and a special of grilled prawns and avocado. A classic entree of deep fried zucchini flowers are stuffed with five Italian cheeses. The not-too-rich stuffing oozes out from a waif-like batter and a last-minute sprinkling of parmesan creates a seductive crust. There are rustic, rich mains like lamb ragu and Italian meatballls with capellini. The osso bucco and potato gnocchi appears to abandon its traditional heritage with an unusual chilli spice that may deter some Italian aficionados. The spinach and ricotta raviolini reminds you why freshly made pasta is so superior and the rich tomato sauce is such a vibrant tomato-red that you have no doubt that quality produce is of the uttermost importance in Bunn’s kitchen. While not aesthetically appealing, the barramundi with witlof salad is the hero dish. Two generous fillets, cooked to perfection, are topped with a luscious olive-oil drenched julienned salad. All in all, the food is accomplished and satisfying.

Spinach and ricotta raviolini with rich tomato sauce and baby basil

There are missteps. Too many tables fill the small space making it hard to hold a moderate-level conversation and the wine is topped up sporadically. These are minor issues and easily overlooked when you realise that Honeycomb does what a neighbourhood restaurant should: make local life feel good enough that you want to live nearby.

Anna Lisle

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Read more about Honeycomb here

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