Tag Archives: Sydney Restaurant

Can’t get enough of Darlinghurst’s new izakaya restaurant… Kaya

The smell wafts out onto Oxford Street and hits us before we even enter the front door. If I hadn’t already booked a table at Kaya, I would have ditched my original plans and made a reservation here. “It’s the robata,” explains Tim Lackey, Kaya’s energetic co-owner who greets us at the door, “It’s seriously amazing.” Suddenly, we’re ravenous.

Moody and atmosphere, Kaya is perfect for first dates

Moody and atmospheric, Kaya is a perfect first date restaurant

Once home to the darling of Darlinghurst, Rambutan, Kaya’s interior has been designed by the visionary team, Splinter Society. Kaya’s dining room draws inspiration from traditional Japanese izakaya bars, whilst utilising Australian materials such as cypress pine from the Dandenong Ranges to create a dynamic space that incorporates high and low-tech features from sound-proof walls to manga graffiti.

Straying away from your standard sushi and sashimi Japanese offering, the menu at Kaya stays true to the traditional notion of “izakaya” dining —that is, a series of small dishes designed to share while you drink. With the seductive smell wafting around the restaurant, robata dishes are our main priority… that is, until we see the venison tataki and sashimi don on the table next to us. We start with the rice wine and seaweed cured kingfish and ocean trout, sweet shell-grilled scallops doused in a zingy citrus ponzu and miso eggplant.

We recommend you start with this rice wine and seaweed cured kingfish and ocean trout

Start with this rice wine and seaweed cured kingfish and ocean trout

Being don-devotees, we can’t resist ordering both the sashimi and chicken yakitori options. At that point, the shell grilled scallops and venison were competing for the title as ‘favourite dish’. That was until the (take a deep breath for this) 600 gram, 24 hour slow cooked, glazed wagyu rib arrived in front of us. The race was over, a winner was declared.

“It’s a Friday night – of course you’ve got to have a cocktail!” I have to admit, it doesn’t take long for my efficient waiter to convince me to order the green appletini and as soon as I take a sip of smooth combination of freshly squeezed Granny Smith apple, vodka, lime and sugar, I’m in a picture of satisfaction.

From the moment we smelled the robata grill to that first mouthful of venison tataki – we were hooked. There isn’t much that falls short of amazing at Kaya.

Anna Lisle

Read more about Kaya here

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Filed under Darlinghurst, Kaya, Reviews, Uncategorized

Luke Mangan at Thomas Dux – a Crave showstopper

It’s not every day that you find yourself slightly intoxicated walking around a grocery store, running your hands over artisan (read slightly overpriced) products and pondering the use of Fluff Marshmallow Spread. And it’s not every day that you get an 8-course feast cooked for you by chef, restaurateur and providore Luke Mangan.

But as good food month rolls on, Crave continues to pull out all the stops. Last night at Thomas Dux Grocer in Crows Nest, the handsome grocery space was transformed into a pop-up restaurant for 60-odd diners, all wanting to rub shoulders with the celebrity chef.

Mangan took us on a global tasting experience from Morocco to Mexico via a tapas-style feast showcasing dishes from his restaurants and using oils and spices from his providores (product placement overload, but all in good fun). We started with what was perhaps the best dish of the evening – Moroccan spiced steak tartare, which arrived on large wooden planks with a sea of tiny quail eggs perched atop the meaty nest. Roasted garlic flat bread accompanied the dish and was the perfect vehicle to mop up their golden yellow entrails.  Feta, tarragon, mint and sumac stuffed zucchini flowers followed on a pillow of creamy corn puree and was a definite crowd-pleaser.

By the end of the night everyone was best friends (plentiful food and wine always seems to make this happen), so facebook details were exchanged, wedding dates were swapped (who knew pop-up dinners attracted such a large posse of newlyweds?) and someone even offered to host a falafel party for the table. The night culminated in a sweet crescendo of warm chocolate filled doughnuts with vanilla bean ice-cream and anglaise and Luke Mangan goodie bags for everyone.

Sami-Jo Adelman

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Filed under Crows Nest, Events, Reviews, Thomas Dux Grocer

Ban the “S” word because oh-my, O Bar and Dining is here.

What was once the famed Summit Restaurant (oops – I said it) is now the beautifully re-modelled O Bar and Dining. Internationally renowned chef and owner Michael Moore is the driving force behind the venture, which has been re-designed with simple, plush interiors and a stylish palette of chocolate browns, silvers and black. What hasn’t changed, however, is the famous 360 view, which captures the glamour and excitement of our beautiful city.

Salon Privé by Champagne Taittinger – an exclusive private dining room – is the one aspect of Summit that remains.

On Wednesday night, the Best Restaurant team headed to the iconic Harry Seidler-designed Australia Square to celebrate the launch this stunning space. It was indeed a star-studded affair with Kerri Anne Kennerley, Kurt Pengilly, Jane Flemming and Layne Beachley joining in the celebrations. Chef Moore briefly chatted to the vivacious crowd, thanking his family and warning the crowd that anybody who uses the word “Summit” is banned from the premises.

Michael Moore is the driving force behind the creative evolution of this Sydney icon

As the crowd explored the new O Bar space, including an incredible revolving outer floor, guests were introduced to a range of dishes from the Moore’s revamped menu. Drawing inspiration from the healthy eating philosophy from Moore’s latest cookbook Blood Sugar ($45), guests sampled sesame crusted salmon tataki with quinoa salad, beef capaccio with house mustard and sprouts and a selection of crisp corn tacos.

Read more about O Bar and Dining here

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Filed under Events, O Bar and Dining, Sydney CBD

Darcy’s – a pillar of traditional Italian cuisine in Sydney

In a society of Twitter and Facebook addicts, it’s easy to forget about restaurants like Darcy’s. This Paddington institution swung open its doors in 1968 and continues to remain at the forefront of the Sydney dining scene today. An impressive feat in an uncertain time for the hospitality industry.

While many know of Darcy’s, standing proudly on the corner Hargrave and Elizabeth Street, this regal restaurant is not often frequented by our food-obsessed, hip youngsters. Too busy working through their lists of cafes/bars/restaurant from SMH guidebooks and standing in the queues of small bars in Bondi or concept cafes in the Inner West, the focus tends to be on quantity, not quality. In a society like this, loyalty is a forgotten-about commodity. Restaurants like Darcy’s, however, are all about loyalty. Loyalty to their staff, suppliers, producers and, of course, their customers. At the heart of Darcy’s is one man. Italian-born Attilio Marinangeli visited Australia over 40 years ago and never left.

The upstairs private function room

Stepping into Darcy’s is like stepping back in time. Elegant and intimate, the restaurant features dark wood fittings, gold patterned wallpaper and Norman Lindsay artworks. We are welcomed at the door by Attilio himself. Dressed in a dinner suit, complete with a bow-tie, Attilio is a true man of hospitality. Gracious and affable, Attilio flits about the restaurant, serving wine and food and, for those interested, sharing a story along the way.

The menu features traditional Italian favourites, with an emphasis on Central and Northern Italian flavours. For primi, we share beef carpaccio with parmesan and olive oil and a dish of grilled asparagus with burrata cheese that Atillio regularly has flown in from Italy. Simply presented, the quality of the produce speaks for itself. The special of the day, pork belly with a prune relish, is rich and luxurious – perfect for a chilly winter evening while a grilled fillet of John Dory is fresh and unpretentious. The desserts will ensure a memorable finish to your meal, and are well worth a kilojoule blow-out with classics such as crepe suzette, tiramisu and crème brûlée a highlight on the restaurant’s menu.

Off the special’s menu – seared scallops wrapped in crispy pancetta and served with avocado, lemon and mixed leaves

Darcy’s has not featured on Masterchef, nor has it ever offered a Groupon or Living Social deal. It has, however, hosted Britain’s longest serving prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, and been the desired destination for power lunches between socialites like horse-racing trainer Anthony Cummings and mining magnate Nathan Tinkler. It may tend to stray from the hospitality limelight but Darcy’s is one of Sydney’s most respected restaurants, establishing itself as a pillar of traditional Italian cuisine in Sydney. Now add that to your list.

Anna Lisle
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Read more about Darcy’s here

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Filed under Darcy's, Paddington, Reviews