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Sydney and Melbourne chowhounds, please help!

s
susanj Jan 9, 2003 08:43 PM

I'll be in Sydney for only three days and plan on eating as much as possible. I know the must-try is Tetsuya's and I've also heard of a new place called Long Grain, which is supposed to be fantastic and extremely difficult to book. Have any of you eaten there and what do you think of it? What kind of food? Does anybody have the address, phone number and fax?? I did a Google search but can't find anything. Is it really that good or are there other, better places to try. I don't want Chinese (I live in Hong Kong) but I want to eat any other cuisine (especially modern Australian) that's fantastic. I've tasted Luke Mangan's (from Salt) when he was a guest chef in Singapore and Hong Kong, but what else? Rockpool? What else is Neil Parry doing now? This is my first trip to Sydney so I want to make it a fantastic eating experience.
Also, re: Tetsuya's, are they still on Kent Street? I've heard they moved - is Kent Street the new address or the old?
I'll also be in Melbourne which I'm less familiar (food wise) with. Any top recommendations??

Many thanks.

  1. g
    Gary Soup Jan 9, 2003 11:48 PM

    I Googled "Long Grain Sydney" and got the following link. Scroll down almost to the bottom. It seems to be a pub with an Asian food bar, probably not what you're looking for.

    Link: http://www.pubclub.com/pubjournals/sy...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gary Soup
      s
      susanj Jan 10, 2003 12:28 AM

      Thanks for this, and you're right, it sounds more like a place people go to be seen instead of for the food. I think I'll try someplace else.

      1. re: susanj
        m
        milton Jan 16, 2003 09:56 PM

        Hi Susan,
        Longrain can be a bit scene-y, but don't let that put you off - the food is seriously good! Avoid friday nights if you can - the wait can get a bit ridiculous. If you're looking for thai that will blow your mind, try Sailors Thai in the Rocks, or there is also Sailors Thai Canteen upstairs, with cheaper food and no view, and like Longrain, a big communal table. Awesome food though, but I'd go to the main restaurant if you're wanting something really special.
        Another suggestion (I know you only have three nights) would be Luke Mangans new(ish - about 12mths) place called Bistro Lulu http://bistrolulu.citysearch.com.au) very yummy french bistro food and only a few minutes from the city on Oxford St Paddington. Been going here since it opened (lucky enough to have it as my local ;-) and they never disappoint.
        The other suggestion I have for you is Guillaume at Bennelong - amazing food and views to die for down at the Sydney Opera House. Went there with friends a couple of weeks ago and while it's not cheap, it's absolutely wonderful - incredible food, those views VERY Sydney!!
        Best of luck with your search / trip, and enjoy Tetsuyas!

    2. b
      Bryan Burrell Jan 10, 2003 06:00 AM

      Susan, Try these out:
      TETSUYA - 529 KENT STREET, SYDNEY FAX 61 2 9262 7099
      Bookings a must and plenty of notice usually required.

      LONGRAIN - 85 COMMONWEALTH STREET, SURRY HILLS
      FAX 61 2 9280 2887 longrain@iprimus.com.au
      Yes it is a hipster/bar restaurant but with serious food credentials, serving Thai/southern Chinese.

      SALT - 229 DARLINGHURST ROAD, DARLINGHURST
      FAX 61 2 9332 2530 info@saltrestaurant.com.au

      ROCKPOOL - 107 GEORGE STREET, SYDNEY FAX 61 2 9252 2421
      enquire@rockpool.com

      Other resturants that will be of interest:

      PIER (GREG DOYLE) Modern Australian, harbourside dining
      594 NEW SOUTH HEAD ROAD, ROSE BAY FAX 61 2 9363 0927
      pierrestaurant@bigpond.com

      AQUA DINING Modern Australian, harbourside dining, almost underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge
      FAX 61 2 9964 9098 reservations@aquadining.com.au

      CELSIUS (PETER DOYLE) Modern Australian, world class
      FAX 61 2 8214 0495 dine@celsiusrestaurant.com.au

      Susan, all of these are top shelf, world class and expensive for Sydney - A$35-$40 main course. There are many more options so please advise if you need more help.
      I am a Melbourne lad so let me know what you are looking for and I will try to assist.
      Bryan

      5 Replies
      1. re: Bryan Burrell
        s
        susanj Jan 11, 2003 10:39 PM

        Hi Bryan, thanks for these.

        Melbourne, I've heard, is better for more ethnic cuisines. What are the really good Middle Eastern and Vietnamese places to try?
        Also, a friend brought back some incredibly delicious chocolate covered candied ginger. She bought them in Melbourne at the weekend market (not sure of the name). Unfortunately, we won't be there on the weekend so do you know where else I can find them?

        1. re: susanj
          b
          Bryan Burrell Jan 12, 2003 07:36 AM

          Susan
          We have many outstanding ethnic restaurants, but I will list a few.
          Middle Eastern:
          ABLA 109 ELGIN ST, CARLTON FAX: 61.3. 9347 0006

          MECCA MID LEVEL, SOUTHGATE, SOUTHBANK, MELBOURNE
          FAX: 61 3 9682 6022 meccarestaurant@bigpond.com

          There are another 20 listed in the food guides, most of them very inexpensive. These 2 are supposedly the best.

          VIETNAMESE:

          PACIFIC SEAFOOD BBQ HOUSE, 8/240 VICTORIA ST RICHMOND
          No need to book.

          There are another 50 restaurants in this street alone but this is the best.

          You must also take the lunch menu at what I believe is the best Italian restaurant in Australia.

          CAFE DI STASIO 31 FITZROY ST ST KILDA
          FAX 61 3 9525 3815
          A$20 for an always exceptional meal of pasta, main and a glass of wine. And this is not your usual Italian!

          Anything else?
          Bryan

          1. re: Bryan Burrell
            s
            susanj Jan 12, 2003 10:27 PM

            Hi Bryan,
            thanks for all these suggestions. This is probably sufficient since we're only in each place for a few days. Just received my confirmation for Tetsuya's so I'm very excited, now I'll try to book everything else around that one.
            susan

            1. re: Bryan Burrell
              o
              Ozbyte Jan 12, 2007 01:59 AM

              Don't forget Lygon Street in Carlton!

              1. re: Bryan Burrell
                purple goddess Apr 10, 2007 04:39 PM

                Almazett (http://www.almazett.com.au) for Lebanese

                Zho Zhung for pho in Victoria Street,

                Fu Long for Yum Cha 942 Whitehorse Rd Box Hill 3128 VIC Phone: (03) 9890 7388 *( a bit of a drive out of town, but totally worth it.)

          2. m
            mikeb Jan 10, 2003 11:18 AM

            Although I haven't been to it since it moved from Manly, the Redgum Restaurant is a good showcase for Australian cuisine mixed with traditional Aboriginal ingredients. It is now in Mosman, which may be a bit out of the way when you are in town for such a short time, but it is something different.

            Redgum Restaurant
            624 Military Road,
            MOSMAN NSW 2088
            Phone 9969 8544 or Fax 9969 7544

            The link to their webpage is below

            If you have the time consider taking the public ferry to Manly (or Mosman if you're going to Redgum)--it's the best way to see Sydney Harbour.

            Link: http://www.redgumrestaurant.com.au

            1. b
              Bruce Jan 11, 2003 09:44 AM

              I ate at Rockpool in Sydney a couple of years ago and had a great dinner with terrific Australian wines. The service was excellent and the value was good (price was high, but I would have expected much higher). I know that it's a must to book ahead, but I found that if you're willing to eat unfashionably early (for me food takes priority over style), you may get seated immediately without a reservation (of course, your experience may vary). :)

              1. j
                Jennifer E Curry Jan 16, 2003 05:41 PM

                Hi SusanJ,

                I'm a San Fran transplant in Australia for the past 2.5 years and the food here is some of the best and freshest.

                Long Grain is definitely worth a visit. It's 1st-come-1st-serve seating, which means getting one of the yummy "stick" drinks for a 30-minute lounge before dinner makes it worth waiting. Their Mojito is good, or the strawberry caprioska, or anything with lychee's. In fact, I insist you have to try a lychee-tini at some point in your stay. I recommend the backbar at Salt restaurant on Darlinghurst, called FIX, or for drinks with a 360-degree view of Sydney, Level 47 - Orbit Bar at The Summit restaurant at the Australia Square Bldg downtown (haven't eaten there as I am superstitious of revolving restaurants).

                For Melbourne, another cozy spot is BECCO;s, or VERVE, or the PUNCH LANE Wine Bar. All are in downtown Melbourne. If you have a chance, take a 10-15 minute taxi ride to St.Kilda and eat at the Bathhouse with a view of the bay at sunset - special, and there are plenty of local bars and pubs to divert to after dinner for a chat.

                Cheers,

                Jennifer

                1. m
                  Michael Jan 21, 2003 09:02 AM

                  Since your time is limited, you need to think about something besides dinner and lunch. That means you need to go for breakfast at bill's (I think it's not capitalized). This is the best breakfast in the Sydney area. The suburb is Darlinghurst (433 Liverpool St. 02-9369-9631). Don't let the fact that it's in a 'suburb' discourage you. You can walk there and back if you are in central Sydney for a nice morning pre- or post-breakfast stroll. Your walk may take you through Hyde Park depending on where you are staying. The only drawback -- it will cost you a bit more than an usual breakfast. Still, well worth a trip.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Michael
                    r
                    Rachel M. Jan 21, 2003 06:07 PM

                    I'll second the recommendation for bill's--I went there last April when I was in Sydney and really enjoyed it. Although I'm not usually a pancake eater, I tried their honey-butter topped ricotta hotcakes, which were really light and fluffy (ended up scraping off some of the honey butter, though). There are other things on the menu that are more savory, if sweet breakfast is not your thing. There's one communal table in the middle in addition to several smaller tables around the edges. You may have to wait a little bit, but I think it's worth it.

                  2. m
                    Michael Aug 6, 2003 08:57 PM

                    I will be Down under soon. How were your meals? It seemed like Bryan really tied to help.

                    Thanks Michael

                    1. c
                      Chiwi Jan 7, 2007 03:38 AM

                      Wow, wow, wow! This is such a great site that I've just stumbled upon. Sooooo good to read about people who love food first before decor etc. I'm also going to be in Sydney & Melbourne and while I'd love to try out many of the places like Tet's, my bank account doesn't allow me to do all of them. So would someone please recommend some cheap and good places to eat seafood especially around the city? Don't mind venturing out a little though. Thank you in advance!

                      1. p
                        pinktori71 Jan 10, 2007 05:54 AM

                        Longrain is also in Melbourne. It is modern Thai, I guess you'd define it, but SENSATIONAL. I loved it, it was expensive but totally worth it. Probably easier to get into than Sydney one.
                        Melbourne's big occasion restuarant is Vue De Monde, could almost cost as much as Tetsuya's but sooooo worth it. You will not forget the experience. U need to book very early for this too.
                        There is a nice little tappas place in the city called Movida...yummy and not $$$.
                        can't write anymore I am getting too hungry.
                        Enjoy !

                        1. PhilD Jan 13, 2007 04:56 PM

                          I think Salt has closed - not certain where Luke is cooking now apart from Lulu. Tetsuya is in Kent Street - the old one was in Rozell. But I noticed the recent comments are not great and I was disapointed when I last ate there in Sept '05.

                          Longrain (Commonwealth Street) is good, it is funky and clubby but the food is great. It has been open for quite a long time so it doesn't have all the hassle of being the "hot" place anymore (Melbourne's Longrain is quite new and I think very poppular so Sydney could be easier). I would second the recomendation for Sailor Thai a more formal, calmer restaurant. Both good, depends on your mood. But if you want great food in a simple (hawker style) setting try "Spice am I" on Wentworth Street.

                          I also second "Guaillaume at Bennelong" (in the Opera House) for great food, and a fantastic location and dining room.

                          "Rockpool' has changed it's approach, Neil has sort of relaunched probably after getting a lot of critism, they now a set menu with a few choices for each course (5 I think) - recent reviews are very positive.

                          The gastro hotspot seems to be "Becasse" (204 Clarence Steet), very well reviewed, I ate at their original restaurant a few years ago and it was very good.

                          Others to think about are "Est" and "Claudes". Est is in a bar complex call "The Establishment" and is a "big night out" place with a lovely room and food. Claudes is small and intimate but with fantastic cooking.

                          Bill's for breakfast is really good - avoid weekends if you can - when you get there find the waiter with the list of names and put yours down. They are pretty good at seating people in order, but they need to know you are waiting and how large your party is.

                          Last - Sydney is great for food but don't forget to take to opportunity to take in the ambiance. Go to restaurants with views - Icebergs at Bondi, or Aqua Dining for example. Also go to restaurants you can sit outside and breat fresh air without the humidity (I was in HK for a few years).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: PhilD
                            v
                            victoria73 Apr 9, 2007 01:18 AM

                            Quick note -- Luke is now cheffing at Glass (The Hilton on George Street)

                          2. PhilD Jan 13, 2007 05:03 PM

                            I just noticed that "Celsius" is also on one of the recomendations. This has also closed. the site is now "Bilsons" another very well rated restaurant. Peter Doyle who was behind the burners at Celsius is now at "Est".

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