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Sydney - Trip Report

Mari Dec 5, 2010 09:44 AM

First of all, thanks to those you who who provided feedback for my trip to Syndey and Melbourne. A quick report on Melbourne is in this post: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7403...

I think some of our food choices in Sydeny were a result of the heavy rains we encountered this past week since we often needed something quick and good that didn't require much planning to get to.

We stayed in The Rocks and I expected to find horrible food, which does exist in The Rocks, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of a few select restaurants.
On our first evening, Sunday, our concierge suggested Apettito on George St. but we didn't want to spend so much for a simple dinner. We went to Zia Pina/Zia Pinna for pizza which I knew would be a huge mistake but it was about half of what we would have spent at Apettito. Nevertheless, the restaurant was packed and the pizza was unremarkable. A lot of restaurants are closed on Sunday, from what I can tell.

On Monday morning, still in The Rocks, we headed to La Patisserie on Argyle. We shared a chicken provencal pie and a mince meat pie as well as a ham and cheese baguette. It was reasonably priced and the food was fine, although the chicken pie lacked flavor as it tasted like plain chicken.
We walked to Surry Hills and had a very late lunch at the Trinity Pub on Crown Street. I had the cottage pie which was delicious and my husband had a burger. They have a $10 sirloin steak meal deal on Mondays that looked quite good. After that we headed to the Bourke Street Bakery for a coffee and dessert. We shared the carrot cake, which was fine and nothing spectacular. However, the chocolate tart was similar to what I remember trying at La Maison du Chocolat in Paris several years ago, if not even better. The service at Bourke Street was very efficient and friendly. We got a chorizo and thyme roll and a slice of pizza for later. Both would have been better fresh and warm, but they made for a decent dinner in our hotel.

On Tuesday we head to Mamak for roti….and it was closed! They were doing maintenance and it was closed for the day. We walked to Malaysian Chinese for laksa. The laksa (one beef and one prawn with chicken) was good overall but it didn’t wow me like I had expected. It was my first time eating laksa.

Wednesday we went to the bar of the Rockpool Bar & Grill for dinner. What a spectacular restaurant. We were lucky to get 2 chairs at the bar. The cocktails were carefully made, and they should with the $20 price tag. We ordered the burger, a steak sandwich and the fries. Overall, the quality of the Wagyu meat burger and its bun were worth the price. However, I didn’t like the addition of a beet to the burger since it made it rather sweet for me. The steak sandwich was also good, probably one of the better steak sandwiches I have had, although they added a chili pepper relish that was overly sweet and I had to remove ¾ of it. The fries were fine, although pricey at $12. For dessert I gave in and ordered the passionfruit pavlova since I’d never had a pavlova. The slice was huge, the whipped cream and passion fruit made for a great combination.

The next morning we headed to the Sydney Fish Market for a 7am tour to check out the auction. I’d recommend this tour to anyone who is interested in seeing a live auction and seeing interesting Australian seafood at the second largest market after Tokyo. The $20 cost for the tour included a coffee drink of your choice. The guide was attentive and engaged. After the tour I had a decent scone at Gregory’s Bakery in the market. My husband had fish and chips, which he declared some of the best he’s eaten. I walked towards the fruit/vegetable stand and found a juice bar across the hall with the best yogurt I think I have had. Plain yogurt was topped with fresh passionfruit and mango. I was really impressed with the quality of yogurt in Australia and had bircher muesli practically every day. But the yogurt from the seafood market was the best I tried anywhere. As a side note, fair warning that your clothes will smell like fish for days after the tour and the fish smell was difficult to wash off (I had to soak our clothes in vinegar for a day once we got home).

Later that day we went to the Pony Lounge in The Rocks for lunch with my husband’s Australian colleagues. This is a nicely designed and modern restaurant. We ordered a few small plates – asparagus with ricotta salata, sirloin with a lime dressing, fresh calamari with white beans and the fried king prawns. My entree was the spinach and potato gnocchi with goat cheese, kalamata olives and toasted pinenuts. The gnocchi were rather large and perfectly done. For dessert we shared the macadamia tart which has to be one of the best desserts I’ve had this year anywhere. We also shared the passionfruit crème brule which was just fine.

After a week of eating too much, we wanted a light dinner on our final night. We wandered around The Rocks and walked into The Cut Bar & Grill on Argyle. We sat at the bar and found a special – 3 salads or sides for $24. It was the perfect amount of food for a light dinner for 2 and reasonably priced. The Jerusalem artichokes were so good that I could have ordered another dish. If anyone has a chance I highly recommend that you sit at the bar and just have this dish. They were served with goat cheese, hazelnuts and radicchio – probably one of the best dishes I’ve had this year. We also ordered the cauliflower and green beans with garlic chips. The olive oil they serve with the bread was also incredible and I regret not asking for the name. The bartender was attentive and friendly. I’d go back there again to try the prime rib since they have a trolly. The restaurant itself is very neat, well-designed and it looks like it’s for the business crowd.

Overall, a great and wet trip. Thanks for everyone's input!

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