Sydney’s most exciting 2022 openings.
Ante ups the ante for ‘the small bar that could’. Photo: Brook Mitchell
As dark as Japanese charcoal and as pure as Junmai sake, Ante ups the ante for “the little bar that could”. With the double whammy of owner Matt Young’s obsessions for sake and jazz on vinyl, and an attentive chef like Jemma Whiteman (Pinbone, Lankan Filling Station) in the open kitchen, there’s a distilled purity of expression here that takes it to a climax. makes. Robata-grilled arrosticini lamb skewers with roasted bamboo salt and shrimp casarecce paste with fermented chili and clementine are typical of the playful, textured dishes, each knife-balanced with umami and acidity.
146 King Street, Newtown, ante.bar
Pan tomate (left) and anchovy currants at Parlar. Photo: Christopher Pearce
Big sister Franca gets into her own skin like a lively, upscale restaurant and bar, but little Parlar, two doors down, is the surprise package. Owner Andrew Becher and chef Jose Saulog turned to Catalan tapas for inspiration, but don’t expect anything humble or even simple. The room has a heavenly 70s vibe, with its wide marble bar (and Sydney’s best bar stools) and swirling tapestries. Luxurious ingredients and almost fanatical technique elevate golden salt cod croquettes topped with caviar and a Daliesque hot seafood platter of lobster, key crab, scampi and toothfish.
81 Macleay Street, Potts Point, parlar.com.au
Owner-Chef Annita Potter at her Woolloomooloo restaurant. Photo: Edwina Pickles
Viand is a testament to a woman’s amazing skill and self-confidence. Former David Thompson chef Annita Potter has set up a contemporary Thai pavilion in the lower reaches of Crown Street, bypassing clichés and going straight into the intrinsic balance and harmony of Thai cuisine. A spicy lon duck egg and scampi acts as a delicacy for sticky pork, simmered for hours in palm sugar caramel, and is the highlight of the eight-course meal. A masterclass in doing things the Thai way, and one of a growing number of absurdly good female chefs.
41 Crown Street, Woolloomooloo, viand.club
Lamb neck schwarma at Aalia on Martin Place. Photo: Louise Kennerley
The newest baby of Ibby Moubadder and Jorge Farah’s ambitious Esca group (Nour, Lilymu, Henrietta), Aalia sits at the heart of 25 Martin Place, the brave new face of Sydney CBD dining. It is a dynamic space with round cubicles and high wooden columns, with tables leading out onto the terrace. Chef Paul Farag goes beyond the obvious, serving flatbreads with Caspian caviar, reinterpreting stuffed grape leaves as sea urchin perilla, and slow-roasted lamb neck as shawarma.
Shops 7 & 8, 25 Martin Place, Sydney, aliarestaurant.com
Cake of the day (before) with mussels and fries at Louou. Photo: Edwina Pickles
In keeping with the survival mode of 2022, Loulou has eggs in many baskets. Sebastien Lutaud (Merivale, Solotel) has built a combative business model that includes a bakery and deli, as well as a large, bustling bistro and bar. Stop by for pain au raisin and St Ali coffee, grab a roast chicken or sit down to the lighter, brighter bistro classics from talented chef Billy Hannigan. Loulou is smart, thoughtful, contemporary and agile – there’s even a pâté en croute du jour. A bistro for our time.
61 Lavender Street, Milsons Point, loulou.sydney
Chicken liver parfait and madeira at Oncore. Photo: Edwina Pickles
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Last year ended with the gastronomic equivalent of fireworks – the opening of Oncore by Clare Smyth at Crown Sydney, Barangaroo. With its stunning harbor views, luxurious leather-bound tables and service of almost military precision, this is the closest thing to a three-Michelin-star dining in a country without a Michelin Guide.
Then came Shell House Dining room & Terrace on Margaret Street, where Brett Robinson’s The Point Group orchestrated a multi-level cabaret of bars and restaurants that spiked the energy, music and good times we needed in the CBD.
The most recent high-end opening is HE by Federico and Karl, a bold move by Federico Zanellato and Karl Firla. Or rather, three bold moves, as you gradually dine from bar to dining room to counter. That may sound alarming, but the chefs are working hard to keep it flowing at this ambitious restaurant in the former Momofuku space of The Star Sydney.
Merivale’s MuMu is a journey through Southeast Asia. Photo: Wolter Peeters
- The open air Whale Bridge at Circular Quay is good news for those who like to eat outside all year round.
- Josh and Julie Niland’s Big New fish butcher’s shop in Waterloo is this century’s version of the old Sydney fish pub.
- Strange culture in Newtown is a dog-friendly space that combines beer, cocktails, and dining in just the right mix.
- The vibrant new . of the Merivale Group MuMu in George Street is a tour of Southeast Asia without having to board a plane.
- Fans of Bistro 916’s spin on French food love the same group’s small and tantalizing Italo-Australian Pellegrino 2000 in Surry Hills.
- Jane is pretty much the template for the ideal neighborhood restaurant with serious food.
- Parsley in the CBD, Somer Sovrioglu’s mainly vegetable cuts, inspired by the coast of Turkey, win hearts.
Standover Man and No-Groni from The Rover in Surry Hills. Photo: Edwina Pickles
Openings in the top bar
Just what the doctor ordered: a sanctuary for the dry martini in a swinging intergalactic bar from the team behind Cantina OK! and Tio’s. There is no kitchen but Saray next door supplies dips, salad and Turkish pide.
16 Enmore Road, Newtown, barplanet.com.au
Born from The Wild Rover, the new Rover is now a bit more mature, with seasonally adapted cocktails, an entire plate of honor dedicated to oysters and Chef Pip Pratt’s fishfingerrolls with curry mayo.
75 Campbell Street, Surry Hills, liquidandlarder.com.au
Veteran venue Piccolo Bar has been reborn as an aperitivo bar. Photo: Delivered
This little red-lit cafe bar opened in late 2021 with all 12 seats and an obsessive dedication to vermouth and aperitivi. A nostalgic little charmer.
6 Roslyn Street, Kings Cross, piccolobarkingscross.com.au
The bar of the InterContinental
A love affair with the hotel bars of yesteryear inspired Maurice Terzini’s residence at the InterContinental in Double Bay. It’s a romantic mix of live jazz and small tables, gold leaf olives, Ana Page cocktails and a supper club menu featuring coal-roasted maroon with pancakes.
The InterContinental, 33 Cross Street, Double Bay, doublebay.intercontinental.com
Lobby bar at Ace Hotel
The best hotel bars let you slide from coffee to cocktails without even thinking. Sink into the sunken lounge of the new Ace Hotel in Sydney and enjoy the art of Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran and Nadia Hernandez, and barbecue octopus and shishito peppers from Chef Heidi Flanagan. Plus, there’s a wine bar down the road from Mike Bennie of P&V.
47 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney, acehotel.com