Maple bacon croissant, Butcher and the Farmer
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Bacon? Pastry? Cornflakes? The geniuses in the kitchen at Butcher and the Farmer have developed what is possibly the ultimate breakfast option, combining three of the best morning foods known to humankind in one statement dish. This is weekend fodder only: brekkie is only available on weekends from 8am at this restaurant founded on seasonality and sharing.
Beef phở, Mama’s Boui
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Cure whatever ails you with a steaming bowl of beef pho: thin slices of meat that melt in your mouth, Vietnamese style meatballs and silky tripe noodles all swishing in a flavoursome beef broth that’s made over nine hours, all garnished with a few tiny spring onions, onion slivers and coriander. And if beef isn’t your preferred soup, there are also chicken and vegie versions that are just as hearty.
Grazing plate, Bekya Middle Eastern Kitchen
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Why choose one dish when you can nibble on a few of the signature creations at once? Bekya’s grazing plate highlights key Middle Eastern flavours: hand-shaped Egyptian falafels made with fava beans and spiked with a cluster of herbs, salty haloumi, smoky grilled eggplant and cauliflower fried in sumac and za’atar. Still have room? The Egyptian koshari is a tantalising carb-fest of rice, lentils, macaroni, chickpeas and onion, finished with a tomato salsa.
Wings, Belles Hot Chicken
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This Melbourne chicken institution is slowly taking over Sydney; the Tramsheds outpost is one of three in the harbour city. The wings coated with a herb-dusted flour, fried in canola and cottonseed oil and served in one of five heat options, ranging from “Southern” to “Really F**kin Hot” should you want a serious kick. These crisp morsels are served with a choice of six sides and, if you’re extra hungry, come in a 16-wing pack.
Queensland prawns, Fish & Co.
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Prawns from Skull Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria can weigh up to 100 grams each and grow up to 26 centimetres long – literally almost as big as a regular ruler. At sustainable seafood café, Fish & Co, these giant beauties are butterflied, drenched in decadent garlic butter and sprinkled with a touch of tarragon.
Cremino al cioccolata, Flour Eggs Water
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It might look like a regular cappuccino but underneath the foam – which is actually a layer of fluffy meringue – is a full chocolate dessert with hidden delights such as crumbled amaretti biscuit and chocolate hazelnut fondant.
Wild boar ravioli with pumpkin and taleggio, Flour Eggs Water
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Spinach and ricotta might be considered a ravioli-filler staple but the meaty mixture that stuffs these enormous squares of fresh pasta will have you Googling if your nearby butcher sells boar. Soft squares of vibrant pumpkin and melted taleggio cheese add even more richness to the bowl.
Zucchini polpette with eggplant, fregola and green tahini dressing, Garçon
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Garçon might mostly be focused on the cups of specialty coffee carefully crafted on the sleek black machine to the caffeinated masses but the breakfast and evening nibbles are equally as enticing. Among the cheese and charcuterie boards you’ll find a few fresh specials, such as seasonal salads and these sweet zucchini-based meatballs striped with a fresh green dressing.
Gelato, Gelato Messina
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There would be few people in Sydney who are yet to partake in the delights Messina scoops up daily; if you’re one of those yet to sample the creamy gelato, you should know it’s virtually impossible to go wrong. From fresh, fruit-focused blends to chocolatey mixes with actual chunks of chocolate to the inventive weekly specials (past creations have included a white choc-hazelnut gelato with pieces of mud cake and candied hazelnuts titled “Ramsay Bolton”), you’ll soon be deciding whether ordering a half-kilo tub is enough to tide you over.
Kingfish sashimi, Osaka Trading Co.
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Monday nights might be all about the ramen but this Japanese-style den does lighter options just as beautifully. Exhibit A: the delicately sliced kingfish, served raw with a violently pink flake of pickled watermelon turnip and a few pools of wasabi-dashed soy sauce – and a flower bud for prettiness, of course. Pair with a nip of whisky from the extensive single-malt or blended and grain menus.
Ribs St. Louis Style, Redline Kitchen & Taphouse
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Aptly listed under the “substantials” section of the menu, this enormous side of pork is slathered in sticky barbecue sauce (be careful with that juice on a first date). Plated up with traditional southern sides, including succotash, hush puppies (deep-fried nubs of cornmeal) and some slick long green beans in a nod to health, you can tuck into a half or full rack.
Smoked lamb shoulder, Bodega 1904
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Why do a Sunday roast at home when it will be infinitely more delicious at Bodega 1904? The sides are seasonal (buttered beans and mint sauce or an array of salad vegies) but the lamb shoulder is the highlight of the spread: smoked, saucy and so tender it will fall apart at the touch of a tong.