Pavlova at Bennelong
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Combining two Australian icons – pav and the Opera House – in a dreamy, creamy dessert is a stroke of genius. The dessert is made up of Italian meringue, meringue petals (or sails, if you will) and whipped double cream with a centre of deep pink rhubarb.
Ricotta Hotcakes with Honeycomb Butter at Bills
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There’s always a queue at Bills on weekend mornings, and it’s largely thanks to the gorgeously fluffy texture of these pancakes and that more-ish honeycomb butter.
Strawberry Watermelon Cake at Black Star Pastry
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We’re calling it: Black Star’s Strawberry Watermelon Cake is the most famous cake in Sydney. People travel from far and wide for a slice of this juicy, gluten-free confection of watermelon, almond dacquoise (like an almond-y meringue), rose-scented cream and strawberries, fetchingly topped with dried rose petals and bright-green pistachios.
Lamb, Harissa and Almond Sausage Rolls at Bourke Street Bakery
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The aroma of these delicious little parcels wafts out from Bourke Street Bakery’s doors, luring customers with notes of smoked paprika and lamb. The combination of harissa (a smoky capsicum-based sauce), lamb and almonds in perfectly flaky puff pastry is a winner – get in before lunchtime or you might miss out.
Saganaki Cheese with Honey and Oregano at The Apollo
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What’s not to like about melted cheese? The saganaki at The Apollo is served in the hot pan it’s cooked in, all the better to scoop up sweet juices with every salty bite.
Green Tea Soft-Serve at Cho Cho San
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You won’t find this at the window of a Mr Whippy van; this is high-end soft-serve. Cho Cho San’s fresh green squiggle served in a waffle cone is a perfectly light way to finish a Japanese meal.
239-day Dry Aged Rib of Beef at Firedoor
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This is extreme ageing: 239 days is almost eight months. That’s how long Firedoor’s rib of beef, which is cut to order using a band-saw, is aged. The process results in a deeply rich, flavoursome steak, and cooking it slowly over a wood fire imbues it with a smoky savouriness you’ll be dreaming about forever after.
Macaroni, Pigs Head, Egg Yolk at ACME
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They do things differently at ACME, throwing the rule-book out the window and combining pasta with unexpected Asian flavours. Here, elements of sisig, a Filipino dish comprising double-cooked pig’s head marinated in a sour vinegar sauce, are combined with an egg yolk and handmade macaroni for a texture and flavour sensation.
Lamington at Flour and Stone
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Vanilla sponge soaked in pannacotta with a berry compote centre is rolled in dark chocolate and coconut. You won’t find Flour and Stone’s lamingtons at a school cake stall.
Fried Chicken at Hartsyard
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Hot, crunchy, tender – Hartsyard’s fried chicken, brined and marinated in a buttermilk hot sauce then tossed in a seasoning flavoured with paprika, mustard powder, cayenne and thyme, is exactly as America intended.
Lamb Ribs at Hurricane's Grill
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Bring an appetite – and a bib – for a full rack of Hurricane’s Lamb Ribs. Basted in Hurricane’s special sweet sauce, they’re renowned as the best in the city.
Mary's Burger at Mary's
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Mary’s was arguably the harbinger of the burger-thrall in which Sydney has been held for some years. Since 2013, Sydneysiders have been lining up outside a century-old building for a seat in the dimly lit two-storey dining room and a Mary’s Burger: soft bun, grass-fed beef patty, lettuce, tomato, onion and Mary’s Sauce. Add Trashcan Bacon (smoked in-house) for Mary’s perfection.
Salted Caramel and White Chocolate Gelato at Messina
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This gelato studded with white chocolate chips is the biggest seller at Messina, and that’s saying something.
Scallop and Prawn Shu Mai at Mr Wong
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Dim sum is only available during the day at Mr Wong, and while fragrant barbecued meats make night times a delicious option, the dumplings are the real showstopper. Turn up at brunch and order the Scallop and Prawn Shu Mai. Bright orange crab roe is the cherry-on-top.
Seafood Platter at Watson's Bay Boutique Hotel
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It’s not just the fresh oysters, tender prawns and whole crab that make this seafood platter cult-worthy, it’s the beautiful ocean views and the chance to dash down to the water’s edge for a splash between bites.
Snow Egg at Quay
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Chef Peter Gilmore’s Snow Egg featured on season two of MasterChef, stumping contestants and enthralling viewers. It’s become the signature dessert of the restaurant – a beautiful, delicate egg in a nest of fruity granita. The egg itself is poached meringue coated in a toffee biscuit with an ice-cream centre.
Diavola Pizza at Via Napoli
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San Marzano tomato, fior di latter, hot salami, olives and basil top the crusty-chewy base of Via Napoli’s Diavola. Of course, you could choose any of the traditional Neopolitan-style pizzas that emerge from the restaurant’s wood-fired oven and emerge a winner.