No visit to Australia’s most glamorous city is complete without a few indulgent pit stops. Explore the laneways to discover Sydney’s growing small bar scene or book a table at one of the city’s well-positioned restaurants (think Opera House views) for a romantic tete-a-tete.
Cosy bars tucked away in hidden laneways might remind you of Melbourne but those in search of hidden nooks will be delighted that Sydney’s small bar scene has come of age. The back streets of NSW’s capital were once abandoned alleyways. These days, you’ll find a hidden cache of hip bars. It’s this bevy of bars along with a rich variety of fine restaurants that makes Sydney a magnet for couples on a gourmet mission.
One of the city’s newest hotspots is Bulletin Place, a dimly lit speakeasy-style bar that focuses on using fresh produce to create a list of delectable daily cocktails. Produce is brought in from the market each day and the creative cocktail list changes to suit available ingredients.
COUPLES WILL ENJOY
Clinking glasses of A Drink Called Wanda (made with tequila, Benedictine, passionfruit and lime) or an Eastside (a concoction of gin, lime, cucumber and mint).
Those who love blues and rock’n’roll should drop in for a drink or two at Mojo Record Bar, which began as a record store for classic and hard-to-find vinyl records. Tucked away behind the record store, there’s a den-like rock and roll themed bar. The music is foot-tapping and the bar has a good choice of NSW beers, American whiskeys and a great cocktail list.
A bar that’s sure to impress is Baxter Inn.
Located in the basement of a building at the back of an unmarked alleyway off Clarence Street, it’s difficult to find but it’s worth hunting down for its vibrant atmosphere and eye-catching whiskey wall with 150-plus choices of whiskey.
Tokyo meets Sydney at Sokyo, which is a sleek contemporary Japanese restaurant with plenty of sex appeal. Sokyo was awarded a Chef Hat by the Australian Good Food & Travel Guide for good reason. Californian Chef Chase Kojima (formerly from Nobu restaurant) dishes up beautifully presented modern Japanese cuisine that sounds and tastes sensational such as Maple Miso and Tuna Sashimi with Plum Wine Jelly.
Located on the ground floor of The Darling, one of the hotels Leonardo DiCaprio stayed at while working on The Great Gatsby, the restaurant’s low lighting and contemporary interior makes it a top spot for romantic dining.
For the perfect evening, the waiter will create a personalised menu for two with sake recommendations from the sommelier. As far as restaurants go, while in Sydney, there’s nothing more romantic than nibbling canapés while gazing at the harbour.
Altitude Restaurant has one of the best views in town. Clink champagne glasses from the 36th floor in the Shangri-La Hotel, while gazing down through floor-to-ceiling glass panels at the Opera House and twinkling harbour lights.
Altitude was awarded a Chef’s Hat by the Australian Good Food and Travel Guide in 2012. It has an impressive Modern Australian menu with a list of beautifully crafted dishes that play with textures and temperatures. For a special occasion, there’s the epi-curious menu of five dishes plus dessert with a different boutique wine to match each course.
Another romantic dining destination is The Wharf at Woolloomooloo, which is an atmospheric reconstruction of a historic wharf now housing the luxurious Blue Sydney hotel (a good choice for an intimate in-suite dinner for two) and a clutch of restaurants.
Start with a cocktail at the Water Bar then progress to one of the wharf ‘s five restaurants, which offer alfresco dining with views across the marina to the city skyline.
For Italian fine dining, choose Otto Ristorante and its menu of classic Italian dishes fused with fresh Australian produce. For more exotic nibbles, a table for two at Akis (which draws on influences from India) or China Doll (modern Asian) will satisfy the tastebuds.
A new and exciting culinary experiment by chef Hamish Ingham delivers innovative cuisine in the plush setting of the Four Seasons. The Woods has a warm interior crafted from different types of timber. There’s an open kitchen and an impressive wood-fired oven and grill.
Begin a romantic evening with a choice of five oyster varieties, from the salty Rusty Wire to the sweet and seductively named Moonlight Kisses. And end it with dessert in a room with one Australia’s sexiest views of the Sydney Opera House at night.