Easter Weekend has to be the best long weekend of the year. I’ve decided to take advantage of it and spend it in Sydney and work on my food blog ( I know it’s been a while!). I’ve been going through a difficult time of late so what perfect way to relax my mind and clear my head than to soak in the sun and discover food in one of my favourite cities.
I’m actually really surprised at how much is open this weekend. I thought I was going to be limited with food and shopping but it’s almost is like a normal weekend here. I’m staying at Metro Sydney Central, right near Darling Harbour and Chinatown. Highly recommended for anyone visiting. So many Japanese restaurants around me too- so exciting!
Stop 1. Bourke St. Bakery, Surry Hills
It wasn’t hard to decide where my first foodie stop would be in Sydney and the 25 minute walk out of the city certainly wasn’t going to deter me. Bourke St. Bakery is a busy little bakery and cafe located on the corner of a suburban street in Surry Hills. I was lucky enough to squeeze myself into a corner table before the morning rush.
The cafe itself is cosy, only three small tables inside which explains the long queue out the door, but plenty of seating outside for those wanting ‘dine in’. Just make sure you’re in early because once the rush begins, it doesn’t seem to end!
Travelling solo I wasn’t able to sample as much as I would have liked so I picked two things from the window that stood out. My lemon tart was delicious, I loved the creaminess and strong lemon flavour. This with a mouthful of the beautiful crisp base was just the perfect combination of texture and flavour, loved it.
My raspberry and dark chocolate muffin was another win. The outside was coated with sugar which reminded me a little of a jam donut and the inside was light and fluffy, so delicious.
Although the star of Bourke St. Bakery is their baked goods I have to comment on the quality of their coffee which I was very impressed with. So creamy, I enjoyed every sip!
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Monday – Friday: 7am – 6pm
Saturday – Sunday: 8am – 5pm
$ | Haymarket | Japanese | Sushi/Sashimi | Take-Away
Stop 2. Kura Kura, Haymarket
“Let the Japanese indulgence begin!”- my thoughts exactly as I entered Kura Kura, a short walk from Sydney’s Chinatown.
Made fresh to order I did have to wait quite a while for my sushi combination, however the friendly staff thanked me for my patience and gave me a complimentary miso soup which I thought was lovely, especially considering how busy they were at the time.
I ended up dining in a few days later and ordering the chicken karaage meal set which was great value for $13.9 including a curry udon soup and side salad.
The karaage at Kura Kura is everything you search for in a fried chicken- perfectly crisp on the outside and flavoursome and juicy on the inside. As full as I was getting, I made sure I ate every last piece! Unfortunately I can’t give the same sort of praise for the curry udon as the paste hadn’t been mixed in properly so it was very chunky instead of being smooth.
Overall I loved the flavours and friendly customer service, I certainly would not hesitate to come back here on my next visit to have the chicken karaage again!
Ambience: 2.5/5 (squashy)
Value for Money: 4/5
3/36 Ultimo Road, Haymarket NSW
Ph: (02) 9212 5661
Monday – Sunday: 10:30am – 11pm
$$ | Haymarket | Japanese | Ramen | Bento | Sashimi | Ramen Burger
Stop 3. On Ramen, Haymarket
This gorgeous little Japanese restaurant caught my eye because of how cosy it looked inside with its fairy lights and red decor so I made a mental note to return for dinner. In fact I ended up coming back twice because I loved it so much!
It’s definitely not the cheapest place around with most of their ramens and bentos coming in at around $20 but from what I could see the portion sizes were very generous and the customer service was very friendly. One of the waitresses had even remembered me from my first visit which I thought was nice.
I thought I would give their infamous ramen burger a miss this time around and order a chicken teriyaki don. Lucky it was tasty and juicy because I only realised half way through my meal that I had ordered meat on Good Friday!! If it had been terrible I would have felt even worse than I already was feeling!
I washed it down with On Ramen’s homemade iced green tea which was delicious and refreshing.
On my second visit to On Ramen, I opted for their chicken katsu after reading a raving review about it online. In the back of my mind I was thinking I really should give the ramen burger a go but after the amount of food I had been eating there was no way I could fit it in! It will have to wait for my next visit.
The chicken itself was amazing- so soft and tender it just fell away in your mouth. As for the dish as a whole, it was quite bland and definitely needed a katsu sauce or similar. I probably should have went with the curry version which was also on the menu.
Nonetheless the cosiness of the restaurant, friendliness of the staff and the delicious food will keep me coming back again and again whenever I’m in town.
Value for Money: 4/5
4/181-187 Hay St, Haymarket NSW
Ph: (02) 9211 6663
Monday- Sunday: 10:30am to 11pm
$| Chinatown | Chinese | Bakery | Cream Puffs
Stop 4. Emperor’s Cream Puff, Chinatown
On my second day in Sydney I was wandering through Chinatown when I noticed a huge line outside a Chinese bakery. Not one to miss out on the latest craze, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to line up too to see what the fuss was about.
After about 20 minutes of standing in queue I was considering leaving but couldn’t due to FOMO (fear of missing out) and the low price (4 for $1.00). I ended up chatting to a French tourist Olivier and American tourist Tasha who had also just met each other and were also lining up wanting to know what was so good about this little Chinese treats.
FINALLY we reached the front of the line. The verdict? Well, they were definitely creamy but I was very disappointed. They were a bit ‘eggy’ for my liking but Olivier enjoyed them immensely. Would I line up for them again?
Definitely not. But hey, not all was lost, I ended up making two new friends who I was able to spend my next eating adventure with!
Value for Money: 5/5
Emperor’s Cream Puff
Chinatown, Dixon St Haymarket NSW
$$ | Haymarket | Japanese | Sushi Train |
Stop 5. Umi Kaiten-Zushi, Haymarket
After much talking and walking around Darling Harbour and parts of the CBD, my new friends and I stumbled across Umi Kaiten-Zushi, a sushi train on Hay St in Haymarket. We weren’t hungry but a little peckish so this was the perfect way to end our evening together.
With the chefs slicing fresh Tasmanian salmon in front of me, I had no doubts that my sashimi would be impeccable. And it was, I enjoyed every minute of it.
Seeing as this whole night had been very random, I thought I would extend the spontaneity and give some hot sake a go- something I had been meaning on trying for quite a while.
I actually really enjoyed it, it was incredibly smooth and the warmth was really pleasant, however one shot nearly knocked me out so I ended up giving the rest of my bottle to the couple next to me (good deed for the day!).
That’s Olivier with his sticky rice pudding, and a little bit of Tasha’s head in the background.
And Tasha and I being silly at Darling Harbour
It’s amazing how much fun you can have with strangers. It was our curiosity in food that brought Tasha, Olivier and I together and it was our shared love for travel that brought our stories to life and we ended up hanging out for hours and having a great time.
Definitely a day I’ll never forget.
Value for Money: 3.5/5
477 Pitt St, Haymarket NSW
Ph: (02) 9281 2006
Monday- Sunday: 11:30am- 2:30pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm
$ | Haymarket | Japanese | Steakhouse | Outdoor Dining
Stop 6. Pepper Lunch, Haymarket
I’ve been really lucky with the weather this weekend, it’s been sunny and warm I’ve been spending most of it outdoors which has been really refreshing. So I thought I’d spend my afternoon eating outdoors in the sunshine and reading a book.
Pepper Lunch caught my eye because I remember seeing it in Elizabeth St in Melbourne one time and wanted to come back and try it so this was a perfect opportunity to give it a go.
I probably should have ordered a sizzling steak dish as it seems to be their signature range but I was only after a light lunch and didn’t want to feel bloated so I chose a beef steak pepper bowl instead. For the size of the bowl the portion within it was a little underwhelming, however for $8.95 it was more than sufficient for me.
The saltiness of the seaweed was a good way to balance the sweetness of the corn and the sauce and I enjoyed the crunch of the corn with the softness of the rice. However, the beef itself was slightly chewy which made me question the quality of the meat. Otherwise the flavours were delicious and I enjoyed my meal!
Ambience: 3.8/5 (outdoor)
Service: 3/5 (slow)
Value for Money: 3.5/5
86/78 Harbour St, Haymarket NSW
Ph: (02) 9211 8801
Monday- Sunday: 10:30am – 10:30pm
$$ | CBD | Bakery | Coffee | Gluten-free friendly
Stop 8(Last Stop): The Dough Collective
What I love most about roaming around in unfamiliar areas is stumbling across unexpected places like The Dough Collective in George St. I was first drawn by the crown inside this little bakery so I just had to go in and see what it was all about.
It’s the same idea as Bread Top where you grab a tray and tongs and make your selections except there is something unique about this bakery. I can’t quite pin it but I think it’s mainly due to the high quality of the bread, I even sampled a plain rye and couldn’t believe how soft and fresh it was.
The best part about The Dough Collective is the variety of flavour combinations available. It’s hard not to buy everything in sight as it all just looks amazing!
Cheese triangles, sugar rolls, sweet potato breads, baquettes (the list goes on), there’s something for everyone here. And you can see the chefs in action through the window at the back of the store twisting and kneading dough into all sorts of shapes and sizes.
So the big question remains- what on earth to take back to my hotel with me?!
Well considering it was Easter Sunday and I didn’t have any family or friends to spend it with, I thought I could have my own little easter party in my tummy by choosing a chocolate hot cross bun. And a choc chip scone, just because.
What a perfect way to end my Sydney Easter food affair.
Value for Money: 4/5
The Dough Collective
Shop G5, 614 George St CBD, NSW
Ph: (02) 9283 48888
Monday – Sunday: 9am-5pm
I’ve really enjoyed my solo trip to Sydney. Coming from Melbourne, the ‘food capital’ of Australia I have to say I wasn’t sure how Sydney would compare but I’m very impressed! Can’t wait to come back and try more.