One of Australia's premier wine regions just north of Sydney, the Hunter Valley is a great destination to go and see some of the first vineyards in Australia. Although the vineyards were planted in the 1830s, the Hunter Valley has only been renowned as a wine district since the 1970s, popular with visitors for weekends away.
Oh who doesn’t love a good ol’ burger that could make you weak at your knees? Here’s our take on some of Sydney’s best burgers.
There’s a reason why the queue never stops at Mary’s, and that’s because these five star American-style burgers are nothing short of succulent, juicy and flavourful. Order a Mary’s burger and make sure you add in extra double beef or bacon to get your meat fix. They also have some of the best mashed potato and gravy – a must-try indeed!
Bar Luca is renowned for its Blame Canada, a combination of maple-glazed bacon, wagyu, maple aioli, American cheese and poutine all in a milk bun. How yummy does that sound? With music pumping through the speakers and every table occupied almost every other day, this place has a great ambience and is the place to be with your friends on a weekend!
Neil Perry’s Burger Project is pretty extraordinary! There are 14 burgers to choose from and pretty much everything on their menu is delicious. We recommend the chilli cheese burger that’s jam-packed with flavour and topped with a generous serve of jalapeno peppers, crunchy pickles, tomatoes, onions and cheese. Finish off your meal with a Valrhona chocolate shake that’s rich and malty.
Kerby Craig, winner of six consecutive Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide is the man behind these wonderful Japanese-inspired burgers. Their best-selling chicken katsu burger is a harmonious blend of crispy hand crumbed chicken katsu, Yuzu kosho mayo, onion, shredded cabbage and tonkatsu sauce. Yum!
We love our quinoa, spinach, avos and acai bowls. However, as much as a healthy diet is the way to go, how can one resist the temptation of irresistible sweet treats especially when it’s from some of the best pastry chefs in Sydney? Here are our top picks of the best patisseries that you need to visit!
Black Star Pastry
Black Star Pastry has gained their reputation as Sydney’s iconic dessert spot. The renowned Strawberry Watermelon Cake is a masterpiece like no other; layers of rose-scented cream and almond dacquoise filled with fresh watermelons, with their tops covered in rose petals, strawberries, Iranian pistachios and jelly-like strawberry glaze. This is one of the greatest cakes that Sydney has offered the world which puts a smile on everyone’s face. If you’ve still got room in your tummy for more sweet treats, try the light and refreshing lemon meringue tart with basil!
From classic to contemporary, this humble, Parisian-inspired patisserie offers some of the best cakes in town. Head chef Jean Michel Raynaud was inducted into the prestigious Relais Desserts - an association that recognises the crème de la crème of French patissiers. Must-try items include the Passion de Pierre, chocolate mousse cake and the spectacular croquembouche!
Known for their long queues on Saturday mornings, but so worth the wait! Pioneering the artisan bakery movement in the suburbs, Bourke Street Bakery’s authenticity shines through all their offerings, from warm harissa sausage rolls to rustic sourdough bread, gourmet thyme studded bread and decadent cakes (we absolutely love the ginger brulée tarts and carrot cake!)
Watch Lorraine Godsmark, one of Sydney’s greatest patissiers, work her baking magic before your own eyes in this French style patisserie’s open pastry kitchen. Using only the finest ingredients and having worked as head pastry chef under leading Australian chef, Neil Perry, it’s no surprise why people keep coming back for more. Your visit is not made complete if you don’t try her signature Date Tart, cheesecake, mascarpone cake and brownies!
Surry Hills is an area of Sydney known for its multicultural atmosphere and diversity as ever since the 1940s, it has attracted a large number of migrants. There are many ethnic cuisine restaurants still around as well as trendy eateries. Now an area known for its style and café culture, there is a definite hipster vibe to this part of Sydney as it is off the beaten track of the CBD and was once the slums of Sydney, going through all of the hardships the great depression served. It holds a lot of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered by visitors including those listed below.
Do you have an insatiable appetite for books? We present you our top picks of Sydney’s best bookstores.
Browse your way through different collections from classics to philosophy, languages and fantasy. Boasting one of the largest collections of titles in Sydney, you could easily spend an entire day in this spacious shop which sells most books in just about any genre you’re looking for. Check out their in-store art space, The Wedge Gallery, showcasing beautiful works of local and international rising artists.
Gertrude & Alice
This cosy bookshop has a combination of new and secondhand books from ceiling to floor. The perfect spot to lose yourself in the depths of a novel while having a cup of coffee along the communal tables. Named after Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, this bookshop deserves its spot as one of the best bookstores in Sydney with its lovely ambience, famous Chai Tea and eclectic range of books!
Better Read than Dead
A book lover’s heaven that houses all the latest fiction and has an amazing children’s section for mini readers. They have one of the best customer service with incredibly helpful and cheery staffs. Every month, the book club gathers to discuss a novel over wine and cheese. You can also get yourself a book and head over to the nearby Camperdown Memorial Park to read under a tree. How good do all of these sound?
Sink into one of Berkelouw’s comfy leather couches and choose from their sizeable collection of new and secondhand books including fiction, culture, history and art. Pick the soup of the day in their store’s café on the second floor and enjoy a good read while looking out into the bustling Oxford Street.
Tantalise your taste buds and get your doughnut fix at some of the best doughnut shops in Sydney. From classic hot jam doughnuts to Greek doughnuts, cronuts (croissant-doughnuts) and glazed, gelato-filled doughnuts, this sweet treat is currently all the rage in Sydney! These are some of the best:
We can assure you, that Grumpy Donuts will make you anything but grumpy. Rather, these delicious hand-made doughnuts are a work of art – simple and flavourful with the perfect ratio of doughnut to icing. The Choc Oreo Peanut Butter and Maple Brown Sugar are nothing short of brilliant. You can find these in a handful of cafes including Single Origin and Bread & Butter, otherwise order online for an unforgettable experience.
Woah Nelly Donuts
Doughnut connoisseur Janell Smith and her husband serve up small batch, artisanal doughnuts to order. If you prefer having them alongside coffee, you can find them at these lucky cafes: Mecca in Ultimo, Pablo & Rusty’s in Lane Cove, The Baron in Castle Hill, The Tuckshop in Glenhaven, Sifters Espresso in Wollongong, Salvage Coffee in Artarmon, The General Eatery in Dulwich Hill and Gather Coffee House in Appin.
Available in both Melbourne and Sydney, there is no stopping when it comes to Shortstop doughnuts. Soft, chewy and fluffy goodness with all that glaze, toppings and fillings. Their sea salt and Australian honey cruller, classic cinnamon and cardamom are some of the top-selling items in their menu.
Brewtown’s renowned flaky cronuts are a must-try! An Aussie twist on the NYC Cronut, this is an indulgence of croissant pastry and doughnut mixture that will put a smile on your face. Try anything from the classic jam-filled, glazed and cinnamon ice cream to the more adventurous Cherry Ripe and chocolate custard doughnuts – they’re all delicious.
Milky Lane Bondi
This place is home to CoNuts – ice cream cones made of deep fried dough rolled in cinnamon and sugar. A genius reinvention of the traditional ice cream cone and doughnut, you can choose from an array of soft serve flavours and add in chocolate bars, pretzels and marshmallows!
Listen up Sydneysiders, cat cafés are on the rise! It’s the purrrr-fect combination of fun, food and fur, and the premise is simple – pay an hourly rate to play, feed and take pictures with kitties. Popularised in Taiwan, Cat Flower Garden was the world’s first cat café which caught the attention of the media. Since then, this quirky concept has inched its way all across the globe and is now taken to new heights!
Get ready for the ideal escape from the daily grind and check out two of Sydney’s renowned cat cafes:
Run by vet and cat behaviour specialist Dr Kim Kendall, Chatswood Cat Palace is home to Sydney’s first cat café, Café Purrfection. Dr Kendall points to research showing that playing with animals is associated with strong therapeutic benefits and lower stress levels. These fluffy felines are well-trained and chosen for their people-friendly temperaments. Sessions can be up to one hour and each patron is allowed 20 minutes with each cat, meaning you get to meet a whole heap of other cats with different traits and antics!
A one hour ‘pat and purr’ session costs $20 per person and includes free coffee. Book in a cosy cuddle sesh with cats now!
Cats, coffee and cuddles – how can you ask for more? Catmosphere Café is Australia’s first space cat café which consists of a regular café area and two individual cat rooms. Try 45 minutes of Yoga with the Catstronauts followed by 15 minutes of kitty cuddle time. If you’re not so much into fitness, enjoy coffee and cookies with the Catstronauts for an experience like no other. You can sponsor a cat for a good cause as all funds go towards the care of their resident and foster rescue cats!
Check out this awesome paw-some café and choose a package that you like best!