• First look: The Trocadero is the fresh Enmore Road bandroom and bar from the team behind Jacoby’s, Earl’s Juke Joint and The Cliff Dive. Nostalgic for Sydney nights when live music, daggy drinks – Midori Illusions and Negroni slushies, to be specific – and dancing till 3am was a religion, it’s a hot newcomer. And there’s a micro-pub landing out the front soon.
• First look: The fan-favourite Penny Fours is up and running again after a fire in its Balmain bakery. Owner Penelope Ransley is raring to go, with her bestselling almond-and-raspberry croissants joined by sticky buns, berry-topped danishes, a goat’s cheese tart and more.
• Gumshara is the iconic ramen joint helmed by Mori Higashida. The renowned eatery closed its Chinatown digs in August but is back serving up steaming, slurpable bowls of Sydney’s “most hectic” tonkotsu on nearby Kimber Lane. The intensely savoury pork soup is as thick as gravy, coating your mouth in umami. You’ll be smacking your lips long after you’ve exited the paifang gates.
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• First look: Ullo is Dee Why’s new Italian joint with ocean views and plenty of pizza. There’s a neon-lit fit-out, late-night DJs, a wide-reaching wine list and an ex-Rockpool chef in the kitchen.
• First look: Record-spinning wine bar Busby’s has arrived on Oxford Street, bringing a tight five-part cocktail list from Maybe Sammy with it. Clayton Wells is on food, and he’s plating up gems like tiger-prawn rolls; creste di gallo – a rooster’s crest-shaped pasta – with silky vodka sauce; and potato pavé topped with cream cheese and trout roe.
• Late-night Greek institution Steki Taverna has reopened in new digs on Enmore Road. We missed it and its generous servings of tarama, moussaka and ouzo for just over a year, but it’s back now – with the same menu, same waitstaff and a dance floor that heroes the live house band.
• First look: At new Korean eatery Kwang Jang Pocha, small plates will transport you to the buzzy streets of Seoul’s famed Gwangjang Market. A family team is dishing up braised beef short ribs, mung bean pancakes, japchae and more – plus, there’s a party-starting soju tower.
• You’ll snack happily at Deux Freres, the Basque pinxtos bar down near the harbour in Circular Quay. The compact laneway bar is pouring crisp txakoli and sangria alongside a snappy line-up of salty morsels. Flash-fried artichokes and Basque cheeses, jamon iberico and tuna-stuffed piquillos peppers – it’s all good. Plus, olive oil-soaked gildas that really shine.
• First look: Bobbys is Cronulla’s new med-leaning diner that is, quite literally, just off the sand. You can pop in for a quick snack in a breezy dining room, or settle in for a leisurely share-style meal – with a menu captained by an ex-Totti’s executive chef.
• First look: the hot-pink-frosted Marrickville Road shop is the newly opened HQ for Donut Papi, which recently moved from its long-held Redfern spot. It’s got all the same numbers – the Homer Simpson-inspired Strawberry Milkshake, Maple Cream Bar and Caramel Apple Fritter – plus icy drinks to match. The family team’s Filipino heritage often gets a nod, too: think purple yam beauties and the Ondeh Ondeh (pandan and coconut).
• First look: Future Brewing is a sleek new beer hall in St Peters. Run by a couple and their enormous Great Dane, Deon, it’s pouring hoppy small-batch brews that change regularly. When Broadsheet visited, there were two West Coast ales on tap – a pale and an IPA – as well as a pilsner, a hazy pale and a hazy IPA.
• It’s caviar cornettos and tomahawks dry-aged in-house at Hurstville’s flashy new Humphrey’s Hotel. Broadsheet took a first look at the 320-seat space, where 6Head’s ex-head chef helms a kitchen that’s whipping up pub classics and elevated plates across the bistro as well as Hatch, a special little restaurant tucked into one corner.
• Now open: Black Star Pastry has brought its famous watermelon cake – and an oozy “Kimcheese” toastie – to Chatswood. The futuristic kiosk is inside the Westfield, and it’s only the second store to offer the bakery’s full range of treats. (But there are some menu newcomers, too.)
• First look: A former Baba’s Place chef opens the doors to Derrel’s, a casual Indian diner on Parramatta Road that celebrates his Anglo-Indian heritage. The decor is kitschy and there are outstanding curries, tandoori chicken platters and smashed samosas until 2am. Plus, it’s BYO.
• Find tableside theatrics and Parisian charm at Parlour, the neo-French restaurant on the ground floor of the CBD’s QT Hotel. Head in for escargot, a truly spectacular leek tarte tatin and steak frites – but save room for the crepe suzette flambé, which will burst into flames right beside your seat.
• While Love, Tilly Devine isn’t new, it’s had a fun revamp across its interiors and menu. There’s a new streamlined wine list, a candlelit balcony spot reserved for walk-ins, and a hotdog that’s destined for greatness. It’s all about snacks – salt-and-vinegar potato cakes, sardine sandwiches and terrines – but ordering food is no longer mandatory when you make a booking.
Additional reporting by Callum McDermott, Pilar Mitchell, Jasmine Crittenden, Dan Cunningham and Daniel Phu.