• Funda is the immersive neon-lit Korean diner in the city that convinced a Michelin-credentialled Seoul chef to make the move to Sydney. It’s classic Korean dishes and European ingredients and techniques – think burrata with soy-marinated prawns, and pickled kombu and perilla cocktails – with a futuristic backdrop of lights.
• Now open: Smoking Gringos is the taqueria in Blacktown with Richard Borg, an ex-Momofuku Seiobo chef, on the pans. The go-to order – and constant sell-out – is the birria tacos. A serve delivers a trio of corn tortillas, which are first dipped in birria drippings, then fried, stuffed with smoked meat and cheese, and served with a consommé for dipping.
• First look: Lotus Group’s elevated Cantonese eatery Pearl has opened its doors, bringing a spread of dim sum, barbeque and seafood. Dine on mud crab xiao long bao, king-prawn toast, pancakes stuffed with double-roasted Peking duck and Tasmanian lobster in signature XO. Best seat in the house? One on the wraparound balcony with Harbour Bridge views.
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• Surry Hills sandwich shop Lucky Pickle has opened a second spot in Pyrmont, bringing the same simple four-part menu – two signature and two seasonal sandos. The chicken katsu beauty is still a winner, plus there’s an added togarashi-doused salty-spicy side. Word is, by the end of next month they’ll be baking the fluffy white rolls in-house.
• The former Golden Century digs have a new tenant: Royal Palace Seafood, a two-storey, 400-person Cantonese eatery. The new opening ushers in a new era for Chinatown. The fish tanks are full, the yum cha trolleys are rolling and late-night dining runs until 3am.
• First look: Southeast Asian-style street food spot Easy Tiger has roared into Bondi. The venue is from the group behind Promenade and Hinchcliff House, and brings an on-site brewery and dishes from a wok or woodfired oven.
• Goldstreet Dairy is the Marrickville fromagerie from former Poly chef Colin Wood. After picking up fresh Jersey milk from Camden Valley Farm each week, Wood transports it back to the inner west and turns it into cheese, which he sells at Carriageworks Farmers Market and Wildflower Brewery. Among the current four-strong offering is a Jersey cheese ripe for the grilling and a spreadable chevre-style curd.
• First look: Parisian restaurant and wine bar Caravin joins a leafy street in Potts Point, bringing twisted French classics and a knockout wine list. It’s the latest opening from the Bar Suze crew, who are whipping up plates like smoked beetroot tartare, caramelised scallops and fennel and crab crumpets.
• Tijuana’s is the Mexican-Peruvian restaurant sitting just off The Corso in Manly. Between the beach and the wharf, you’ll find ceviche, tacos, Margaritas and Pisco Sours in a buzzy whitewashed space with the air of a beachside hotel in Playa del Carmen.
• Lox in a Box has opened its first dine-in digs: The Corner Deli. Taking over the old Cornersmith spot in Marrickville, the bagel-slinging eatery boasts a wide-ranging menu that adds latkes, hot salt beef and a three-tiered high tea to the rotation.
• The waterside cafe at Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool, Oh Boy!, is here for the warmer months – with a fresh menu, poolside dining and a new bottomless brunch. The cafe overlooks Woolloomooloo Bay and is adjacent to the Royal Botanic Garden, the ideal placement for a red-hot, rosé-fuelled day out.
• Fabbrica Bread Shop has landed in Rozelle. The bakehouse is a spin-off from the team behind Ragazzi and Palazzo Salato, who are delivering masala croissants, metre-long focaccias, Basque cheesecakes and Tathra Place pork sausage rolls.
• North Sydney’s Poetica Bar & Grill is now open, with a glowing custom hearth and pretty spectacular oysters – and a standout dessert reminiscent of a summer’s day Splice. The restaurant, from the team behind Loulou and The Charles Grand Brasserie, is a siren call for the dining scene north of the bridge.
• The family behind now-closed inner-west cafe The Fold has returned with Kurumba, a Sri Lankan restaurant and wine bar in Surry Hills. Get a front-row seat at the hopper bar, share fragrant curries spotlighting native Australian ingredients, or go for wow-factor with the WA lobster kottu. It’s all good here.
• First look: The Boathouse Group has welcomed guests to an already-minted waterfront venue in Rushcutters Bay. The group has revamped the kitchen offering and interiors of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, home of the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. The menu is tasty and simple: bacon and egg rolls, seasonal pastas and woodfired flatbreads. And the aesthetic is the pared-back beachy vibes we know of all Boathouse venues.
• Further north, in Byron Bay, chef Minh Le is serving sustainable seafood and Asian-inspired dishes at Bonito. The restaurant is on the ground floor of Byron Bay’s new five-star stay Hotel Marvell, which also boasts a rooftop pool and bar.
Additional reporting by Lucy Brewer, Aimee Chanthadavong, Jasmine Crittenden, Callum McDermott, Pilar Mitchell, Angela Saurine.