Chippendale’s new local, Sneaky Possum, is good at taking advantage of what’s in its backyard. Local artists paint murals on walls and beer is on tap from nearby Wayward Brewery.
“We foraged the paperbark I used to smoke the duck,” says chef Briony Bradford, as she folds thin slices of bright pumpkin on the plate next to tender duck breast.
It’s hard to say exactly what Sneaky Possum is. It’s a bar, it’s a cafe, it’s a restaurant, it’s a function venue. “I chose Chippendale because it’s an up-and-coming neighbourhood, you get a great mix of people coming through, and we wanted to create a community around us,” says owner Phil Anderson.
Although trying to be so many things can be tricky, Sneaky Possum does them all well. It’s a testament to Anderson’s long history in Sydney’s hospitality scene, and Bradford’s impressive experience that includes two-Michelin-star Hibiscus in London and the Bridge Room in Sydney.
Bradford’s cooking techniques draw out the purity of each ingredient. The New Zealand snapper ceviche is a standout. The pale pink fish is sliced thinly and accompanied by shaved cucumber, radish and micro herbs. Globes of finger lime juice pop like roe and produce a fragrant, acidic finish.
Bradford has a “waste not” food philosophy with meat and vegetables. The scallops and pork belly are accompanied by both the cauliflower stalks and florets. They’re respectively fried and pickled, creating a surprising breadth of flavour from the vegetable.
If you approach Sneaky Possum from the Broadway end of Abercrombie Street, you’ll be treated to a dramatic sight: a two-storey mural of Indigenous Health Service founder Naomi Mayers by street artist Fintan Magee.
The bar area is bright, with neon signs and a mural of Australian flora by artist Jimmy Bligs. A long bar is the dominant piece in the front space. It’s made from timber reclaimed from a demolished Marrickville terrace. Taps pour a crisp rosé and Sneaky Possum’s own brew, a hoppy pale ale.
The next room in this labyrinthine terrace has a row of pinball machines, and the last room is a formal dining room with custom-made tables and booths that can be pushed together for big groups.
Upstairs is a series of rooms for functions: parties, art exhibitions, “and maybe even playing Twister,” says Anderson.
86 Abercrombie Street, Chippendale
Mon to Tue 6.30am–3pm
Wed to Sat 6.30am–12am