The streets of Haymarket, which were once home to Sydney’s main commercial produce markets, are now brimming with new developments.
A big part of that is Darling Square, the NSW Government and Lendlease’s $3.4 billion plan to revitalise Darling Harbour, which sits between Haymarket, the new Convention Centre and Paddy’s Markets.
When finished in 2019, the 20-hectare site will feature laneways and interconnected streets; a 2700-square-metre urban square; bars; cafes; apartments; offices; student accommodation; and the six-storey circular Darling Exchange housing a City of Sydney futuristic library. Steam Mill Lane, which is moving in this April, will include a handful of new dining and drinking options.
Similar to Central Park’s Kensington Street development, Darling Square is an “urban village” of sorts redirecting pedestrians to desirable retail offerings, which in turn will increase the value of its commercial and residential properties. Steam Mill Lane is not unlike Spice Alley, though it won’t be tied to any theme or one type of cuisine.
Coming to Steam Mill Lane is ramen-and-curry specialist BangBang izakaya (not to be confused with Bang Street Food or Bang Bang Cafe – they’re unrelated). Inspired by the hole-in-the-wall eateries in "Tokyo’s Shinjuku district", it will place Japanese whisky and craft beer front and centre. Ex-Nobu chef Kokubo Yuji will be in charge of the kitchen and there will be a Kabukicho-style neon karaoke room.
Gyradiko Bexley (Gyradiko Bexley and Gyradiko Northmead) will open its third store, bringing its pork gyros with it.
“We’re really excited to share Steam Mill Lane with Belle’s Hot Chicken,” says owner Alexandra Giannakaros.
The gyros restaurant will feature neutral colours, timber, cement and terracotta accents. “We want to step away from the typical blue-and-white stereotype of Greece, to represent what Greece is today,” she says.
When asked what she thinks the vibe of the lane will be, Giannakaros says: “It’ll be like a neighbourhood in the middle of the city.”
Surry Hills’ Sandwich Shop is also moving in, bringing with it its New York Reuben. There’s also Japanese cafe Matcha-ya (which specialises in matcha; and Ricefields (from the team behind Two Sticks, Bun Galley and Kobe Wagyu Yakinku), which will serve Sichuan-style rice dishes.
“Darling Square is located next door to vibrant, late-night Chinatown and will become a buzzing new part of the city,” says project director Neil Arckless. “Taking its cues from Sydney’s much-loved urban-village vibe, it will offer a distinctly different approach to city retail. Like the villages of CBD fringe suburbs, it’s a neighbourhood that will evolve with its local audience.”
When finished the precinct will house 2500 Commonwealth Bank workers, more than 3000 residents and 1300 or so uni students.
BangBang Isakaya, Gyradiko Bexley, The Sandwich Shop, 8Bit, Belle’s Hot Chicken, Marrickville Pork Roll, Matcha-ya, and Ricefields will open on Steam Mill Lane in April this year.