There’s nothing like looking forward to future dining expeditions to propel you through the (sometimes uninspired) fare of the everyday. A zapped container of last night’s leftovers or a tin of chilli tuna atop a few rice cakes – both excellent, time to time – are more satisfying when you know the meals on the horizon are set to be goodies.
Here are four soon-to-arrive venues that are ripe with potential – whether you’re hoping for a slice of pizza by the ocean, a levelled-up pub offering, a standout snack joined by spinning vinyl or a transportive plate of ceviche. All four deserve to make it to your November to-dine list, stat.
This week, the fashionable locale is welcoming a moodily lit drinking den. On the ground floor of Oxford House, Busby's will be focusing on vinyl and natural wine. A collaboration between some of Sydney’s finest hospitality minds – Clayton Wells, Ed Loveday and the Maybe Sammy team, plus Mike Bennie on wine curation – the record bar will be straight to the point, no fluff.
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Wines from Australia, France and Italy join a five-piece cocktail menu of quick-to-make drinks starring grape-forward liquor. The food will be snacky but interesting. Order the gingery, grappa-based Megatone to sip alongside slurps of Sydney rock oysters topped with roasted kelp oil and blackberry vinegar. Or try yellowfin tuna dressed up with grilled watermelon and kefir cream. Across Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, there will be vinyl selections from Jonti (Stones Throw Records), the Santamaria Brothers and more. Busby’s will open on Thursday November 2.
The Federal, Annandale
Lending credence to the rumour that the crew at Public Hospitality don’t sleep, Annandale’s Empire Hotel is getting a swish revamp courtesy of the team – with a pair of adored neighbourhood Italian joints each getting a dedicated dining room. The historic pub on the corner of Parramatta Road is changing its name to The Federal, and welcoming Fabbrica Pasta Bar and Maybe Frank.
There will be cacio e pepe and cotoletta alla Milanese from Fabbrica, and antipasti and woodfired pizzas from the Maybe Frank team (plus what are sure to be spectacular cocktails from Maybe Sammy’s Paolo Maffietti at both). Across the two spaces, there’s room for 146 with a gaming room between. By early 2024, 21 boutique rooms will join the offering too. The Federal will open in November.
Over the last decade, Alejandro Saravia has been a major force in the Melbourne dining scene, most recently with CBD venues Farmer’s Daughters and Victoria. Come November, Sydneysiders will have their own patch of his cooking via Morena, a grand 220-seat diner taking over Martin Place’s GPO Building.
The menu – which has a dedicated ceviche list – will include dishes from across Latin America, with Cuban, Mexican, Venezuelan, Argentinian and Brazilian influences all playing a part. Peruvian dishes, though, will star (“I can be a little biased,” Saravia jokes) in a dining experience that the chef wants to be somewhat educational, rather than a Latin American-Australian hybrid. Morena will open in November.
Ullo Pizza & Wine, Dee Why
The northern beaches will soon be home to Ullo, a pizza-slinging eatery just back from the sand in Dee Why. Ex-Rockpool chef Josefa Rakuro is heading up the kitchen, while Enrico Sgarbossa (an award-winning pizzaiolo) is in charge of the pies.
It’s the third venue from Oi Hospitality, owned by mixologist Kurtis Bosley, the group responsible for Manly’s alleyway bistro-meets-bar Banco and Dee Why bar Corretto. Italo disco is the brief, so expect DJs from Friday to Sunday. Ullo Pizza & Wine will open on Friday November 10.