When dining out, everyone has that one special seat or table they’re fond of. The one by the window; the little nook next to the kitchen; that spot in the afternoon sun. Broadsheet speaks to nine different leaders in the fashion industry about the tables they like to reserve in Sydney restaurants – and their favourite dishes.
Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales – Romance Was Born, designers
Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales, the duo behind Romance Was Born, will always book the Port Cave private dining room at Hubert. After hosting birthday celebrations there, as well as their resort 2019 show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, it holds fond memories for the Sydney designers.
Poised to show at Paris Couture in July for the first time, with their Step Into Paradise collection, the Parisian choice makes perfect sense. “It has such unique character and ambience, it’s like stepping inside a totally different environment,” says Sales.
15 Bligh Street Sydney 2000
Lucy Folk – jewellery designer
Melbourne-born designer Lucy Folk, who opened her first Sydney store in Bondi in 2016, likes to keep it local. “I usually do the Bondi to Bronte, have a swim and wander up to Orchard Street Elixir Bar for breakfast,” she says. “It’s my ultimate.”
“I like to sit by the counter near the fridge and chat to the girls making my elixir. It’s the first stop I make when back in Sydney.”
Folk’s usual order is an iced matcha or a Coconut Milk Elixir with avocado, hemp seeds, maca, tocos, chaga and a little date paste.
“When the sun is out though, Sunday lunch means alfresco dining at Sean’s Panorama,” says Folk. “I like to sit outside in summer by the door and sip a Campari and soda … I usually tuck into the chicken for a nice Sunday lunch. Or the fish. I don’t cook much in Sydney so a nice chook, done well, can’t really be beaten.”
Orchard Street Elixir Bar
2 Brighton Boulevard, Bondi
Marc Freeman, Camilla and Marc designer
When Freeman is in Sydney, you'll find him at ACME in Rushcutters Bay. "It’s unassuming, unconventional and unapologetic. The menu has cross-cultural references and the burnt garlic pasta is superb. It delivers the familiarity of an Italian staple that is superseded by its experimental breakdown of ingredients and the flavor is truly unique.
"Mitch Orr, the head chef. is a true master of his discipline – he is forever experimenting."
Sean Venturi – Venroy, founder and managing director
"Sitting above Bondi’s iconic Icebergs pool and looking back at the shoreline that our brand was founded on always brings such a rush of emotions," says Venturi of his favourite Sydney restaurant – Icebergs.
Icebergs Dining Room and Bar
Tanja Kovacevic – Petite Grand, designer
Sydney jewellery designer Kovacevic says A Tavola in Darlinghurst is a reliable favourite. "I’ve been going there for years. I love nothing better than finding a spot at their beautiful long marble table, ordering some homemade Italian pasta and a glass of Sangiovese. There is a warm seductive energy that keeps me going back," she says.
348 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst
Rebecca Vallance, designer
For authentic Sicilian, Vallance heads to The Restaurant Pendolino in The Strand Arcade. "The dim and moody lighting sets the scene for a perfect date night – my husband and I always opt for a private table in the back corner. The wait staff are so personable and it makes you feel like you’re at a family member's house," she says. Orders usually follow a pattern: handmade olive oil with bread; sweet-pea risotto with zucchini flowers and buffalo-milk stracciatella; and Atlantic salmon with black mussels. To finish? One chocolate-hazelnut eclair to share.
The Restaurant Pendolino
100/412–414 George Street, Sydney
Hamish Tame – Le Specs, designer
The sunglasses designer always books the table by the kitchen at Fred’s so he's part of the action. "It feels like you’re in their living room while you watch them work their magic. They do a T-bone to share that is ridiculously delicious, and so tender," he says. "After dinner it’s also great to head downstairs to Charlie Parker’s for a few rounds of cocktails to finish the night off."
Montana Cox – model
For the Melbourne-born model who calls New York home, there’s nowhere better than Golden Century for dinner in Sydney. “I feel like it has to be late. And it has to be family style. And the XO pippies have to be on the table,” she says. Downstairs is favoured over upstairs – always within eyeshot of the fish tanks, of course.
393-399 Sussex Street, Sydney
Pip Edwards – P.E Nation, designer
The fashion designer behind one of Australia’s fastest growing athleisure labels doesn’t mind where she sits – as long as there’s a pizza in front of her.
"Pizza at Da Orazio. No more needs to be said. It's the best pizza you will ever have. Such a cool pizzeria, awesome menu, great drinks, great music and great people,” she says. “It has a real buzz and is super fun – a guaranteed great experience."
75-79 Hall Street, Bondi Beach
Maurice Terzini – Ten Pieces, designer
While Terzini is best known for his restaurants (Icebergs and The Dolphin, to name a few) what’s lesser known is he’s one half of fashion label Ten Pieces. When it comes to dinner, he sticks to his Italian roots and prefers pulling up a stool.
“One of my favourite restaurants in Sydney to get some creative inspiration about life, food and wine is, without a doubt, 10 William St,” he tells Broadsheet. A pioneer in natural wine, 10 William St in Paddington is a cozy, dimly lit diner that packs enough vivre to fill all of Modena.
A friend of the owners, Terzini takes his seat at the bar to chat with the bar and kitchen staff. “I am always lucky enough to get a stool, or even just stand near the kitchen,” he says. “Their wine list is forward-thinking and the food is exciting.”
The famous whipped-bottarga pretzel, and the fish polpetta puttanesca are Terzini’s go-to drinking snacks. “10 William St is a melting pot of people and ideas … one of the few places where the social role of a venue is on par with its product.”
10 William St
10 William Street, Paddington
Melanie Grant – facialist
Something of a skin whisperer, Melanie Grant matters in the beauty industry. With boutiques in Double Bay in Sydney and Armadale in Melbourne, Grant splits her week between the two cities. When she’s not busy at international fashion weeks or designing new products with brand-partner Chanel, she relishes summer evenings people-watching at her favourite Potts Point diner.
“I love Fratelli Paradiso and sit outside on a warm summer evening with my children,” she says. “It’s walking distance from home, it is consistent and service is always amazing.”
Owned and run by Marco Ambrosino and brothers Giovanni and Enrico Paradiso (10 William St), it’s no surprise that Grant’s staple dish is also the restaurant’s usual sell-out. “The spaghetti scampi is my go to.”
Bakery 12–16 Challis Avenue, Potts Point 2011
Huw Bennett – Worktones, designer
Currently turning heads in cafes and restaurants such as Reuben Hills and Icebergs with his Worktones hospitality uniforms, Huw Bennett’s favourite eating spots are those with a view – whether that’s of Bondi Beach, or over busy bar staff or his fellow diners.
"There are a few places in Sydney that are a favourite of mine. I love sitting at the bar in Ester,” he says. “Preferably the seat closest to the entrance that smells of their freshly roasted coffee. You can simply sit and watch the wines being poured.”
At Bondi’s Sean’s Panorama Bennett chooses to sit by the window and takes in the view over lunch. “Any of the ‘love seats’ (my words, not theirs) that are close to the window,” he says. “There is nothing more indulgent than having three courses there in early spring or late autumn when the weather is perfect.”
And for modern Greek fare, such as saganaki cheese with sesame and honey, the designer takes his place at The Apollo with the dining room in his sights. “Hands down the best spot is at the back of the bar facing the service area and the tables. The food is so good I would eat there blindfolded if it weren't for the excellent people-watching you can do."
270 Campbell Parade, Bondi
44 Macleay Street, Potts Point
Dee Maidment – State of Escape, designer
One half of Australian neoprene tote start-up State of Escape, Dee Maidment, prefers to take in the water views north of the bridge.
“I love the window seat at lunchtime at Ormeggio at The Spit. Sitting over the water, it’s calm, peaceful and I adore the relaxed vibe of the place,” she says. “All of the dishes are so decadent and delicious – a real treat, but not fussy. Sharing this with my family and friends is the best.”
Ormeggio at The Spit
Albora Marinas, Spit Road, Mosman