Sometimes Christmas at home with your family isn’t what you’re up for. If you are tired of watching your second cousin put away half a slab of VB and sharing his infinite wisdom with anyone who will listen, run away this Christmas and have lunch at one of Sydney’s fine establishments. Here is the pick of the bunch this holiday season.
Centennial Parklands Dining
1 Grand Drive, Centennial Park
(02) 9380 9350
In the heart of Sydney’s beautiful Centennial Park, Christmas in the Park is a banquet lunch at Centennial Park Dining. Perfect for families, you’ll have the choice of a selection of premium seafood and traditional Christmas dishes. Beginning with a chilled selection – including wood-smoked Tasmanian salmon, prawns and a selection of cured Australian meats – the banquet will also feature a carvery of traditional roast turkey, honey-glazed ham and slow-braised lamb shoulder.
199 George Street, Sydney
(02) 9250 3160
The recently opened Sydney branch of famed Melbourne restaurant, Pei Modern, will be open this Christmas Day in all its produce-driven glory. Pei Modern’s Christmas buffet is an impressive array of dishes including Clyde River rock oysters; Yamba prawns; smoked salmon; pork terrine; Kurobuta ham with cauliflower pickles; roasted snapper; roast turkey; sucking pig; and a cheese table. The buffet will be complete with traditional Christmas pudding as well as an Australian staple – pavlova.
Balla at The Star
Level G, Harbourside, The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont
(02) 9657 9129
Famed for its modern-Italian cuisine, Balla brings a Tuscan twist to Christmas. The work of distinguished restaurateur and modern-Italian pioneer, Stefano Manfredi, the Christmas menu balances the bounty of the sea with traditional Christmas meats. A second course of Australian tooth fish with eggplant puree and pickled summer vegetables is served alongside stuffed roast turkey wrapped in prosciutto and sage. Lunch is finished with a traditional Christmas panettone.
Gowings Bar & Grill
49 Market Street, Sydney
(02) 8262 0062
Gowings’ trademark on-display seafood fare will feature heavily on its Christmas menu. Starting off with a Fruit De Mer’platter of Balmain bugs, scampi tails, king prawns, oysters, mussels and ocean trout, Gowings’ wood-fired seafood sets the tone for an extravagant Christmas lunch. The Christmas main is a choice between wood-roasted duck, free-range turkey or handmade pasta filled with crayfish and crab meat. Executive chef Paul Easson focuses heavily on serving simple, fresh ingredients with elegance.
4, The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach
(02) 9969 5050
What better place to spend a Sydney Christmas than at Balmoral? Housed in a converted and historic changing pavilion, the Bathers’ Pavilion is an extension of the sands of Balmoral beach. Understated and elegant, the ambience of the pavilion harks back to days gone by. Enjoy a delicious brunch on Christmas morning or a four-course lunch featuring a seafood buffet.
Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel
1 Military Road, Watsons Bay
(02) 9337 5444
Spend Christmas overlooking Sydney harbour at the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel. With a homey menu and an unbeatable setting, the hotel will be offering fresh seafood to start. A whiskey- and honey-glaze Kurobuta organic ham with cinnamon-roasted peaches shares the Christmas glory with a whole roasted snapper and slow-cooked lamb shoulder. An Australian Christmas wouldn’t be the same without pavlova, and the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel will be serving a mango-and-passionfruit beauty with mascarpone.
Level 36, 176 Cumberland Street, Sydney
(02) 9250 6123
Famed for its impressive view across Sydney city, Altitude is doing Christmas in style. Pass the life-size gingerbread house constructed in the lobby of the hotel and head to the sky for an intimate Christmas lunch. With an extensive wine list, diners at Altitude will indulge in a unique five-course Christmas menu crafted from fine local produce .
Botanic Gardens Restaurant
Royal Botanic Gardens Mrs Macquarie’s Road, Sydney
(02) 9241 2419
An Australian Christmas is best had outdoors. Located in the beautiful surrounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Botanic Gardens Restaurant is putting on a three-course festive menu. Dining in the open air, the summer-inspired menu will heavily feature our favourite flavours of summer.
Shop 8, 38–52 Waterloo Street, Surry Hills
(02) 8021 4806
How about a Chinese Christmas? Cantonese eatery Ho Mei will be putting on a five-course modern Chinese set menu. Starting with lamb pancakes and butterfly steamed buns with pork belly, Ho Mei is taking the traditional meats of Christmas and serving them with a modern-Asian twist. Mango roasted duck and xo prawns grace the menu alongside a dessert platter featuring banana spring rolls and coconut sorbet.
Lower Deck, Jones Bay Wharf 19–21, Pirrama Road, Pyrmont
(02) 9518 6677
Like its namesake, Pyrmont staple Flying Fish’s Christmas lunch is all about the seafood. WA marron, king prawns, seared scallops, steamed Murray cod, line-caught snapper and prawn pancakes all feature on the menu. Along with the seafood delights, traditional fare is on offer, with glazed duck breast, duck ham and roasted suckling pig. Dessert is served in the form of banoffee pie pudding jars and nectarine, raspberry and rose pavlova.
411 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
(02) 9380 2622
Le Pelican continues its eight-year tradition with a Christmas-day degustation. With a menu created by Jean Francois Salet that takes inspiration from traditional French cuisine and adapts it to the Australian summer, Le Pelican’s Christmas degustation menu features duck foie gras with beetroot mille feuille; oestrus caviar; lobster and vanilla salad with asparagus veloute; roasted partridge; “Ossau- Iraty”cheese; and a special vacherin lemon-curd sorbet. Joyeux Noël!