In Surry Hills you can’t walk half a block without stumbling across a cafe, restaurant or bar. But we have always felt the neighbourhood needed more cosy spots to grab an espresso and a quick bite. Now, here they are.

Fishbowl Sashimi Bar
Bondi’s Fishbowl has expanded into Crown Street. It offers a cross between Hawaiian poke and Japanese sashimi salads, and specialises in build-your-own bowls. Choose from rice, vermicelli and salad as your base, then go for a protein (tuna, salmon, kingfish, tofu). There are also Japanese-style vegetables, and you can add fish roe or edamame dust for crunch. The LA beach-style interior, done with Tasmanian hardwood and exposed-brick, has a super casual vibe.

Masala Theory
Crown Street adds another jewel to its … well … crown. Masala Theory brings the modern side of India to Sydney with its brightly coloured but aged-looking interior. Chef Bushabh Rupani’s menu is experimental, from tandoor-roasted spatchcock with corn puree and red-pepper sauce, to the smoked beetroot and buttermilk pannacotta. “The flavours are all traditional, we’re just presenting it differently,” says the owner Erda.

Lavie & Belle
A tiny French bakery has just landed on Fitzroy Street – Christian Bonne and Kareen Ferrali’s first venture. It’s not fancy, just French classics such as the perfect baguette and croissant. They use French flour and French butter, and you can taste the difference.

Still to come in 2017

Chin Chin
It’s been on the cards since May 2015: Melbourne’s legendary pan-Asian restaurant (with a focus on Thai), Chin Chin, is finally on its way to Surry Hills. It will take over the old Griffiths Tea Building on the corner of Wentworth and Commonwealth Streets; the location was what finally sealed the deal for owner Chris Lucas. Chef Benjamin Cooper will design a menu similar to that at the Melbourne branch, and Craig Hemmings (ex-general manager of Guillaume) will run the venue. It’s slated to open in August.

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Matcha Mylkbar
The plant-based Melbourne cafe has its sights on Surry Hills. The entire menu will be vegan, and it will serve the mushroom, beetroot and blue-algae lattes its become known for. The colourful drinks have helped the brand’s huge Instagram following, as have the bright-green burger buns made from matcha. Owners Sarah Holloway and Nic Davidson (and brothers Mark and Attil Filippelli) hope it will be larger than the St Kilda cafe, and they plan for the venue to become a fully licensed restaurant at night. So far there is no fixed opening date or location.