It’s been a good year for Sydney’s dining scene. From Bennelong at The Opera House, to The Boathouse Shelly Beach and Firedoor in Surry Hills, there has been variety in style and budget. Here’s our list of the best still to come in 2015, and an update of where they’re at.
We announced in May that Flying Fish executive chef Stephen Seckold and restaurateur Con Dedes planned to open Japanese eatery Salaryman mid-year. The opening has been pushed back a little, but things are on track for a late-August opening at the Albion Street location. Seckold is busy working on the menu for the casual ramen lunches and izakaya-style evenings. “I want everything in the ramen to be local,” says the chef. “We’re making our own miso and we’ve been looking for the perfect biodynamic egg.” He’s also planning a holistic approach to meat, with the pork stock for tonkotsu and the meat in the dish coming from the one animal.
“We’re about six-to-eight weeks away from opening,” says Paradise Road frontman David Owen (previously of Icebergs). Swapping one end of the beach for the other, Owen has a casual, American-style venue in the works at the North Bondi end of Campbell Parade. Final touches are being added to the fit-out and menu planning is in full swing. “It’s a real diner-style experience,” says Owen, who is tight lipped on specifics. “It’s that cuisine from the 1950s that everyone can get into; hot dogs, burgers, but we’ll also be doing main courses. We want to make it comfortable enough for locals to eat at a few times a week.” It will also be serving American-style breakfasts (think good-old fry-ups), and while there will be some health-conscious options, Owen says he’s happy to serve indulgent dishes.
When we last caught up with Hesham El Masry (of Plunge No. 46 in Summer Hill), it was still early days for his planned Enmore Road Egyptian street-food venue. So early that the venue didn’t yet have a name. But things are moving forward for the repurposed real-estate office site. El Masry’s wife, interior designer Andrea Katehos, is looking after the design. “It will be called Cairo Take-Away, or it will definitely have Cairo in the name,” laughs El Masry. “It will have 20 seats and a license so that we can do Egyptian falafel and beer.” The opening was scheduled for August, but has been pushed back to September – El Masry has a trip to Egypt planned in the next month to collect cutlery and crockery.
When we first reported that Ibrahim Kasif (previously at Porteño) would open Istanbul-inspired eatery Stanbuli in Enmore, the chef was grappling with council issues. Plans to convert the iconic 1950s hairdresser on Enmore Road were causing a stir, but despite this delay for the Turkish taverna, Stanbuli is now forging ahead. “The builders are ferocious,” laughs the chef. The original plan to open in August has been pushed out to the end of September, caused in part by a delay on tiles coming from Turkey. “We’ve already started curing our meats. There will be air-cured beef, salted, hung and rubbed with spices. It’s coming along well.”
Andrew Bowden’s online cakes – Andy Bowdy Pastry
When we learned of Andrew Bowden’s pending departure from Hartsyard, we were keen to know where we might next see his creative, crazy and incredible cakes and desserts. Then we found out he was setting up an online cake service – Andy Bowdy Pastry – and talking orders from August 2015. “I got to the point where the cakes were taking over my life at Hartsyard, so I had to make the decision to stop doing them, or go out on a limb and give it everything. Luckily I got offered a production space at Gelato Messina.” Bowden will also be popping up regularly at Artificer Coffee in Surry Hills, with plans for roughly monthly appearances. “They’ve kindly let me set up shop on weekends. I’ll be doing pie-of-the-week like I did at Hartsyard, and I’m hoping to do collaborations with their coffee too, and maybe bring the deep fryer along.”
Ground Floor at Newtown Social Club
Newtown Social Club might not be a new opening, but the facelift done to Ground Floor will be unveiled at the end of July. There will be a new bar, dining area and cocktail lounge. The idea is to turn the venue into a food and drink destination, rather than just a beer stop before heading upstairs to a live gig. The update will deliver a new cocktail list and drinks menu, including organic and biodynamic options, and a signature meatball-focused menu.
The Old Clare Hotel: Silvereye, Automata and Kensington Street Social
One of the most anticipated openings of 2015 will be the relaunch of The Old Clare Hotel. Not only will the accommodation be up and running after a full renovation, but the venue will offer three different contemporary dining options – all from chefs who have made their names at world-class establishments. Sam Miller (ex-Noma) will run Silvereye on the second level of the hotel. Clayton Wells (previously Momofuku Seiobo and Quay) will open his solo restaurant, Automata. British chef Jason Atherton will head the hefty 118-seat Kensington Street Social and oversee room service for the hotel. That’s a lot of dining clout for one building.