A village-like part of Sydney sandwiched between Central and Paddington, Surry Hills remains arguably the cultural heart of inner-city Sydney – loved by locals and visitors alike. It also continues to be home to some of the city’s best cafes, bars, restaurants and shops. Here’s a handful of spots to stop.
Bourke Street Bakery
There are now branches of Bourke Street Bakery all over Sydney, but the original and best is still this hole-in-the-wall space on a quaint corner. People and pups from all over town queue up for fresh sourdough in variants such as hazelnut and raisin, soy and linseed, and potato and rosemary (aka Mr Potato Bread). They’re also here for the pastries, sausage rolls (filled with lamb and harissa, chicken and pumpkin, and pork and fennel), and delicious coffee.
Soul Dining, a polished all-day spot on Devonshire Street, serves a Korean-based menu with German, Italian and Australian twists inspired by the multicultural heritage of the owners. There are plates of fried gnocchi with soybean sauce, and bright zucchini flowers filled with whipped tofu and mushrooms. This approach extends to the drinks list, which offers Australian wines, cans of Korean lager, classic cocktails and kimchi-brine Bloody Marys.
This authentic Vietnamese spot on Devonshire is light and airy at lunch, neon-lit and vibe-y at dinner. In other words, Mama’s Buoi is for a grab-and-go weekday lunch or boozy Saturday night dinner with friends. Graze on cold-noodle bowls with loads of heat, or sticky rice paper rolls packed with barbeque chicken. And there’s Vietnamese beer for the full experience.
Stalwart Crown Street corner pub the Trinity Hotel has undergone a transformation of late. It’s gone from Irish boozer to flashy furniture-adorned gastropub serving specialty cocktails and spruced-up meals. Behind the gloss it remains a great place to hang, especially if you’re looking to catch a game or two, but the upstairs bar, Tilly May’s, is where you want to stop if you’re looking to settle in.
Haven Specialty Coffee
In a suburb packed with coffee shops, Haven is one of the best. Run by a group of guys from Hong Kong who know about the specialty coffee scene, this Chalmers Street spot is a light and airy space with all kinds of hot drinks on offer. There’s a banging brunch menu too, made up of classic Australian brunch dishes with an Asian twist.
The Architect’s Bookshop
Whether you’re in the business of designing houses or not, The Architect’s Bookshop is a peaceful sanctuary in which to browse. It’s by SJB Sydney architect Adam Haddow and stocks – you guessed it – big, glossy architecture books loaded with inspiration. Keep an eye on the events program: Haddow hopes to host architecture events and speakers soon.