Seven food experiences you won’t soon forget
Tastebuds, get ready. All around NSW (sometimes in the unlikeliest of places), there are extraordinary eats, drinks and seats-with-a-view that you won’t forget in a hurry.
Keen to make your tastebuds love you a little more? Then try one of these out-of-the-ordinary food indulgences.
Dine at one of NSW’s best regional restaurants
Pipit has put the small Tweed Shire beach town of Pottsville on the fine-dining map. Chef Ben Devlin serves up the unexpected in set menus that are all about celebrating coastal dining and local produce. Give your tastebuds a brand-new thrill with the likes of almond milk tofu with bonito and yuzu, school mackerel with radicchio, pecan and citrus, and unusual sweets such as Jerusalem artichoke crème caramel.
Learn from the best
Wagga Wagga’s Tania Sibrey grew up with a mum who’d bust out epic Chinese banquets for an everyday dinner. These days, she’s channelling that life-long love of good food into her Riverina cooking school, Food I Am. In the Hunter Valley north of Sydney, carnivores can gather around Lovedale Smokehouse’s pitmaster Ben Sales for a Majors Lane Cooking School class on topics such as ‘low and slow smoking’. While in Mudgee in Country NSW, enjoy the fruits of your labours at The Little Cooking School, with matched local wines.
Sydney shakes it up
The red-brick exterior doesn’t hint at the 1950s vibe but step into Maybe Sammy, ranked among the World’s 50 Best Bars, and you’ll find out how The Rocks bar earned its 11th spot on the list as a dapper bartender mixes a cocktail that might include infusions of local flora. Feel like tracking down a surprise Sydney rooftop? Head to Old Mate’s Place on Clarence Street, and ask for an upstairs table. In Manly, find The Cumberland hidden behind a deli’s fridge door and down a set of spiral stairs.
Taste the Hunter Valley
Australia’s oldest wine region, the Hunter Valley, offers the ultimate weekend away. Taste your way around the region, starting with a paddock-to-plate lunch at Margan, a hatted restaurant in the picturesque Broke area, or a meal with a picturesque view at Bistro Molines. Sample preservative-free wines at Harkham Wines in Pokolbin, admire both premium chardonnays and art at Winmark Wines, tackle dinner at Muse at Hungerford Hill Winery then tumble into bed at Tinonee Vineyard Estate.
The South Coast is home to a lip-smacking 300km-long oyster trail thanks to its pristine rivers and lakes. Meander along part of the trail or slurp your way along the entire route. The specialty is the Sydney rock oyster, prized for its intense flavour, although some places also farm a native flat oyster. At Batemans Bay, drop in to The Farm Gate and Oyster Shed on Wray Street and Pearly Oyster Bar and Farm. Captain Sponge’s Magical Oyster Tours will take you out onto Pambula Lake with a charismatic oyster farmer, or visit Broadwater Oysters, a working oyster farm and shucking school.
Surprise a special someone with an unforgettable picnic. Settle on a vibe – such as Moroccan Luxe, Winter Woodlands or Dark Boho – and let Pretty Picnics do the hard work. The company, based in Camden in Sydney’s south-west, has set up countless group and couple’s picnics, and set the scene for more than 50 proposals. You can also order a creative box – think brunch, high tea, pavlova or grazing – and head to a spot with a view such as Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden, Observatory Hill or a tiny harbour cove such as Milk Beach at Vaucluse.
Sydney’s most scenic tables
Sydney knows exactly how to do spectacular waterfront dining. You could start with Bondi’s Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, overlooking the ocean pool and the grand sweep of that famous golden sand. A little further north is Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, where you can grab a casual outdoor table beneath a striped umbrella and tuck into seafood and cocktails, with the city skyline in the distance.
Want to get closer to Sydney Harbour Bridge? The views (and food) from Aria at Circular Quay are unbeatable. At Mosman in the north, Ripples Chowder Bay has transformed a former submarine miners’ depot, while on the Northern Beaches you can soak up the rustic-chic vibe of The Boathouse Palm Beach as you admire the views of Pittwater. To up the wow factor, board a Sydney Seaplanes flight from Rose Bay and soar to a stunning elevated lunch table at Jonah’s in Whale Beach.