Adventures at Bangaroo
Time for another food safari with the curious and adventurous photographer Lorrie Graham, and we picked the sometimes maligned former shipping facility of Barangaroo to explore. Surely we need to give this northern most part of the city some love if so many cafes and restaurants are doing just that by opening up here. The area is easy to get to by train or ferry. Parking is a puzzle and prohibitive when you find it; I wouldn't recommend driving there.
Anason immediately feels mediterranean with its marine blue and white cafe chairs, set right on the water's edge. Owned and operated by former Masterchef Somer Sivrioglu, this smart bistro offers a menu of modern Turkish cuisine that is committed to using local ingredients.
Lorrie and I resolve to reign ourselves in as we gloat over a menu filled with compelling offerings.
First up is a dish of grilled cauliflower and its leaves, which somehow remain bright green and crisp. Dunked florets first into a vibrant green sauce, the charred stems are to be torn apart for eating. Anason's signature green harissa takes me to walks on hillsides dotted with cork and olive trees.
Tilba haloumi, local honey with lavender oil arrives next to tantalize our senses. I've not eaten a piece of haloumi quite like this. Slightly puffed so the whole texture is light to the point of almost being spongy, while also gently charred. This lightness is graced by the fragrance of lavender and bathed in a puddle of golden honey. The balance of flavours is delicate and savoury, fresh and floral.
Charred octopus is tender chewy, on a bed of yoghurt, chickpeas, barley, mint, highlighted with zings of pickled chilli pieces. Out of the dishes we ate, this was perhaps the least memorable, despite being cooked perfectly. The flavour combinations were somewhat bland and I kept searching for the pickled chilli to elevate each mouthful.
Service was brisk and smart, friendly and efficient.
A stop at Lotus, the pretext being to check that the standards of good dumpling making were being upheld...Lorrie and I were not disappointed. The delicate xiao long bao, trembling, wobbly morsels, arrived in its bamboo basket, fine translucent skins barely holding in a delicious soupy bite of pork mince heaven.
Truffle spring rolls arrived looking quite regular on the outset, but on closer examination, I was happily ticking off the boxes: not oily, crisp and piping hot. A good amount of the dipping sauce. Biting into one, the pastry was flaky and crisp with the sweet aroma of truffles gently filling my nose.
Char siew buns were a snack size version, stuffed generously with sweet and meaty bar-b-que pork. Chilli oil drizzled over these morsels cut through the unctuous sweetness and made the mouthfuls close to perfect.
Keeping Lotus riding high on good ticks, a little plate of fried prawn and lobster parcels were cooked to perfection- the pastry bubbly, crisp and short, the prawn and lobster portion again generous, and cooked to tender perfection. I would have preferred a mayo dipping sauce rather than the sweet chilli one we got with this, but that's a minor quibble.
Service was attentive and kind, and we both loved that the staff was so international, reflecting the true feel of this city.
We wandered up and down King's Wharf and and Barangaroo Avenue on our sunny day adventure, looking in doorways, skimming menus, chatting with wait staff and getting a general feel of the places we couldn't possibly eat more at.
Before we parted company, Lorrie and I needed a fortifying coffee, so we walked into Shortstop which offers a variety of donuts and........ good coffee. Apart
from the classic cinnamon donut, there are varieties which range from green tea to sticky date. All in all the donuts are overly sweet and quite large, but staying with the cinnamon donut and sharing it is doable for the likes of me!
The coffee is excellent though, and and also on offer is a variety of teas.
It is a cheery, super clean space, nicely designed but the spareness has a clinical feel about it which doesn't really jive comfortably with the coffee and donut theme.
Other delicious dining options in Barangaroo range from:
Malay Chinese, an outpost of the long time favourite laksa stalwart in the city, also serving a top CKT, and some Malaysian curries. The space looks a little bleak though, with drab tile floor and vinyl chairs.
Bourke Street Bakery has a great corner location as you disembark from the ferry and come up to Barangaroo Avenue. Warmly lit in their signature style, and offering all their sweet and savoury pastries we've grown to love, as well as their good loaves of bread.
Ume Burger, a favourite Surry Hills haunt is now also in Barangaroo, serving up innovative umami.......Japanese burgers, of course!
Devon Cafe has been a hot favourite for many years now in Sydney combining the flavours of east and west in inspiring, playful plates. For instance there's their take on omurice : a mouthwatering heaping of Japanese rice omelette topped with tomato chutney, or the seasonal truffle soft serve with a side of fries. Yes, ponder that taste combo! Here's a spot to let your tastebuds roam wild and free.
Also at Barangaroo are the modern Indian Spiced By Billu, tasty Hong Kong fare at
Old Town, fresh flavours and seafood at love.fish, and Matt Moran's elegant and clean flavours offered at Bea in Barangaroo House.
For pre-dinner drinks, there's Banksii Vermouth Bar and Bistro, (where I'd go for the bar more than the bistro), and The Loft with great views and an elegant setting.
Visit on a sunny day, not hard to come by in Sydney after all. Barangaroo Avenue which becomes Lime Street is parallel to The Promenade on King's Wharf where all these good places to eat and drink are clustered. Stop for bubble tea, pick up some fine deli options and a fresh posey of flowers at Bel and Brio. Barangaroo might look rather newish around the edges and lack the character which comes with a bit of age and history, but if you can focus on views of the water along the Promenade and the eclectic variety of food on offer, you'd be having a good time regardless.
Photos: mine, except for Ume Burger, and Cafe Devon and last 3 food images. Those taken from instagram and website photos, with thanks to the photographers.