Sydney

I had a short 4 days trip to Sydney and I loved it more than I thought I would. The last time I’ve been to Sydney was 20 years ago and memories were insignificant. I only remembered going to Chinatown and having Chinese food.

It’s been 20 years since I last stepped into Australia and to my pleasant surprise, I enjoyed it way more than what people nowadays describe it to be! I mean, yeah there’s not much culturally significant things to see and do as compared to Europe maybe, but lifestyle experiences wise, it was good. I loved the food, yoga and weather.

For more about Sydney’s yoga scene, check out my yoga blog: http://coconasana.com.



Food

I had limited days in Sydney and so little time, so many restaurants. You might not agree with me but I think the food scene in Sydney is pretty exciting. Or at least, it’s the kind which I like.

Food was the secondary objective of my time in Sydney, so I spent most of my breakfasts and lunches in Surry Hills where it’s convenient for my main activity – a yoga immersion weekend. And even with such limitations, I managed to have pretty good meals. Most of my meals were in cafes due to time constraint, even though I dislike the cafe culture in Singapore (face it – cafes in Singapore generally serve inferior food made primarily for pretentious reasons like Instagram posts and most of the cafes are just copy cats of one another). Cafes in Sydney are on a different level. The food actually has quality and it’s really unique. And there’s no pretentious crowd.

I’m sure if I had all the time in the world to venture into other suburbs I’ll really be in for a treat.

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Salt and Pepper Calamari – $22.00
Baby Calamari with Passionfruit Dressing

I love fried calamari. The portion of this was quite substantial as a starter.

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Whole Baby Lobster – $48.00
Garlic butter

Lobsters are going at a promotional price for winter and this was good!

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Fresh Barramundi Fillet – $39.00
Grilled

First meal in Sydney was seafood at Darling Harbour. This is a very touristy thing to do and I am paying a very touristy price, but do it anyway. The lobster and calamari were good but the fish was forgettable.

There are also other lower priced restaurants along Darling Harbour if you wish to spend less on a meal but enjoy the view of Darling Harbour.

Nick’s Seafood
The Promenade, Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour, NSW, 2000

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Quesadilla with Chilli con Carne and Guacamole – $13.95 + $5 + $2

I only chose this place because it was on the way back to my accommodation. One portion of quesadilla can feed 2 people and I’m glad we didn’t over order! It wasn’t that fantastic, but passable nonetheless. I would consider this a budget meal for Sydney pricing. This place is good for takeaway. In fact, along this part of Crown Street, I noticed many takeway shops which looked pretty legit, like thin crust pizza (not fast food sort).

Mexican Burrito Cantina
612 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

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Chai Latte – $3.60

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French Toast with bacon, fruits and maple syrup – $12.50

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Halloumi Stack

Found this cafe by chance and it was a good choice for breakfast. Food was better than the typical cafes in Singapore. In fact this was one of my favourite breakfast places for this trip!

Triple Shot
533 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

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Bourke Street Bakery in the original location on Bourke Street. They have several outlets around Sydney too. The lines here are forever long, and this was taken just 10 minutes away from closing time!

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Beef Pie – $5.50

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Lemon Curd Tart – $5.50

I only managed to get here at 4:15pm (they close at 5pm), and most items were sold out by now like their famous chocolate tart. I was so thrilled to get the very last lemon curd tart! And this was fantastic. The tart shell was of a different level of crispiness. I highly recommend this place!

Bourke Street Bakery
633 Bourke St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

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The Vietnamese community in Sydney is large so naturally Vietnamese food is quite common. This restaurant in Surry Hills has quite a hip interior design but serves traditional fare. They have plenty of vegetarian options on the menu as well.

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Lemongrass Pork with Pork Spring Rolls Vermicelli Noodle Salad Bowl – $16.00

You can’t really see the pork here but the pork was so good. The best grilled pork I’ve had for Vietnamese food! I loved it.

Mama’s Buoi Surry Hills
116 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2000, Australia

A Turkish cafe along Crown Street caught my attention because it had a crowd early in the morning, so I made it a point to have it for breakfast the next day.

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Turmeric Dandelion Chai Latte

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Spinach gözleme filled with herbed ricotta, feta & mozzarella – $16

Decided to have something Turkish since I’ve never been to a Turkish cafe before. This was quite nice, but a bit too much for 1 person to have it all! The cheese game is very strong. I only managed to eat 2/3 of it at most and packed the rest for later. This served as both my breakfast and my lunch!

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Eggs Benedict – $18
Organic poached eggs, Lucas premium bacon, homemade Hollandaise and relish

Rustic Pearl
415 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

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Chai Latte everyday…

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Truffle Lasagne 

It was a seasonal special and a very popular choice.

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It was early in the morning but I’m ready for ice cream anytime. All my favourite items in a plate here. So good. But perhaps better for sharing if you can.

Devon Cafe
76 Devonshire St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

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Aqua S claims to be the best soft serve in Sydney and their social media game is strong with this wall designed for taking photos. I love this idea of course, it makes my job easier.

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Coconut is the special of the week, I’m in luck! They change their special flavours every 2 weeks, while the staple here is sea salt. The coconut flavour wasn’t strong enough though, but the ice cream itself was alright. I couldn’t resist added a toasted marshmallow.

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The sea salt flavour is blue!

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The line at this place was long even though it was mid winter. Kids love it, especially with cotton candy!

Aqua S Sydney CBD
Shop 27, 501 George Street Regent Place, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

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This is Black Star Pastry, famous for their watermelon cake. This shop is located within Kinokuniya bookstore.

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Watermelon cake overkill…

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They have other pastries too, but everyone is here for the watermelon cake.

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Watermelon and cake probably doesn’t sound like a good match and is generally unheard of until I found Black Star. It went surprisingly perfect together and the cake was refreshing and light!

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Strawberry Watermelon Cake – $7.00

The original shop was located somewhere more sub-urban but I’m glad they have one in the CBD so it was convenient for me to have my cake after a noon time yoga class! It was kind of weird eating within Kinokuniya bookstore, but whatever goes…

Black Star Pastry Books Kinokuniya (CBD) 
The Galeries Level 2, 500 George St, NSW 2000, Australia

I only had time for 1 good dinner but I had 3 choices – Testuya, Momofuku Seiobo and Quay. I would want to try all 3 (actually there’s still more on my list) but could only select 1 place, so I decided it has to be Quay.

  • Firstly, it’s unique. Other restaurants by Tetsuya or David Chang of Momofuku could be found in Singapore and New York.
  • Secondly, the location. It has prime views of both Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. The view was unbeatable
  • Thirdly, it’s been touted as the best restaurant in Australia.

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And I was pleased with this place. Go early if you want good pictures! Check out my review in another post.

Quay
Upper Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks, Sydney 2000


Accommodation

I booked an Airbnb around Surry Hills area and it was a good choice. Within a 3 minutes walk there’s a Cole’s supermarket and the bus stop which has services taking me to places I need to go to. It’s 1km to Sydney Central station, which is a convenient distance. I was quite pleased with this location and I think Surry Hills is a good place to stay. There are many yoga studios nearby within walking distance (<10 mins walk) and there are plenty of food options. Most of the food featured in my post are indeed chosen out of convenience but I genuinely thought they were pretty good! Seems like I got lucky for choosing a good neighbourhood (or perhaps, food in Sydney is generally good). Just a short walk out, I get cafes to higher end restaurants, all in this area. Just 4 days in Sydney is definitely not enough to try everything this city has to offer!

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A little park right outside my Airbnb.

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I stayed in a studio which was built as an extension above a garage.

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The place was small but sufficient.

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Chinese takeway in my Airbnb for the last night’s dinner… I wouldn’t rave about it but it’s decent at least!

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Ward Park, Surry Hills


Transport

This was something I wasn’t prepared for – public transport is expensive! A train ride from the airport to Sydney central cost $15. A single bus ride costs $2+ – $4+ depending on the distance.

Actually, costs of everything in Sydney (not so sure about rest of Australia) is quite high. The groceries in supermarkets generally costs way more than in Singapore. Food at cafes and restaurants costs on par with Singapore. The yoga however, is slightly cheaper.

Anyway, if you have more than 2 of you, it’ll cost less if you take a taxi or Uber from the airport to Sydney Central. Try to stay central and go everywhere on foot if you can, that’ll save quite a lot! I had to give up some places on my list because the location was in another neighbourhood and it made no sense to get there just to have ice cream and come back, incurring bus fares.


Sightings

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Sydney Town Hall

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Queen Victoria Building

A famous and iconic mall in Sydney.

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Lorna Jane Active

An Australian active wear brand for women.

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Lululemon The Ivy

My all time favourite Canadian active wear brand. In Australia the prices are lower than Singapore. There’s only on in central Sydney. Other outlers are in the suburbs and there’s even an outlet store near the Olympic park.

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Kit and Ace

The new brand by the founder of Lululemon has a few shops in Sydney. Selling basic wear with technical fabric.

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Random florist with rainbow roses

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Potato chips selection at Woolworths

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Elizabeth street

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Hyde Park

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Bondi Beach

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I bet you can’t tell it’s winter. The temperature here in the day was perfect for the beach, around 23 degs C maybe?

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Is Bondi the place where people hang out and show off how athletic they are? Spotted people doing things from handstands to taichi here. And of course, lots of surfers, even in winter. The weather at Bondi was pretty warm actually, for a winter day. It was very pleasant to walk around in such mildly cool weather.


That’s all for Sydney this time. Looking forward to coming here again! Next time I will try to venture into less urban areas like the Olympic Park, Blue Mountains and other areas.

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Sydney’s international airport has pretty good food choices! Was glad to find Pie Face and Toby’s Estate open at 5 in the morning! My flight was at 6:15am.

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