As well as the obligatory cruise around Circular Quay and the Botanic Gardens, taking in Sydney’s most iconic views, it’s always fun to explore a new city neighbourhood. Last time I was in Sydney it was the cafes and iron lace of Surry Hills. On my most recent visit to Sydney I stayed in Newtown, which was described to me as Sydney’s version of Melbourne’s Brunswick Street.
Certainly Newtown’s King Street on a Friday night was hopping with a multi-cultural community feel, plus colourful characters, and fabulously diverse places to eat and drink. In fact it is sometimes dubbed ‘Eat Street’.
Newtown is only a few stops on the train from central Sydney and boasts an impressively homogenous and attractive collection late Victorian / Federation period commercial architecture.
Similarly to Surry Hills, Newtown was originally a prosperous suburb that degenerated into a working class slum, then attracted immigrants after the second World War and has now transformed again into a bohemian neighbourhood beloved by Sydney’s young people for its pubs and cafes.
Antique shops groaning with furniture and bric-a-brac are common, rubbing shoulders with designer handbag stores, and vintage clothing emporiums like Mink Schmink and Mulberry Street.
And truly the eating and drinking options are legion with everything from African to Asian food and everything in between. I sampled a few (on local recommendation) and loved the following:
Bloodwood – a few highly-rated Sydney chefs have collaborated in this highly popular bar/restaurant. We had to wait an hour (drinking cocktails) to get a table but the delicate kingfish carpaccio and the spicy ribs and aubergine dishes were only just superseded by the desserts. A grown-up trifle with marscapone and a Pavlova topped with mango mousse. Mm heaven.
Rice Paper – this Vietnamese restaurant specialises in fresh rice paper rolls, one of my favourite elements of Vietnam’s cuisine.
Luxe Bakery – just off King Street on Missenden Rd, this is the perfect brunch spot in Newtown. The eggs were perfectly poached and the hash browns to die for. A great space and the yummy sourdough bread that Australians love.
By Natasha von Geldern
What is your favourite Sydney neighbourhood to eat and drink?