Sydney Dining Highlights


      Cambridge Hotel in Surry Hills Great Boutique Option


      Cambridge Hotel in Riley St Surry Hills is a fabulous destination for both Sydneysiders and those of us looking to base ourselves in Sydney for a holiday or business stay. Having stayed in several Sydney hotels over the years, I find Cambridge Hotel ticks the boxes in terms of location, functionality, style and affordability.

      We were guests of the hotel for a 2 night stay which included a twin room Deluxe Bedroom Suite, enabling parents to sleep in the main bedroom and kids to sleep on a sofa bed. Feedback from the family was positive with kids loving the views from the balcony, the comfort of the room and the proximity to attractions, not to mention the hotel swimming pool and spa.

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      Food, Cheap Eats

      Bean Drinking Crows Nest Coffee Sensation


      Bean Drinking is an eclectic cafe in Crows Nest with a devotion to all things coffee and cuisine that impresses. I met up with a PR whiz to discuss marketing and enjoy one of Sydney's best cafes.

      Crows Nest itself is an appealing precinct with several eye catching cafes and restaurants. Getting a table at Bean Drinking can be an issue even though the cafe stretches out into the outdoor area next to green green grass. Such serenity.

      Bean Drinking has its own "coffee lab", serving up ‘batch brew’, ‘pour over’, ‘Syphon’, 'Tasting Flight" (any 3 drinks from the Lab), ‘Cascara’ (coffee cherry tea), 'Sparkling Cold Drip' and ‘Cold Drip’. The SMH awarded Bean Drinking 3 cups so they are top of the class. It's a top notch coffee menu with expert baristas using Synesso and Slayer heavy artillery.

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      Food, Cheap Eats

      Reuben Hills Cafe in Surry Hills



      Reuben Hills is a uber cafe in trendy Surry Hills that sings with a cacaphony of first class cuisine exuding a playful touch, a chic ambience and top notch coffee. We visired Reuben Hills as part of a sojourn in Surry Hills staying at the Cambridge Hotel nearby. Lining up for 40 minutes on a week day to get in for brunch may seem overbearing, but we soon discovered it was all well worth it. Impressive was the maitre'D giving us regular reports on how the table availablity was looking... Reuben Hills is an elongated and elegant space with exposed brick on a section of the wall and high ceilings.

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      Zushi in Surry Hills



      Zushi is a compelling Japanese restaurant in Surry Hills with chic ambience and top notch cuisine that delivers the traditional but with a modern twist. We visited as a family and loved the experience as one of our best for the year.

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      Food, Cheap Eats

      Guzman Y Gomez Crows Nest

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      Guzman Y Gomez is a top notch fast food Mexican restaurant with many outlets, but the one in Crows Nest is a winner. Even in the peak of holiday season this place gets packed out at lunch times. I love their deal with only $1 extra for water or soft drink.

      Staff here are friendly and engage a bit more than just "hi, what do you want?" and can actually chat with customers.

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      Food, Cheap Eats

      Coco Cubano Rouse Hill

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      Coco Cubano is a Cuban inspired chain of coffee houses that serves up tasty meals and fine coffee. We visited Coco Cubano in Rouse Hill over the Christmas break and enjoyed the European ambience and fare. Sit back inside the cafe and admire the decor and staff in their chic uniforms.

      The Oven Baked Eggs included  free range eggs baked w/ chorizo, beans, arrabiata, fresh salsa served w/ sourdough toast, a hearty breakfast. Along with a satisfying latte.

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      N2 Extreme Gelato Smooth and Sophisticated

      gourmet 8-19

      N2 Extreme Gelato is an exciting gelato destination which is famous for its liquid nitrogen process in the making of their products. N2 Extreme Gelato has become a favourite stop by for Sydneysiders and Melbournians and usually has a line out the door. This is top notch gelato with interesting flavours that change weekly. And don't forget the blow torches and syringes...

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      Bourke St Bakery Hits The Mark

      Bourke St Bakery Lucy 

      Bourke St Bakery is an iconic bakery and cafe institution in Sydney with perennial queues out the door. Sydneysiders can't get enough of this fare, baked fresh and with captivating gourmet allure.

      As you can see from the photo above this place hums - with now several cafes in the stable across Sydney. Lucy and James visited during a conference held nearby - and would love this to be our daily staple.

      The Chocolate and rasberry muffins are outstanding, as are the toasted sandwiches which are massive. Namely Chicken, Pickled Celery, Emmental Cheese, Crispy Pancetta & Lemon Tarragon Mayo on White Sourdough... So goooood! Worth lining up for...

      And the humble Toasted Ham and cheese croissant is turned into something amazing...

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      Diner en Blanc on Bondi Beach A Stylish Success

      Diner en Blanc 2013 Bondi
      Saturday night, the highly sought-after "secret" picnic, Dîner en Blanc, drew a crowd of 3000 people to Bondi Beach for a spectacular event, made even more special as the iconic Sydney beach has never before been used to host a dinner party of such scale.
      This global phenomenon started from humble beginnings in Paris 25 years ago. What began as a small gathering now attracts tens of thousands of people across five continents and claims the title of the world’s largest secret dinner party. 
      While the technology behind Dîner en Blanc may have changed over the years, the principles fuelling this fantastic event have not: diners continue to gather at a secret location for the sole purpose of sharing a high-quality meal with good friends in one of the city’s most beautiful locations.
      A Diner en Blanc 2013 Sunset Bondi
      Doubling its numbers from last year's inaugural Sydney event, the intriguing dinner treated foodies and cultural enthusiasts to an unforgettable evening of elegance, beauty and magic. True to tradition, guests gathered at meeting points all across Sydney to have the secret dinner location revealed to them at the very last moment. 

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      Adventures and Adrenaline Thrills in Sydney

      When we picture Sydney, we often think of the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and the busy, modern CBD of the city. However, there’s a whole lot more to Australia’s biggest city, and it’s just waiting for you to find it. 

      Travel west from the CBD for a short while and you’ll hit Katoomba and the Blue Mountains, where ancient rock formations and the natural landscape will take your breath away. 

      If you like friendly combat, there’s paintball at Ryde, and those wanting to combine adrenaline and adventure you can even walk atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Read on to discover Sydney’s secrets! 

      Scenic Tour of Katoomba and Blue Mountains 

      Katoomba is an area of Australia that is truly ancient and steeped in a mountain of cultural history. The Blue Mountains, located in the Katoomba area about 90 minutes west of Sydney CBD, are natural rock formations that make up a landscape well documented and referenced by Indigenous Australians. 

      Beyond the history and the stories about the area, the actual appearance of the Mountains and natural features such as the Three Sisters are amazing to behold. 

      These natural landforms could be the subject of countless Indigenous legends and dreamtime mythology is a testament to the impact they have had on people who encountered them. Best of all, there is a scenic sky-rail in operation that takes visitors high up in the air and reveals amazing panoramic views of the whole area, and a scenic railway that has a 64-degree incline. For these reasons and more, a scenic exploration of the Blue Mountains and Three Sisters should feature prominently in any travellers to-do-list! 

      Paintball in Ryde 

      Paintball is a typical pastime for the adrenaline junkie. It has all the action and tension you could want in an activity, from the need to be physically fit and dexterous and of course, to have good eyesight, to the absolute need to avoid getting plastered in paint from the opposition. 

      Ryde, about twenty minutes North-west of Sydney CBD, is the place you go to when you want to suit up in fatigues and let out your inner-Rambo while your friends do the same. 

      Choose from a range of different paintball weapons to suit your needs, go over tactics with teammates (if you’re the organized type!) and let your trigger finger loose while taking cover behind parts of the challenging obstacle course. Let the games begin… 

      Harbour Bridge Climb

      To top it all off, we have the walk across the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge, which combines both adrenaline and excitement in the one outing. No list of exciting activities in Sydney would be complete without it. 

      Secured safely with a harness and supervised by experienced staff, you make your ascent to the apex of the bridge and stare from a great height across all that Sydney Harbour has to offer. The climb is completely safe, but will give you both a rush of adrenaline and a feeling of awe as you gaze at the magnificent Harbour City. Dawn, dusk, and night-time climbs are also available. 

      And lastly… 

      These activities are but a few of the many that Sydney has to offer for adventurers and thrill-seekers, so be sure to keep an eye out for sky-diving, quad-biking, and cliff-climbing. 

      Also, when it comes to thrill-seeking, it’s important to push your comfort zone but also stay safe while doing so. Never do something that you feel uncomfortable with, always read the waiver carefully and make sure you get travel insurance for peace of mind when chasing those adrenaline rushes! 

      Michael is an avid adventurer and Sydneysider who wants to tell the world about his city’s more adventurous side.

      Good Food Month Sydney - Get On It!

      Good Food Month

      A mix of always-popular favourites and exciting one-offs, Australia’s largest food festival hits Sydney this October and brings with it some of the country’s best chefs, restaurants, farmers, wine experts and artisan food producers across more than 500 events.

      Capturing tastebuds around the country, the program for The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Month presented by Citi, launches today in Good Food and online at www.goodfoodmonth.com. Annual favourites such as the Night Noodle Markets, Let’s Do Lunch and Hats Off Dinners make a welcome return, along with new exciting events including Breakfast Club, Supper Club and Good Dinners Under $30.

      Festival director, Joanna Savill said: “As we relaunch to Good Food Month, an event which started 15 years ago in Sydney, we celebrate all that is great about our outstanding and remarkably diverse food scene. The program is packed and there is truly something for everyone.

      “We're thrilled to unveil some extraordinary events with special guest chef René Redzepi from Noma in Copenhagen, ranked second in the World's 50 Best Restaurants list, along with a host of fun and inventive local food and drink experiences that are sure to make October a wonderful time for sharing, discovering and celebrating!"

      • The Great Australian Dinner with René Redzepi
      • 15th Annual Young Chefs Dinner (October 21 and 22) – the best and brightest next gen chefs.
      • Good Dinners Under $30
      • Night Noodle Markets
      • Pyrmont Growers’ Market
      • Omnivore
      • Hats Off DinnersThe Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide
      • Breakfast Club
      • Surprise Saturday Lunch
      • World Dinners
      • Supper Club
      • Bar Hop
      • Drink and Dine
      • Good Pub Grub

      There’s  also a range of Instant Expert masterclasses and guided discovery tours around Sydney by food artisans and experts..

      Add new dimensions to a culinary experience with the Art and Food events as well as pop-ups, parties, and markets. Sydney laneways turn into alfresco dining destinations with Laneways Come Alive.

      Community and Outdoor Festivals including Best from the West, Jewish Food Culture Fest, Norton Street Italian Festa and Fairfield Culinary Carnivale, bring people together to share, celebrate and soak up the tastes of this vibrantly diverse food city.

      Families can enjoy cooking classes with Kids in the Kitchen, and take advantage of the family-friendly Family Table at selected Good Food Guide hatted restaurants.

      Green events are in demand as the Grow Your Own movement takes off. The Regional Table producer dinners showcase the bounty of regional NSW, while Kitchen Gardening workshops, Down to Earth menus and Thinking Food talks provide inspiration and education.

      Good Food Month is part of the celebration of food and drinks that is the Fairfax Good Food network, featuring The Sydney Morning Herald's Good Food, The Age's Epicure, The Canberra Times' Food & Wine sections, brisbanetimes.com.au as well as the ultimate resource for all things eating in, out and everything in between: goodfood.com.au.

      For the full program, see goodfoodmonth.com.

      Four Tips for the Budding Fashion Stylist

      Australia's Vass Arvanitis, the red-carpet stylist of choice for discerning celebrities,
      designers and editors such as Natalie Bassingthwaite and Alex Perry, shares the vital
      attributes for being a fashion stylist.

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