Friday, April 1, 2011

Surry Hills: Notting Hill in Sydney

Sunglassed yummy mummies pushing prams, arty designer types working on iPads and stylish bars lining the streets. I'm in Surry Hills, AKA Notting Hill when you're Down Undah. Bushy, breezy trees line the wide avenues and from brunch to bistros, this is the chic and creative South East Sydney spot.

Should a trip into a Sydney neighbourhood tempt you, it's a pleasure walking around these pastel-washed detached houses, with dainty iron gates. Although home to chef hat restaurants like Billy Kwong and Bill's, there is more to explore and fall in love with. If I may suggest an itinerary...

Start off for brunch at The Book Kitchen, a restaurant and food bookshop. Sit around the large wooden table for sharing, amidst wonderful food books, faced by a handsome, ornate flower arrangement. Casual and polished at the same time. Spanish Eggs with capsicums and oregano arrived on top tomatoes so caramel-y it could have been a jam. The sweet stew mixed with the yellow eggy ooze was a devilishly good combination. Add the spicy chorizo, wipe it all up with grilled sourdough and you can take on the world after brunch. The roast pumpkin omelette with sage stood robust and sturdy, garnished by asparagus. Delight in the fluffy egg and cheeky Tallegio middle.

Because Sydney-siders are big on breakfast/brunch (so, no need for lunch) and you'll be distracted by trendy boutiques and cafes, all you'll need mid-afternoon is a pastry from Bourke Street Bakery. This bitsy boulangerie is exactly like their products, small, sweet and delicious. Its urban legend is for real - the dark chocolate raspberry tart had a light crumbly pastry which smelt butterlicious and the svelte centre was better than, a-hem, some! (Also featuring macarons of the moment from Adriano Zumbo in Balmain, who in Sydney is synonymous with exquisite pastries. Friend E would not let me leave without these - thank you for that enlightenment!)

Enjoy a pre-dinner drink at Pocket, a grungy bar/restaurant with Liechtenstein-esque murals and couches aplenty. Classic cocktails and a decent wine list are the perfect appetiser.

Come dinner, the closest we got to the English gastropub was The Winery, where I had the most impressive-looking pie. One doesn't always get a Lamb Shank proudly thrust in its casing, like Excalibur waiting to be unsheathed! Stewed in red wine, with meat falling off the bone and buttery mash at the bottom, it's a hearty bundle of yum. It has a retro-glitzy outdoor garden with fairy lights strewn over overhanging branches, creating a canopy over velvet chaise lounges.  

Ah, life is sweet, though not cheap as we're in pretty-land. Darn you, Aussie dollar for being high against the Sterling at time of writing/eating! A glass of vino was on average AUD$9 and meals being AUD$20 in the Hills. What can I say, you only live once.

Book Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Bourke Street Bakery on Urbanspoon

Pocket Bar on Urbanspoon

The Winery on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

I'm Australian, just moved back to Sydney and into Surry Hills having just left London and lived in Notting Hill for 5 years.

Please, please, please, dont insult Notting Hill.

Hungry Female said...

No insult intended at all, I love both Surry and Notting Hill. Are you unhappy in SH? And, why? HF