Gamarada Tours conduct cultural and adventure tours operating from Sydney. With a focus on small groups and interaction with local people, you can experience a part of the country few get to see. Find Out More….
Red Lantern brings the flavours of Saigon to a terrace house in Surry Hills. Headed by chef Luke Ngyuen, who is well-known for his TV appearances, cookbooks and love of Vietnamese food, Red Lantern packs a big punch and draws diners in droves. Ngyuen and his sister, Pauline Nguyen, and her partner Mark Jensen, own Red Lantern and have created a super-stylish eatery, one that encompasses classic Vietnamese cuisine, sustainable ingredients and a beautiful dining room.
Located on Crown Street, in the heart of Surry Hills’ dining precent, Red Lantern covers every nook and cranny of an old terrace house. The décor is dark and moody with black, gold and red colours dominating. Nice touches such as the red lampshades and polished wooden floorboards give the restaurant are more homely feel than many other fine diners. And whilst a step up from your usual suburban Vietnamese restaurant experience, and it must be said, a considerable step-up in price, Red Lantern does classic Vietnamese with flair.
Starters include favourites such as rice paper rolls, chilli salted squid and a salad of duck breast. Goi Cuon – rice paper rolls with prawns, pork, vermicelli, perilla leaves and garlic chives makes a perfect start to the meal. Other entrees such as Goi Du Du – twice cooked pork belly, tiger prawns, green papaya, perilla and mint; and Muc Rang Muo – lightly battered chilli salted squid, are also popular.
The main courses are where Red Lantern really shines. Ca Chien Don – snapper, with a salad of green mango, radish and Vietnamese herbs; and Ca Hap Ca Cot Dua – trevalla poached in prawn, tomato and coconut bisque are both fresh and delicious and more than a little step-up from fish dishes at other Vietnamese restaurants. King prawns with Red Lantern XO sauce and glass noodles is another highlight.
The dessert menu is similarly impressive. Com Nep La Chuoi – red sticky rice in banana leaf; and Kem Flan – coconut Crème Caramel are deliciously indulgent way to end your meal at Red Lantern.
The tasting menu is one of the most popular options at Red Lantern – especially for groups – and allows you to sample some of the best dishes on the menu without having to agonise over which ones you will be missing. There are various tasting menus available, including ones which include dessert and matching wines.
Red Lantern is located at 545 Crown St, Surry Hills. Opening hours are: lunch Tue-Fri 12noon-2pm; dinner daily 6pm-late.
Housed in one of Sydney’s most iconic buildings, Guillaume at Bennelong offers a very special dining experience in a very special location. But far from trading on its location alone, chef Guillaume Brahimi has created a modern Australian and French restaurant that gives you a whole new reason to visit the Opera House.
Established in 2001, Guillaume at Bennelong sits in the southern sail of the Opera House and is spread across several levels. There are three sections: a cocktail bar, a main dining area, and the dining floor. The cocktail bar is the place to have a drink or sample the tapas menu before a show at the Opera House, while the dining area and dining floor are the more formal dining areas. The interiors are super slick and tastefully furnished, while the high ceilings ensure every seat in the house offers remarkable views of the Botanic Gardens, Circular Quay and of course, the Harbour Bridge.
Guillaume at Bennelong offers both an a la carte and a degustation menu. Both menus vary with the seasons, and are subject to change, but the most popular starter remains Guillaume’s signature entree of yellow fin tuna, served with a soy and mustard seed vinaigrette. Other starters, like the scallops with caviar, and the king prawn ravioli, also tips diners off to the fact that they are not in for a mundane dining experience.
The hits keep coming when the menu moves to mains. The John Dory fillet, served with carrot and ginger puree, coriander and pommes allumettes is a very upmarket rendition of fish and chips. Similarly, steamed pink snapper fillet with clams and mussels doesn’t disappoint. Red meat options such as the braised lamb shoulder and beef tenderloin are both rich and hearty dishes.
Sampling the dessert menu at Guillaume at Bennelong is a must. The payoffs are evident in the restaurant’s much talked about chocolate soufflé, which is sweet, flavoursome and delicious. The dessert menu also includes hits like fresh raspberries with pistachio gateau, vanilla cream and raspberry sorbet; and the pineapple tart with coconut sorbet. And with the restaurants French connections, it’s also hard to go past the excellent cheese selection on offer.
Guillaume at Bennelong boasts a very impressive wine list. Sommelier John Clancy presides over a cellar housing 400 varieties of mainly Australian and French wines, with a heavy emphasis on wines from the Bordeaux region.
Guillaume at Bennelong is located at the Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Circular Quay. Opening hours are: lunch Thu-Fri 12noon-3pm; dinner Mon-Sat 5.30pm-late.
Englishman Jamie Oliver is one of the world’s most famous chefs. From TV shows to cookbooks, from charities to restaurants, Oliver’s got quite a few fingers in the pie. And so it was with much fanfare that his latest branch of Jamie’s Italian landed in Sydney late last year. Despite its short lifespan and no reservations policy, Jamie’s Italian pulls in diners like nothing else in town.
Located on Pitt Street, Jamie’s Italian is housed in a whopping space, which is part industrial warehouse and part mega bistro. The space is loud and brash; this probably isn’t the place for a romantic candlelit dinner, unless of course, your date really likes Jamie Oliver. The whole experience, from the no-reservations policy to the ultra efficient service is designed to feed as many people as possible, as fast as possible. But despite the quick turnover of diners, the wait for a table can still be very long. Schedule your visit for early evening or mid-week unless you want to wait for a very long time.
The food is comforting and accessible, despite some left-field entries. Jamie Oliver says he serves food that Italians love eating, but Italians rarely eat things such as the Italian nachos – deep-fried ravioli or the Italiano burger for that matter – but they’re both pretty tasty all the same.
The entrees include dishes such as mini chilli peppers, marinated sardines and a host of creative brushchettas – spanner crab with zesty mayo for example. The antipasti selection is similarly creative with a good selection of meat and vegetable ‘planks’ and some tasty mozzarella and gorgonzola salads. The arancini balls are a hit, and can lay claim to being the most authentically Italian dish.
The pasta courses consist of classics such as spaghetti bolognaise, bucatini carbonara and fusili arrabiata. Risotto and ravioli dishes don’t steer to far from course, but are good value just the same.
The secondi courses are where Jamie’s Italian really hits its stride. The Ligurian fish stew served with crunchy crostini, ripped herbs and wild garlic aioli is a major highlight. Tuscan wild boar sausages are also a rather fancy way to enjoy bangers and mash. The grilled chicken, baby pink snapper and veal saltimbocca are also worth a look to find out where Oliver hits his mark.
The wine list covers varieties from Italy and Victoria and includes a number of sweet wines and a few drops that are hard to find. The desserts are also pretty good, with the best bets being Italian standards like affogato, tiramisu and panna cotta.
Jamie’s Italian is located at 107 Pitt St, City. Opening hours are Mon-Sat 11:30-Late.