24 Hours To Dine: Luke Elliott’s Guide To Eating & Drinking Well In Sydney
… is the co-founder and executive director of the Catcha Group, as well as the co-founder of iflix and iCar Asia. He is also husband to Jenn Low, founder of Wanderlust+Co, who describes him as a top-rate, low profile foodie.
Life Around The Barbie
It's a stereotype that's founded on truth: Life in Australia often revolves around 'the barbie' or the barbecue. "The smell of crustaceans grilling outdoors is particularly 'Sydney' to me," said Elliott. "Whenever I encounter that smell, I think of my family sitting outdoors, having a few drinks, and sharing whatever comes off the BBQ."
A Melting Pot Of Flavours
What makes Sydney's food scene so vibrant? "Besides being blessed with exceptional produce—the seafood in particular is truly world class—there are multicultural influences and a willingness to try new things. This gives chefs the courage to experiment, which is bound to create more vibrancy and excitement," suggests Elliott. "I am usually back in Sydney two to three times a year for work, and once or twice for family gatherings, and always make sure to check out a few new restaurants each time."
My childhood weekends always involved some form of open fire cooking, and almost always with seafood.
Breakfast - Paramount Coffee Project Or A1 Canteen
While The Grounds of Alexandria is probably the most Instagram-friendly breakfast spot in town, I think Paramount Coffee Project and A1 Canteen have it beat.
A1 Canteen in particular has a unique take on brunch classics that are outstanding (the Crumbed Eggs on Toast sees soft-boiled eggs that have been 'breaded' and served atop crispy sourdough with mustard-braised ham hock and kale). Their sister restaurant, Automata, is also a great place to experience Australia’s next wave of restaurants playing at the cutting edge.
Paramount Coffee Project | 80 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia | +61 2 9211 1122
A1 Canteen | Ground 2/10 Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008, Australia | +61 2 9280 3285
Elevenses – Gumption By Coffee Alchemy
Mid-morning is all about coffee, which is pretty great in Sydney as in the rest of Australia. Any café you see offering hand drip or pour over coffee instead of just espresso-based drinks is probably taking their coffee more seriously. Gumption by Coffee Alchemy in Strand Arcade is a very good example.
Gumption by Coffee Alchemy | Shop 11, The Strand Arcade, 412-414 George St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia | +61 2 9516 1997
Lunch – Saint Peter Or Rockpool Bar & Grill
If you are visiting on a weekend, swing by Saint Peter, a restaurant that treats seafood (and fish in particular) with an almost religious reverence. There is nothing like it.
A classic alternative is Rockpool Bar & Grill, showcasing the best produce in Australia, cooked incredibly well. The bar also serves great food in its own right.
Saint Peter | 362 Oxford St, Paddington NSW 2021, Australia | +61 2 8937 2530
Rockpool Bar & Grill | 66 Hunter St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia | +61 2 8099 7077
Drinks - 10 William St, Poly, Dear Saint Eloise & More
I drink a lot of wine, and tend to frequent wine bars for pre or post dinner drinks—or for dinner itself. Some of my favourites in Sydney are 10 William St, Poly and Dear Saint Eloise. For a modern take on the Aussie pub, The Dolphin Hotel is pretty cool. For something more traditional, the Lord Dudley in Paddington is always good. If it’s a special night that feels like it needs to be bigger, Jacoby’s in Enmore is always a good laugh.
See also: Wining & Dining With Yvonne Chiong Mougin Of Opus One
Dinner - Ester
Ester is probably the most exciting restaurant in Sydney right now and has been at the top of the tree for some time. It’s casual but extremely serious and each and every one of the staff is passionate about what he or she is doing.
Ester Restaurant | 46-52 Meagher St, Chippendale NSW 2008, Australia | +61 2 8068 8279
If there is one restaurant to visit in Sydney, this is the one.
— Luke Elliott
Final Tips About Sydney
- Sydney is a huge city and public transportation limited, so scrutinising its geography is important to planning a great 24 hours.
- The Coogee Pavilion has the triple-threat of a children’s play area, a beachside location, and great food and drinks. It’s a regular haunt for us whenever we are in Sydney—everyone loves it.