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Sydney's Art & Soul Food

Sydney CBD | Taste of Australia with Hayden Quinn: Sydney Edition CREDIT: Destination NSW

Hayden Quinn walking past Sydney Opera House.

#ilovesydney

Sydney's Art
& Soul Food

Sydney CBD | Taste of Australia with Hayden Quinn: Sydney Edition CREDIT: Destination NSW

Hayden Quinn walking past Sydney Opera House.

#ilovesydney

Hashtags #ilovesydney

From its 18th Century hand-cobbled streets to its sparkling, ultra-modern skyline, Sydney’s always had creativity at its heart. And the same pioneering spirit that powered the city’s evolution from convict colony to world-class innovation hub thrives in its art and cuisine.

“Art and food go hand-in-hand in Sydney,” says Hayden Quinn, foodie and host of Taste of Australia with Hayden Quinn: Sydney Edition. “And with buzzing small bars, inventive eateries and eclectic art to discover around the Sydney Harbour and beyond, it’s easy to lose yourself in the city’s laneways and creative precincts.”

Get a taste of the city’s creativity on The Rocks Art Trail, where you can wander through 22 galleries housed inside architectural standouts (think: convict-built terraces, mid-century modern and art deco facades, and futuristic skyscrapers). At The Rocks Markets, meet the makers and take your pick of locally made artisanal wares, with handcrafted wooden toys, leather goods, jewellery, ceramics, paintings, hand-dyed silks and photographic prints all on offer.

Sydney’s innovative spirit lives in the very buildings that come together to create its iconic skyline, and you can delve deeper on a tour with Sydney Architecture Walks, created by acclaimed architect Eoghan Lewis. There’s a range of different tours to choose from around the Harbour, through the city centre and across the inner-city suburbs, with each offering the chance to discover Sydney’s unfolding story through its most celebrated architecture.

The Rocks Markets, The Rocks CREDIT: Destination NSW

The Rocks Friday Markets on Playfair Street, The Rocks

#ilovesydney

The Rocks Markets, The Rocks CREDIT: Destination NSW

The Rocks Friday Markets on Playfair Street, The Rocks

#ilovesydney

Sydney CBD | Taste of Australia with Hayden Quinn: Sydney Edition CREDIT: Destination NSW

Eoghan Lewis from Sydney Architecture Walks with Hayden Quinn walking past Sydney Opera House.

#ilovesydney

Sydney CBD | Taste of Australia with Hayden Quinn: Sydney Edition CREDIT: Destination NSW

Eoghan Lewis from Sydney Architecture Walks with Hayden Quinn walking past Sydney Opera House.

#ilovesydney

When you’ve worked up an appetite exploring, reward yourself with bold, creative flavours in The Rocks at Pony Dining, where the Argentinian wood-fire grill sizzles up fine cuts of meat, and inventive dishes like Kangaroo Tartare, Twice-Cooked Gruyere Souffle and Ranger’s Valley Wagyu Brisket make for a memorable feast. Fancy hitting the grill yourself? Head to Phillips Foote historic bar and restaurant, where you can cook your own Sydney Cut Sirloin on their courtyard barbecue. Or, if you prefer to leave the culinary arts to the professionals, book a table at Sergeant Lok for modern Chinese favourites like Abalone Tarts, Shandong Chicken and Osmanthus Jelly in the old, Heritage-listed police station.  

Walk a few minutes deeper into the city and you’ll find the YCK Laneways – 17 of Sydney’s best small bars, all hidden in the laneways, industrial storehouses and heritage carriageways around York, Clarence and Kent Streets. From cosy speakeasies to glam rooftop bars, each offers an impressive collection of sips and snacks. For rooftop views with a standout spread of share plates (think: Duck Tostadas with Thai Slaw, Bolognese Arancini and Sydney Rock Oysters), head to The Rook. Put the “bar” into a trip to the barber’s at The Barber Shop, created by Mikey Enright. Here you can choose from more than 40 gins and whiskeys, and kick back and enjoy the eclectic mood with a haircut or beard trim. Soak up the small neighbourhood bar vibes and live tunes at Since I Left You, (and don’t miss their signature cocktail, the SILY Hard Lemonade, or their Jaffa Whiskey Sour.) For old-school games-night vibes, meet your mates at Spawn Point Bar for a night of retro gaming and a wide selection of spirits, beers and bar snacks. Or, venture underground to bend your arm at The Lobo – a moody basement rum bar where you can kick back in Chesterfield booths and soak up the Cuban charm.

Sydney CBD | Taste of Australia with Hayden Quinn: Sydney Edition CREDIT: Destination NSW

Mikey Enright and Hayden Quinn at The Barber Shop Sydney.

#ilovesydney

Sydney CBD | Taste of Australia with Hayden Quinn: Sydney Edition CREDIT: Destination NSW

Mikey Enright and Hayden Quinn at The Barber Shop Sydney.

#ilovesydney

Spice Alley, Chippendale CREDIT: Destination NSW

A variety of Asian hawker-style street food from Spice Alley, Chippendale.

#ilovesydney

Spice Alley, Chippendale CREDIT: Destination NSW

A variety of Asian hawker-style street food from Spice Alley, Chippendale.

#ilovesydney

The lively laneway scene continues just south of the city centre in nearby Chippendale, where street art, small bars and casual dining come together in riotous colour. Meander through terrace-lined streets to discover the vibrant, politically charged works of acclaimed local graffiti artists like Scott Marsh and Fintan Magee, and drop into galleries like White Rabbit, Goodspace, Nanda\Hobbs, Galerie Pompom and Peach Black for local art or a painting class. When you’re ready to refuel, head to Spice Alley on Kensington Street, where 6 acclaimed eateries offer up a tasty spread of Asian street-food in a fun alfresco setting. Afterwards, kick back with a drink at Gin Lane, or charge your glass with Sochu, sake and Japanese whisky at Blossom Bar.

The creative vibes continue at Carriageworks and South Eveleigh, where the heritage Eveleigh Locomotive Workshops now house Australia’s largest multi-arts centre. Here, the creativity of Sydney’s diverse urban communities is celebrated through various art fairs, festivals, fashion shows, modern dance performances, live music and rustic farmers’ markets – the unique steampunk setting firing up the imagination at every event.

It also fires up the appetite – and the precinct caters to a range of tastes while showing off its innovative heart. Start at Matt Whiley’s Re – which walks the sustainability talk by aiming to become the world’s first 100 per cent waste-free bar, and using diverted waste to create its chic interiors (including benches built from recycled plastic bottles, upholstery made with pineapple-leaf fibre and recycled Maison Balzac glassware). This inventive approach to sustainability filters through to the cocktail menu, where seasonal but “imperfect” fruit and vegetables are given starring roles in reinvented classics, standout high-balls and knockout spritzes.

This ethos of sustainability literally springs to life at the South Eveleigh Community Rooftop Garden, created by renowned horticulturalist, proud Bundjalung man and Gardening Australia presenter, Clarence Slockee. Here, an Indigenous planting scheme showcases a variety of native cultural, medicinal and edible plants that go on to star on the precinct’s various menus.

South Eveleigh Community Rooftop Garden, Eveleigh CREDIT: Destination NSW

Native indigenous bush plants at South Eveleigh Community Rooftop Garden

#ilovesydney

South Eveleigh Community Rooftop Garden, Eveleigh CREDIT: Destination NSW

Native indigenous bush plants at South Eveleigh Community Rooftop Garden

#ilovesydney

The range of cuisines and native ingredients available here truly epitomises Sydney and its rich multiculturalism, and there’s a new fusion to discover at every turn. For example, acclaimed eatery, Lucky Kwong, is known for its forward-thinking approach, with celebrity chef Kylie Kwong celebrating Australian native ingredients like bush mint, local honey, and Davidson’s plum in a range of traditional Cantonese dishes. For an additional fix of multicultural flavours, visit family-run Vietnamese eatery Eat Fuh for cooked-from-scratch pho, BEKYA for traditional falafel wrap or RaRa Chan for their signature Pork Gyoza, Tsukemen Noodles and Chicken Karaage.

Once you’ve had your fill of fresh flavours, it’s time to get your hands dirty and explore your own creativity. Set your steampunk spirit free in an old-school blacksmithing and toolmaking course at Eveleigh Works, where you’ll use a hammer and fire to forge your own axes, knives, hammers and tongs. Or, just 5 minutes’ walk away at Work-Shop in Redfern, you can join a class with local artisans and learn watercolour, kintsugi, pottery and welding, as well as create your own paper, pottery, soap, street art, candles and more. Whichever creative adventure you choose, colourful, character-filled Sydney always inspires. 

Across the area, there are countless options for overnight stays. In the Rocks, make a night of it at the charming Harbour Rocks Hotel Sydney  – a five-star heritage hotel on the original grounds of Sydney Hospital.  For easy access to the laneway bar scene, book into the plush Little National Hotel which is connected to Sydney’s iconic attractions via undercover pathways. Closer to the Eveleigh precinct, spend a night at the vibrant Veriu Green Square, the SKYE Suites Green Square, or the Old Clare Hotel in Chippendale.

Little National Hotel, Sydney CREDIT: Little National Hotel

The rooftop lounge at the Little National, in Wynyard in Sydney.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Little National Hotel, Sydney CREDIT: Little National Hotel

The rooftop lounge at the Little National, in Wynyard in Sydney.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

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