Pyrmont restaurants

There are quite a few Pyrmont Restaurants around but it never seems to be enough. Pyrmont locals say there are not enough “good” restaurants.

You see, “good” is a highly subjective word. What is good anyway? Surely for one suburb, Pyrmont has its fair share of famous, even 3 hats fancy restaurants. That’s still not enough?

I figured over the years, that “good” means a restaurant offers food good for our eyes (remember our eyes eat first), good for our taste buds, and good for our wallet. And of course, good service.

Are many of restaurants offer all the above around town? Not that many. But they do, they’ll be rewarded by repeating customers and years of striving business.

I don’t know how old exactly is Cafe XXII but it grabbed my attention 8 years ago, when I first moved to Pyrmont. Why? Because every time I walked pass, it seemed to be packed. Especially in the morning, people were queuing up for their coffee. “They must have good coffee.” That was my first thought, then I noticed they had hunky waiters with broad smiles. That helped too, obviously.

I never bothered to join the queue to get a coffee because patience is not one of my virtues. But I managed to go there for brunches and breakfast, dragging my friends to go with me every time. It never disappointed, all my friends liked the food and coffee there. Then a few years later, something seemed different. The place was less packed. People started to mention that Cafe XII changed owners. It doesn’t really matter, or does it? I never know. Guess I’m not that regular enough to tell. I don’t really care who owns the restaurant anyway, as long as the quality is still the same. As someone who’s always hungry and keen to try different places,  I moved around to try different pyrmont restaurants over the years.

When Sylwia suggested to catch up  for breakfast in Pyrmont last Saturday, Cafe XXII came to my mind. Can’t remember how long ago exactly I was there last time. But last Saturday was a perfect day to go. For two reasons: 1. I trust its breakfast quality. 2. It was cloudy and supposed to rain.

You might ask, what’s the weather got to do with your restaurant choice? Let me tell you why.

It goes back to the history of Pyrmont as a suburb. It short, Pyrmont used to be a slump. Yeah. The suburb is packed with dark little houses with tiny rooms and low ceilings catered to laborers who worked in the Sydney CBD. But don’t start to disdain those old little houses in Pyrmont now. Those ones with only 2 tiny rooms renovated inside, no parking will cost you close to 2 million dollars now. Long story short, Cafe XXII is located in one of those dark little sandstone houses and mainly facing South. In Australia, it means, there will never be any sun light in any of the rooms. Don’t get me wrong, I like the interior of XXII. It’s so charming with all rooms connected to each other, exposed brick walls and clever large open windows. But I like the sun more, so on a sunny weekend morning, my choice will be Zebra Lounge with beautiful water views.

But Cafe XXII, on the other hand, is perfect for a not so sunny day. It’s cozy + warm inside and you can hear the rain drops on its tin roof when it’s raining. The sound I kind of enjoy.

So there we went, being the first customers at 8am on a not so warm Saturday morning. What did we have? Coffee first, of course.

I ordered the Florentine: poached eggs, toasted muffin, smoked salmon, spinach & hollandaise. Here’s a snap:

Pyrmont restaurants

Sylwia ordered the Breakfast Stack: two free range poached eggs on sour dough, oven roasted tomato, haloumi, fresh avocado, rocket, basil pesto & aioli. Here’s another quick snap to give you an idea what it looked like: the plate on top. They tasted just as good as they looked.

Pyrmont restaurants

By the time our breakfast was ready, people and occasional dogs started to fill up the space slowly. As we sat there, enjoying our breakfast, it started to rain lightly outside, just as expected:).
Alpha Restaurant on Urbanspoon

A friend of mine organised a birthday dinner a couple of weeks ago at Sydney Newtown Hotel. Always keen to try something new, I went along since I’d never eaten at Newtown Hotel before.

For those of you who don’t know Sydney well, Newtown is a bohemian part of town. I would like to think the reason I don’t go Newtown very often is because it’s very hard to find parking there, not because I’m not hip enough;).

It was a cold and wet night, dinner was booked from 7pm. I arrived at 6.55pm and found nobody else in the group there. Instead of worrying the whole dinner thing was a joke, I started to look around and was impressed by its character. Pardon my phone snaps, but you got the idea.

3 Highlights Of Newtown Hotel Food Experience
3 Highlights Of Newtown Hotel Food Experience

Slowly, our group of people started to emerge. It was the traffic holding them back indeed. Looking out from the balcony, it was a river of steel (static cars) out there on the main street.

3 Highlights Of Newtown Hotel Food Experience

1. The bohemian atmosphere & deco.
It was stylishly dark inside and dotted with funky decorations everywhere. I’m sure there’s more to explore coming in another day. This is a picture of the main table for us before everyone arrived, because we had 20 something people, the other corner of the room was reserved for us as well.

3 Highlights Of Newtown Hotel Food Experience

2. Healthy selection of banquet menu.
It was a feast! Food seemed to keep coming, yet none of the them is your typical pub dish. Olives, Grilled haloumi, Braised green beans,Roasted spuds, Beetroot salad & Cabbage Salad! Doesn’t sound like a vegetarian restaurant so far? 🙂

But wait, there were big servings of coal roasted lamb and chicken for meet lovers too. Lamb was tender & tasty. Chicken was plentiful & all breast. I don’t do breast but a friend sitting opposite to me enjoyed it thoroughly – chicken breast is his favorite.

3 Highlights Of Newtown Hotel Food Experience

Photo of food served from Newtown Hotel website, I was too busy eating and chatting of course…

3. The wicket chocolate brownie!
The friend who loves chicken breast told me he’s not a desert person, but he would be always ready for this chocolate brownie.
Oh boy, how wicked was that chocolate brownie! If there were a second serving,  I would have devoured it with absolute pleasure again.

This is the Newtown Hotel banquet menu for 8 people or more:

3 Highlights Of Newtown Hotel Food Experience

It think it’s a terrific idea to have a group get together in NewTown Hotel. Will I come back again? You bet.
Alpha Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Why Kobe Jones?

Because it’s in my neighborhood.

I Love Japanese food.

A friend of mine mentioned the name a few times. I think they offer 50% vouchers very often.

It was towards the end of summer when we went for dinner and windows were wide open. I don’t remember they had air conditioning on so the open view and flow of air were much appreciated.

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We tried the Summer Sunset menu and one by one the dished are served. Prawns, salmon, scallop, lobster meat, wagyu beef and crab pieces… everything sounded mouth watering , but…

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The presentation was really nice but the taste somehow couldn’t match the expectation of fine dinning & the price tag of $175 to go with it.

The dish we both enjoyed the most is this: Spicy Lobster Roll, it was nicely presented and delicious!

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Alpha Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Alpha restaurant sydney

A group of us went to Alpha for a birthday celebration the other Saturday & had a great time catching up.

Because we went as a group for lunch, we were serviced the family style lunch menu that consists those dishes:

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Apart from great company, there are three positive points about Alpha that made the lunch so enjoyable.

  • The clever & elegant fit-out

I must say, to me the highlight of Alpha restaurant is how it has been designed. The high ceiling dinning room is decorated with large brown bird cage like, fishnet inspired hanging lights and a battered looking Greek inscribed wall. On the street front, the main white entrance to the dinning room is adjacent to a cafe with casual wooden tables and stools. The upper levels of the building again, have a kind of battered Grecian appearance. What a good mix of ancient Greek & modernism inside out. I don’t pretend to be a big fan of Greek food but I can come anytime, just to admire Alpha’s fit-out.

Alpha restaurant sydney

Mobile snaps of Alpha Restaurant Sydney



  • Lightness in flavor

None of the dishes on the 7 course lunch menu was packed with flavor but I much appreciated the lightness of food serviced at the Alpha restaurant. There’s an organic & healthy feel to all the dishes. Noting is too oily or salty. My personal favorites are the smoke eggplant dip and spinach pies.

  • Big servings

If you are hungry, you at in the right restaurant. The servings are huge & there’s plenty of food for everyone.

I love seafood so the only downside of the meal experience was missing out the opportunity to pick and try any Alpha’s seafood dish. However that gave me an excuse to go back one day, it’s my kind of place just to sit back and relax.
Alpha Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Naturally I’m the adventurous, reckless type. For the sake of curiosity, I wouldn’t hesitate to travel to places where most people consider dangerous. Try different food. Try different career paths. Go out with different type of people. Dye my hair to different hair colors… But as I grow order (OMG, can’t believe once upon a time I couldn’t wait to grow up!), things have changed.  Suddenly I have a list. An old favorite list.  A list of things like my favorite local Thai restaurant, my favorite gardener when I need something basic to be done, my favorite tailor, my favorite website designer, my favorite handbag brand, my favorite seafood shop in Sydney fish market for mud crabs… I’m still open to adventures but for certain things I stick to my list.  Because I know that way, I won’t get nasty surprises.  Vapiano is my new favorite restaurant when I want satisfying – safe food away from home.

Has it ever happened to you? You were new in town. You wanted to eat out but had no idea which restaurant to go to. You finally picked one to try your luck. The food was awful and you thought even Macca’s was better than that. It happens to me less since I found Vapiano.

Vapiano is a German fresh casual restaurant chain offering Italian food. The concept is to “offer a dining experience that combines fast food and a more extravagant experience.” They are not your usually type of sit and order restaurants. The food was made to order and you get to watch the whole process. Every dinner get a chip card to be waved in front of the bar counter when ordering food and drink. When the dinner is finished, the card is waved in front of the register and the bill appears on the screen.

The best thing I like about Vapiano is the freshness of the food. You order your dish from the pizza or pasta bar, they cook your meal right in front of you. There are many different kinds of freshly cooked pasta in plastic containers, right behind the chef. You pick the pasta/pizza you like and tell the chef what ingredients/toppings you want from the menu. You watch they cook while waiting in line. You take your dish to the dinning table and pick fresh herbs from the pots on your table. I thought that is the cutest idea.

It’s a great place to catch up with friends in a relaxed atmosphere. We had dinner one day with friends at Vapiano Dortmund. It was packed. You’ll undertand after you try… freshly cooked, tasty Italian food for just around 6- 9 euros. Why wouldn’t it be popular? And the tea bottles are so pretty that I want to take them all home.

The good thing in Europe is you get these hop on hop off bicycle racks everywhere. The first half hour is free. Talk about convenience!

There are lots of Vapiano all over the world. I haven’t been to the ones in QLD and Melbourne. There isn’t any Vapiano in Sydney yet. I wonder if that has something to do with the ridiculously high rent and labor cost in Sydney. Luckily I don’t really need one close to home.  If you ever have trouble finding a good, reliable eating place my friend, look out for Vapiano.