Friday, 24 June 2011

more hidden gems

You know the deal. You live your life in routine: Work, your favourite neighbourhood wine bar, the pub, your favourite place in Chinatown for dumplings. Before you know it, you're in a rut and you haven't tried anywhere new for a while. And though staple favourites are a lifesaver from disappointing food, isn't it time you checked our something different?

Sydney Uighur Cuisine

Uighur cuisine just might be one of the most perfect winter cuisines. There are rich stews, spicy shish kebabs of spiced lamb or chicken, rubbed with cumin, coriander, garlic and chilli and cooked over hot coals, handmade dumplings and noodles. Most of these brilliant little places are found in Chinatown and mostly on Dixon Street. Sydney Uighur Cuisine isn't. It's on Cleveland Street in Surry Hills (so we'll call this 'hidden in plain sight), right near The Norfolk and just down from Porteno. Owned by the brother of the guy who owns Uighur Cuisine in Chinatown, everything is made fresh on site, and it's brilliant. So now you don't even need to venture into the city for your next dumpling smash...and the best bit? You can always drop into The Norfolk for a beer afterwards.

314 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills
Open 7 days 11am-11.30pm
Cash only

10 William Street

Now that Sydney has woken up to the fact that small, cosy spaces equal good times, we're really starting to see some amazing ones. The guys from Potts Point's Fratelli Paradiso opened their Paddington side street venture a couple of months ago and it's showing zero signs of slowing. It's an Italian wine bar, so expect plenty of great pours by the glass, as well as the bottle, and a couple of cracker cocktails. And because Italians love to eat while they drink, there's a selection of shared plates, including some of their hits from Fratelli Paradiso, like the kingfish carpaccio with pomegranate, a take on their Potts Point swordfish version with fennel and pomegranate. Dig into more substantial gnocchi, or pick on olives and mozzarella, too. Tip: It gets packed in here...come early or be prepared to wait.

10 William Street, Paddington
9360 3310

Dai Wan Lai, The Poets

Another hidden in plain site restaurant, Dai Wan Lai, The Poets is tucked away in the outdoor eating precinct at Top Ryde Shopping Centre. That's right, it's in a surburban mall. These days though, we all know that good food and shopping centres is more than possible, it's a happening thing. Showcasing a heap of dishes from the Shandong region in China, which means lots of stir frying, steamed buns and crunchy onions. Start with a plate of ridiculously huge steamed Pacific oysters with soy dressing and move onto barbequed prawns with their sweet, sticky glaze, before diving into a pot of Sichuan chilli oil poached fish, or beef with bean starch noodles. Worth the trip out to the burbs.

Shop F12, Top Ryde Shopping Centre
Corner Devlin Street and Blaxland Road
Ryde NSW 2112

Mon, Tue, Wed 11.00 - 21.00
Thursday 11.00 - 22.00
Fri, Sat, Sun 11.00 - 22.00
Telephone: 9808 3868