Monday, 23 January 2017

Where to eat and drink in Surry Hills

Surry Hills wears its gritty history on its sleeve, with many of its bars and restaurants embracing the rough-hewn element of postcode 2010 and proudly celebrating its past. While the tangled streets around Surry Hills once reverberated with the whir of sewing machines and hum and clatter of manufacturing equipment, it is now more widely known for being knitted with fab places to dine and drink. This is largely due to an influx of artists and creative types who have, since the 70s, helped transform the neighbourhood once known for its brothels, rag traders, razor gangs and sly grog shops, into one of Sydney’s most fashionable suburbs. Here are six of the best.

Enjoy the passing of time at The Clock Hotel's The Whisky Room.                                                           Image: Supplied

The Whisky Room

Totter up the stairs at The Clock Hotel to find this cosy den crammed with eclectic collectables such as sporting trophies, leather-bound books, vintage maps and ye olde things. Bag a comfy leather booth near the bar and ask manager Daniel Molnar to unleash something wonderful from the malt vault, which features more than 100 of the world’s best whiskies. Better still, bunker down for one of the monthly whisky flights designed to celebrate a country, region or brand. Get set to swizzle with a Whisky Sour or Malt Express (Black Bottle, fresh espresso, vanilla syrup and Amaro). Aaaah, whisky. You are so much more than just a code word representing the letter W.
The Whisky Room, 470 Crown St, Surry Hills + 61 2  9331 5333,

Cute as a button: The Button Bar wears the area's ragtime history on its sleeve.                   Image: Supplied

Button Bar
This cute-as-a-button bar is the little sister of both the Pocket Bar and Stitch, with all three proudly pinning the area's ragtime history to their sleeves. Just see how many puns you can drop about the bars having things sewn up before bearded bartender Brett Harris entices you to button your lips with the Last Word: a clean crisp cocktail shaken with gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and lime juice. The dark wood-panelled bunker of a bar has a bit of a pirate theme running as well as a playlist that you will want to Shazam. Alternatively, you can hem and haw about whether to imbibe a Jolly Roger or Berocca Fizz. Top off a few drinks with a margherita pizza to share.
65 Foveaux St, Surry Hills, 02 9211 1544,

Harpoon Harry is spearheading a campaign to encourage diners to eat more Latino food.          Image: Supplied
Harpoon Harry
Make like a barbed missile and shoot straight to the ground floor public bar at the 100-year-old Macquarie Hotel, which is spearheading a campaign to encourage diners to eat more Latino food. Harpoon Harry is barbacoa heaven, using aromatic woods such as ironbark and hickory to cook sustainable meats that please the crowds of liberal, literary locals. Head chef Paul Wilson’s menu speaks Spanglish, with the focus on authentic Latin cuisine: think big, butch cuts and roasted vegetable dishes made to share: pork barbacoa served with mole, beef brisket with fried bread, roasted eggplant and sweet potato bravas. Vive la revolucion.
Harpoon Harry, 40-44 Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills, 02 8262 8800, 

Goro's is a Japanese word used to express approximation and it's madcap vibe makes it lots of fun.        Image: Supplied
Goro is a Japanese word used to express approximation. Fittingly, the fun and loose izakaya-style bar has been modeled on a character called Goro, who may or may not be an approximation of a real human. For that reason, the venue has the potential to be almost anything you may want it to be. The food and drinks are Japanese in influence and the huge space has more than a few spots to sit and sip sake. While the menu is full of unfussy Japanese street food such as yakitori, karaage and gyoza, the wacky interior is filled to bursting with items collected by someone who is either well travelled or has watched too many episodes of Iron Chef while wearing a onesie.  84-86 Mary St, Surry Hills, 02  9212 0214,
Head to Surry Hills Eating House for a taste of regional Thai food with Chinese/Malay influences.  Image: Supplied.

Surry Hills Eating House
The Surry Hills Eating House sums up what makes Sydney such a vibrant dining destination.  Chef Sujet Saenkham and the Spice I Am and House team has taken over legendary Harry’s Chilli Crab restaurant and given it an overhaul. While Harry’s has crept crablike down to 188 Elizabeth St, SHEH has been given a makeover, zhoozhed up with polished wood floors, a sexy tiled bar and light pouring through the arched windows. A highlight of the menu, which bases itself in southern Thailand with a few side trips to Malaysia, is gai pae sa, comprising chicken poached in a rice wine sauce served with a blast of chilli ginger dip. SHEH, Level 2, 198-200 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills. 02  9212 4092,   

Ask the bearded bartenders, 'what's up brew?'at The Keg and Brew.                                   Image: Supplied

Keg and Brew
Sure, Sydneysiders love a dirty grungy pub. But we are also partial to a craft beer. The recently refurbished KB Hotel on Foveaux St is now more gentrified than grungy, but it also showcases the sheer brilliance of local brewers such as 4 Pines, Young Henry’s, Batch Brewing Co and Willie the Boatman who are committed to ensuring we are all sated. At KB, it’s all about the Bourbon, beer and bites. After a few boutique brews, kick back in the leather seating and weep for joy at breaking your carb fast with a pulled pork po’ boy and deep-fried Twinkie. The centre bar and original wall tiles remain, as does the down-to-earth vibe. 26 Foveaux St, Surry Hills, 02 9212 1740,

The lobster roll has well and truly landed in Sydney. This is the Keg and Brew's take on the traditional New England fare.

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