Izakaya Samurai, Neutral Bay

It used to seem to me that Japanese restaurants fell into either the higher-priced, contemporary dining category (Sokyo and Sake come to mind) or were fast, cheap eateries which offered sushi trains and bento boxes.

Hopetoun Tea Rooms, Melbourne

Melbourne is infamous for its coffee culture and hipster laneways, where one can spend hours wandering and eating away to their hearts content. It’s no wonder so many Sydneysiders travel over when they’re in need of a short getaway without leaving the comfort of suburbia.

While the debate of whether Sydney or Melbourne has the better coffee remains at large, it may seem as if the traditional cup of tea has lost its humble appeal. That’s most certainly not the case at Hopetoun Tea Rooms.

Dera-Uma, Sydney CBD

The term ‘comfort food’ means different things to different people. Some might immediately think of a steaming stew or an oozy, melted cheese toastie. For me, comfort food almost always involves rice.

Café Del Mar, Darling Harbour

I always look forward to the Aussie summer because it means barbecue feasts, long days at the beach, and, of course, lots and lots of seafood. And what better place to celebrate summer than at a restaurant and bar aptly named Café del Mar, the name of which means café of the sea!

Pistachio and lemon curd cake

The saying goes that we eat with our eyes. This is a notion highly applicable to the realm of sweets. The difficult thing about baking cakes is that, often, they can come out of the oven looking less than spectacular – at least compared to the photos in recipe books. This cake throws any worry of a wonky rise or volcanic cake peak out the window. 

Flower Drum, Melbourne

The thought of Chinese restaurants brings back old memories of grand banquets and traditional weddings at the esteemed Marigold and Dragon Star restaurants (when the latter was still operating) in Sydney’s bustling Chinatown. The delicious, crispy crack of suckling pig skin and wobbly jelly noodles, messy sang choy bow and fragrant whole steamed fish come flooding back into mind.

Menya Mappen, Sydney CBD

There is nothing quite like the sound of slurping noodles, or men (めん) in Japanese, at a meal time. There is no food group that is quite like the humble noodle. Whether eaten in a hot soup, served cold with a delicious dipping sauce, or fragrantly stir fried, noodles are a carbohydrate that I will never get sick of.