When chef Michael Moore remade Sydney’s iconic revolving restaurant into the high-end O Bar and Dining (obardining.com.au), he didn’t neglect the bar. There, chili-spiced prawn cakes and magnificent views can be sampled without the big-bill finale.
“There’s a big movement toward health and accessibility in restaurants,” says the British-born chef, who’s now a staple on Australian TV and has cooked for the likes of Madonna and Mick Jagger.
On a break from touring his latest healthy-eating tome, Blood Sugar: The Family, Moore shares five essential tastes from his adopted hometown:
“It’s like a big warehouse café with an amazing garden in an area called Alexandria. There wouldn’t be any concierge that would send you to the Grounds, but every chef would send you. Breakfast or brunch is the thing to do. It has great, great coffee. They do a poached egg with toasted quinoa and kale. It’s farm to table sort of thing, contemporary ingredients and flavours.” groundsroasters.com
The Bucket List
“This is the most casual restaurant I know in Australia. It is on Bondi Beach. It is sort of indoor, outdoor and you get a bucket of fish and chips, a bucket of beer. You sit on furniture made of crates and old tables. You do a long walk around the beach and end up at the Bucket List eating fresh Australian prawns . It really captures the essence of beach life.” thebucketlistbondi.com
“This is in Woollahra in a beautiful old house. Chef Matt Moran totally renovated this restaurant, with half of the budget on renovating the garden. There’s a real focus on farm-to-table dining, to the point that Matthew owns a farm and raises his own lambs. A signature dish on the menu is the slow-cooked lamb leg served with pesto roasted organic vegetables. You will need to book in advance. You’ll see visiting celebrities. It’s buzzy, fun, sort of casual, which is the Australian way. We do that sort of vibe really well.” chiswickrestaurant.com.au
Rockpool Bar & Grill
“To throw a high-end experience in, it has to be Rockpool Bar & Grill. Neil Perry is one of our most awarded chefs. This is a super glamorous steak house in a high-wattage environment with amazing service. It really is simple food, great quality, but a big night out. All of the David Blackmore’s Wagyu grass-fed beef products are exceptional. rockpool.com
“These guys are the premier coffee roasters and blenders in Australia. They are really passionate. This little café in Newtown is where they built this multimillion-dollar company. But they still manage to maintain all of their integrity of flavour and production. They’re very serious about making exceptional coffee. In Australia, we are absolutely coffee mad.” camposcoffee.com