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Sydney Local Guide - Edition 13

I don’t usually have coffee, but this was an excepional cup at Concrete Jungle Cafe in Chippendale.

The sky seems to have taken a break from raining. My spirits are up and I hope yours are too. I returned from Seoul, South Korea recently. Sitting at a cafe and catching up with a Japanese friend, we reflected on the difference in variety of cuisines available in Japan and South Korea vs. Australia.

While you will find classic, “western” food in cities like Seoul and Tokyo, the experience isn’t really that multi-cultural. Establishments like Saizeriya are Italian in title but run by Japanese people. 

We’re lucky in Sydney to have a melting pot of different communities whose locals consist majorly of immigrants. When they cook their cuisine, it’s based on recipes from their hometown. Whilst food in South Korea and Japan is delicious, I haven’t found any restaurants serving Sri Lankan, Egyptian, Ethiopian or Laotian cuisine there, yet.


Concrete Jungle Cafe on Kensington St

You can’t really go wrong with the cafe with the most Google reviews (at the time of my search) in Chippendale. Nestled deep into the cosmopolitan alley of eateries of Kensington St, Concrete Jungle Cafe is spacious, plant-filled, and quite pleasant. Their menu is globally-inspired, with dishes like Ricotta Hotcake, Salmon Rice Bowl, and Blue Majik Smoothie Bowl

A must-try brunch favourite is the Shakshouka – a Middle Eastern / African dish that’s pictured in the top right corner of a picture below. While many people might choose the Starbucks next to Central Park Mall for a place to remote work, I can recommend Concrete Jungle Cafe (Google Map link).

The Wilmot Bar in Kimpton Margot Sydney

This bar is in the lobby of luxury hotel Kimpton Margot Sydney, a 2-minute walk from Town Hall train station (Google Map link). I caught up with a friend there and we eased into a lovely conversation in a space that feels like a giant living room. The decor in The Wilmot Bar is Art Deco in style and with jazz music wafting around, it felt like I was in a vintage 1930s scene.

The Wilmot Bar is perfect for a business meeting during the day. You might not see a coffee machine but they do have one – I ordered a decaf cappucino and it was delightful. They have plenty of seating areas with some where you can rest a laptop. 

By night, relax on a plush sofa and chat with a date. You can order botanical-flavoured cocktails and a wide variety of drinks. I like beer so I ordered beer.

Vintage cinema in Beverly Hills

On Mother’s Day, my family saw Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. While the movie made one of us fall asleep, I enjoyed visiting the cinema. It is called GU Filmhouse Beverly Hills and operates under the Event Cinemas brand. It felt like a local institution, it doesn’t have a lot of commercial branding and the entrance is old-school. The viewing room was comfortable and cozy. 

It’s not possible for me to watch a movie without compulsively eating popcorn. Does this happen to anyone else? Here’s the Google Map link to GU Filmhouse Beverly Hills.

Golden Oceans Chinese Seafood Restaurant

Cantonese aunties and uncles hold great pride in uncovering great deals. This restaurant in Beverly Hills (a short walk from GU Filmhouse) is a mainstay in the “great deal” conversation. If you come for their supper set menu, you’ll be salivating at the price at which generous portions of food is offered. 

My family ordered Lobster Noodles, XO pipis with Fried Vermicelli, White-cut Chicken with Gingle & Shallot, and a marvellously tasty mushroom dish. Complimentary soup was served at the beginning of the meal – this happens at some Cantonese restaurants but not all. 

Golden Oceans is a great venue to host a dinner. In customary Cantonese banquet style, you can seat a big group around the table where a spinning circular platform shares dishes communally. Location in this Google Map link.

Dinner at Coro·88 and Latin music at The Establishment

Inflation has been stubbornly high for a long time. People, especially those affected by high interest rates, aren’t spending as much. So when they do spend money, it ought to be on experiences that are worth it. If you want to plan a fun itinerary in Sydney on a budget, I offer travel planner services.

Coro·88 in Burwood (Google Map link) is a classy space for fine food without the price tag of fine dining. My friend and I ordered the Wagyu Katsu Sando, Squid Ink Pasta, and Yuzu Glazed Kingfish Cutlet. For sweeter dishes, we tried the Seafood Kataifi and the Paris-Brest (the one that looks like a fancy donut). Both of these dishes are in contention for 2024’s Perfect Plate Awards, which Coro·88 has previously received accolades in. 

Go from eatin’ into the mood to feelin’ into the groove. The Establishment Bar (Google Map link) near Wynyard Station is a Sydney icon. It features a 42-metre marble bar, high majestic columns and a vast floor for mingling. Run by hospitality group Merivale, The Establishment Bar knows how to swing a party into action. On Tuesday nights until 3am, you’ll find a big crowd dancing to Latin party tunes, reggaetón and Bossa Nova. At 8pm, there are free classes – beginners are welcome.

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I’m Garry Ho, founder of Koalamate.
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It takes just a minute 🙏

I’m Garry Ho, founder of Koalamate.
If our website has helped you, please consider supporting us.

Payment can be made via all major cards.

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