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Going down under

A year after my first trip to Sydney, I am back. This is a great city and worth every minute of the painful flight you have to endure when crossing the Pacific. 

Eating plans for this trip aren’t as ambitious as my visit to Europe in the summer, but there are some definite highlights. The one I am looking forward to most is Tetsuya’s, which has been hovering in the Top 5 position on the Restaurant Magazine list for years. I underestimated the need to call at least a month ahead for a reservation last year, but this time I come prepared and armed with a much stronger US dollar (hard to believe, but true).

More important than Tetsuya’s ranked among the restaurant glitterati is that the meal will focus the best in Australian and Japanese seafood. If there is anything I learned about Australia last year is that the quality of seafood is outstanding.

Sydney 125 
The amazing display at the Sydney Fish Market, second largest in the world outside of Tokyo in range of species, is a post in itself.

Sydney 141 
A trip to Yoshii, est. and Marque may be in the cards as well, though Oscillate Wildly is still booked out a month in advance, so it seems unlikely.

I plan to revisit Bentley, which was a sleeper hit last year in the “neighborhood molecular gastronomy bar” category. I will probably make time for Rise, which does a nice and rather informal kaiseki menu a few nights a week. I will definitely be back at Pizza Mario, which puts out flawless VPNA certified Neapolitan pies out of a small storefront located in the back of a residential tower.

 
Viva Goa, Sydney

With all the promising restaurants I sampled last year (Neil Perry’s Rockpool was a total bust), surprisingly the place I am looking forward to revisiting most is Viva Goa, which produced one of the best Indian meals I have ever had. I see an occasional Goan curry on Indian menus, but this is really the first place devoted to it as a cuisine.

The restaurant is located in a beat down part of Pyrmont in Sydney that cabs abandon as soon as they drop off their fare. But the chef is the real deal, so devoted to Goan cuisine that the sole North Indian dish (butter chicken) comes with a written apology in the description. The cooking is inspired, taking no shortcuts with the ingredients or the flavors. 

 
Swimmer crab at Viva Goa

I do not know if it was the access to great local seafood, the interesting blend of Indian and Portuguese cuisines, where chorizo shares the plate with curry and bacalhau on the menu, or simply the fact that it was the only strongly spiced food I was able to find in Sydney, but the dinner I had at Viva Goa delivered on every level.

Stay tuned.

January 9, 2009   4 Comments