8 top picks for a great working lunch (or dinner) in Sydney
With Christmas approaching, here are Honner’s top restaurant picks within a stone’s throw from our Spring Street office.
What makes a good venue? Good food, good acoustics, reliable service and the space to have confidential conversations are key criteria when we pick venues like these:
1. Best quick lunch: Bowery Lane, 1 O’Connell Street ($)
As its NYC-inspired name suggests, Bowery Lane serves up a tried and tested mix of gourmet burgers, sandwiches and interesting salads which are a cut above the usual fare. Good coffee too. Quick and reliable, you can kick off at 12.30 and not be late for your 2pm meeting.
2. Best more serious lunch: Republic Dining, Level 1, The Republic Hotel, cnr Pitt and Bridge Streets ($$)
Don’t be fooled by the dodgy-looking pub downstairs, Republic Dining is a class act favoured by the serious business luncher. With wider set tables or booths offering room to talk, we come here to have a more formal catch up. The food is always top notch, there’s a sommelier on hand and service is briskly professional.
3. Best catch up with your mate: No.1 Bent Street, 1 Bent Street ($$)
A newcomer this year, No.1 Bent Street is the next venture by celebrated Sydney chef and foodie Mike McEarney. Trendy, interesting food that’s working hard – and usually successfully – to be a bit different, this is a fun lunch out. Communal as well as separate tables but quite close together so no journalist chit chat (but you might learn something from your neighbours!).
4. Best working lunch with your accountant: Tapavino, 6-8 Bulletin Place ($$)
Let’s face it, a bit of Spanish red always enhances a catch up with your accountant. Tapavino set up in 2012 as Australia’s first Sherry Bar and continues to flourish as a lively and flexible venue for a shared lunch, dinner or drinks. Good, hearty shared dishes that go beyond the standard Spanish tapas fare, and you can be in and out in a little over an hour.
5. Best summer working dinner: Balcon, 17 Bligh Street ($$)
Spanish wine bar and restaurant Balcon emerged this year as a sister restaurant to Tapavino. Despite some teething problems in the service department, we continue to come back here for lunch and dinner (even better, kick off with pre-drinks at the bar) – due to its warm, lively vibe and interesting shared food. Balcon also offers a lovely outdoor seating area, away from the street front and great for summer nights.
6. Best festive working dinner: Restaurant Hubert, 15 Bligh Street ($$$)
In our view the most exciting restaurant to hit Sydney for a while, Hubert is just a load of fun – great atmosphere, different and exciting food and simply the place to be right now. It’s very hard not to have a good night here. Just ask Terry Durack of the SMH Good Food Guide. Rated 16/20 and voted Best New Restaurant for 2016. Bookings for parties of 6 or more only, otherwise get there early, wait at the bar and get your name onto the table list (early: 5pm)
7. Best celebrity newcomer: Bistro Guillaume, 259 George Street ($$$)
Tucked inside the ground floor foyer of the Suncorp Building (cnr George and Jamison Sts), Bistro Guillaume is the latest venture by celebrated chef Guillaume Brahimi. The setting is suitably calm and luxe with plenty of room to settling in for a long session. The food is ‘inspired by the most popular neighbourhood bistros of Paris’ and features many beautifully presented French classics. The only conundrum is whether to sit with your back to the wall and celebrity spot, or facing into the kitchen where you get to watch the handsome Guillaume and his equally glamorous team do their thing. Best enjoyed with your funding fund manager friends!
8. Best healthy hangover cure: Maxwells Café, 7 Spring Street ($)
After too much festivity at Huberts we head to our local across the road, family-run Maxwells café – for a great coffee and a healthy 3 egg-omelette with choice of 4 fillings: cheese, spinach, mushrooms and tomato. Get that warm tummy feeling without the guilt… Mmmmmmm.