Quality: 2 Environment: 1 Service: 2 Price: 2 A former Bathers' Pavilion chef presides over this surprisingly buzzing spot in 'ladies-who-lunch' land praised for its service and Euro-centric creations. The dishes are lavish and seductive.
Quality: 1 Environment: 3 Service: 2 Price: 1 First there was the sommelier to recommend the perfect glass of wine, then there was the barista to brew the best cup of coffee, next came the mixologist to create the most luscious of cocktails… and now the latest addition to the crew, the “Tea Master”, is here to blend the ultimate cup of tea. His name is Tjok Gde Kerthyasa and you can meet him at the Observatory Hotel during his Tea Appreciation classes which run each day from 3pm till 4.30pm for $79 per person (including afternoon tea). As you taste a range of specialty teas from his collection, Kerthyasa will teach you about the origins of tea, the method of preparing a variety of blends and the correct tea etiquette.
If a foray into the world of tea doesn't tempt you, try one of the Observatory Hotel's classic afternoon teas instead. Served between 2.30pm and 5pm in the Globe Bar and comprising a host of dainties to accompany the brew, it costs $39 per person or $49 including a glass of Moet and Chandon Rose. The superstitious at heart will relish the opportunity of having their tea leaves read by an expert as part of the Mystic Afternoon Tea for $59 per person or $69 including a glass of Moet and Chandon Rose. For more information or to reserve your place phone (02) 9256 2215.
Quality: 2 Environment: 3 Service: 2 Price: 2 This restuarant offers something different with dishes from Zimbabwe to Sierra Leone. The menu includes plenty of goat and plantain but the highlight is the uniquely fragrant African spices.
Quality: 1 Environment: 2 Service: 2 Price: 0 With a chef who works at the Sydney Fish Markets, there's no doubting the freshness of the seafood on offer here. Registered with the International Coeliac Society, Acacia's menu has options for numerous dietary restrictions.
Quality: 1 Environment: 3 Service: 3 Price: 3 Squeezed in between Redfern and Broadway, Darlington is a rabbit warren of laneways and side streets. A Little On The Side is the kind of place the locals go to read the paper and drink their morning cappuccino. Breakfast is a specialty, with creative variations on the usual favourites.
Quality: 2 Environment: 3 Service: 3 Price: 2 Alhambra's owner/chef Azziz Bakala hails from Spanish Morocco and there are few restaurants that have traditional Moorish cooking methods as well learned and loved as his. Alhambra is a friendly, casual place to enjoy a Spanish/North African banquet or a spot of tapas grazing. While the venue doesn't exactly match the splendour of its namesake, the Arab-influenced Grenadian palace, it's warm and colourful with bright red walls, a mosaic tile floor, vivid paintings and traditional tapestries.
There's a horseshoe-shaped tapas bar where you can take your tapas with a healthy dose of sangria. The selection is excellent, featuring charmoula-spiced sardines, Andalusian baked eggs and b'stilla pastry rolls filled with chicken and almonds and cooked with ghee, saffron, cinnamon and orange-blossom water. Good paella isn't easy to find in Sydney and Alhambra does a most worthy version, cooked fresh to order with a generous helping of chicken and fresh seafood. The couscous is cooked the traditional way, steamed three times to ensure a fluffy texture, and the tajines come in the signature clay pot with tempting flavours such as lamb and date with honey, ginger, cinnamon and orange.