Neighbourhood Guide: Sydney Central

Central Sydney is a celebration of culture, offering the city’s best Asian cuisine, top restaurant concepts and most loved and provocative theatre. Its vibrancy and character are impossible to avoid, making it the perfect destination for those who want to immerse themselves in the streets around them. 

The heart of Sydney’s Asian cuisine can be found in central Sydney, both in the busy streets of Chinatown and the buzzing Spice Alley. The latter is a hidden laneway off Kensington Street, offering a hawker style paradise for lovers of dumplings, dim sum, noodles and laksa. Almost everything is under $15 and the alley’s many lanterns, converted terrace house dining rooms and BYO policy provide the perfect atmosphere for casual dining.

For a more traditional experience, make a beeline to BBQ King on Liverpool Street where the slow roasted Peking duck and suckling pig reign supreme. If you’re in the market for a fine dining experience, some of Sydney’s best newcomers call the area home. nel., the brain child of chef Nelly Robinson, who has spent a significant portion of her career creating delicacies for the likes of Cate Blanchett and U2, serves up an ever changing eight course degustation with some of the most creative and beautifully presented plates in the business.

For any wine aficionados, the option of matching wines (2 per course) is definitely an investment worth making. Another venue making waves in the restaurant world is Nomad, which fuses fine dining with a cellar door experience. With a food menu that traverses everything from high-end snacks to plates of meat-laden glory and a wine list boasting tipples from Australia’s best boutique producers, settling in here for the night is always a good choice.

The arts are alive and well in central Sydney, with the Capitol and Belvoir Theatres both calling the area home. The Capitol is the place to go for bigger, glitzier productions and it plays host to some of the best international ballets, musicals and performers each year. The Belvoir, by comparison, is your go to for more contemporary, cutting edge productions. Its works showcase the best up and coming talent in the country with big names such as Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis and Cate Blanchett having all performed here earlier in their careers.

Finally, a visit to Sydney’s centre wouldn’t be complete without an adventure to Paddy’s Markets. The city’s biggest and oldest markets, having operated for more than 150 years, are a collection of all sorts. Fresh produce, clothing, sporting goods and tacky souvenirs all sit alongside each other in the giant hall, providing ample opportunity to find a cheap buy and indulge in some excellent people watching.

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