I promised in an earlier post to hold off blogging about Sydney until fall, since now they’re heading into winter. BUT!…I checked the weather there the other day and saw that it was 75 degrees. So maybe now’s the PERFECT time to blog about it. And since my word isn’t worth a whole lot….here we go.
First thing’s first: Accommodations. See if you can book Room 112 at the Park Hyatt Hotel. It’s not cheap, but check out the view of the Opera House from our room. What a vista to wake up to every day. I took the first shot at dusk and the second around midnight.
So where to go first? How about…
THE FISH MARKET
This is an adventure – it’s the largest working fish market in the southern hemisphere – and it’s walkable from downtown. Plan on going in the morning and staying for lunch. If possible, avoid doing this on the weekend. It’s way too crowded.
As they do at Tokyo’s incredible Tsukiji market, the buyers arrive early – around 5:30 AM – to inspect the catch. The auction will begin at the same time the market opens to the public: 7AM. Unless you’ve arranged a guided private tour, these activities aren’t open to the public. So I’d suggest you arrive around 9:30 AM or so, and then stroll through the vast array of markets, stalls, seafood stores and shops for a couple of hours.
Have lunch on the early side, as it will get crowded later, especially at a place as great as…
It’s casual, casual, casual. You line up and order at a counter, and when your food is ready, you pick it up at a window and can enjoy it on their patio. You’ll be bothered by seagulls poised to steal your food, but that’s part of the show. Just relax and enjoy some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever have.
Doyles at the fish market (there are also locations on the beach and at the wharf) looks like a dive, but it’s not cheap. Then again, like I’ve always said, “Cheap seafood isn’t good, and good seafood isn’t cheap.” And come on, you’re on vacation for God’s sake. Live a little.
Something you might want to try: BUGS. They’re unique to Australia, and there are two kinds that I know of: Balmain Bay Bugs and Moreton Bay Bugs. Both look like flat lobsters, but they have no claws and are on the small side – about four ounces each. You can get them steamed, grilled or poached as seen in the attached photo of the fancy presentation at EST. restaurant in downtown Sydney. What you see here are Moreton Bay Bugs with orange, fennel, green shallots and watercress puree. (More about EST. later in the year).
The fish market also features a well-established COOKING SCHOOL. We didn’t do it, but the facility looks first rate, and its boasts an impressive roster of day classes taught by visiting celebrity chefs. If you’d like to take a class, it’s probably a good idea to book through your concierge well advance of your trip
That’s it for now, and rest assured: We will definitely return to Australia.
W. T. F.
DOYLES AT THE SYDNEY FISH MARKETS
SYDNEY FISH MARKET
Level 1, Establishment
252 George Street, Sydney, 2000