Robb Report Australia takes a journey through The Streets of Barangaroo
It’s Sydney’s most exciting new hot spot.
A little over 10 years ago, Barangaroo was something of an industrial wasteland. A former shipping and stevedoring area, it was nicknamed ‘The Hungry Mile’ by dockland workers who would traipse up and down the harbourside looking for work during The Great Depression.
The precinct’s saviour came in the form of the New South Wales State Government, who, in 2003 decided to turn the former wasteland into a bustling business district.
The plan was helped along by Crown Resorts CEO James Packer. In 2012, Packer presented a vision to the government that would see a casino, hotel and entertainment district built on the site. After some tussling, the plan was approved in 2013 with the casino set to open its doors in 2020.
The waterfront at Barangaroo. Photo: Supplied
In just under five years, the precinct has already become the go-to destination for Sydney-siders – and travellers – and is known as a place not only visit but also to linger for hours on end.
But it is the Barangaroo South – developed by LendLease – which has proven to be the jewel in the precinct’s crown.
Curious as to whether one could make a night of The Streets of Barangaroo, Robb Report Australia set out to visit the harbourside destination on a chilly winter’s night.
Before any date night (or night out, for that matter) it’s important to ensure you’re primped and preened to (at the very least) personal perfection.
But for many of us, a long-day at the office brings with it a kind of muted muckiness that can only really be atoned by a cold shower, or a visit to the hairdresser.
Nestled between two restaurants is Blow Lux – a deliciously shiny hairdressing studio which takes the somewhat conventional blow dry to the next gloriously luxurious level.
Instead of individual cubicles, customers are seated at a bar-style marble table top and offered a drinks and food menu which includes a selection of champagne, cocktails, wines and cheese platters.
The salon also boasts an indulgent selection of party packages, including Bachelorette Parties (which, I’m excitedly informed, includes cabana boys), and Flower Socials which involves teaching participants to craft their own exquisite flower crown.
Blown Lux. Photo: SUpplied
After enjoying a hair wash and spine-tingling scalp massage, I took my seat at the blow bar and opted for a classic Bellini. There is something quite special – and almost serenely meditative – about having your hair tousled in a careful way while enjoying a cocktail. And with the added fun and relaxed ambience of the salon, the experience manages to bring back the forgotten joy of those pre-night preparation rituals so many of us secretly adored in our teen years.
After a quick 30 minutes, my hair is perfectly coiffed and, for the first time in many weeks, actually glowing.
If needed, the salon also offers makeup options, including a full face and the delightfully appealing refresh, which only takes 15 minutes to complete.
With all that said and done, I am now officially ready for the night.
Smoke – Barangaroo House
My next step on this walking journey through The Streets of Barangaroo is chef and restaurateur Matt Moran’s architecturally ambitious project, Barangaroo House.
Designed to look like three bowls stacked atop each other, the flying saucer-style building is abuzz with people looking to keep dry and warm on this chilly winter’s night while still enjoying the sparkling harbourside view.
The house comprises three venues: House bar, Bea, the restaurant, and Smoke, the cocktail bar. It is at Smoke where I decide to enjoy a selection of cocktails and nibbles before dinner.
Smoke Bar. Photo: SUpplied
Smoke is unlike any cocktail bar Sydney has ever seen. With deep wood panels, and elements of brass sprinkled through the venue, it is an elegant representation of a young city now reaching its prime.
Tall fire heaters are peppered across the stunning outside area, allowing guests, no matter how cold the wind from the harbour might be, to sit out under the night sky and enjoy the view.
At first glance the menu seemed slightly overwhelming, but my waiter, Jonathan, took time to discuss my taste and preferences (orange marmalade – something sweet and bitter) before bringing out the aptly named Endless Summer, a perfectly balanced concoction consisting of Aperol, Lillet Blanc, lemon, vanilla, passionfruit –
My companion for the night opted for a Penicillin Fizz (Dewar’s 12yo, Talisker 10yo, ginger, lemon, honey, PS smoked lemonade) – which Jonathan rightly matched with her love of whisky sours.
A bartender at Smoke creates one of their cocktails. Photo: Supplied
Beet It. Photo: Supplied
Accompanying our drinks was a cornucopia of light snacks all masterfully created by the venue’s acclaimed executive chef Cory Campbell.
From moreish house-made salt and vinegar chips (you’ll never look at a packet of Smith’s again), to the perfectly cooked Morten Bay and calamari skewers and the very adult ham and cheese doughnuts – which are unlike any doughnut you have ever tasted – the menu selection at Smoke is one that will delight and surprise. Campbell has managed to balance Each morsel so perfectly to suit the lavish surrounds. It is easy to lose track of time while watching the yachts, many illuminated with fairy lights, gliding across the dark water.
However, Smoke’s pièce de résistance is, without a doubt, its tasting plate. Filled with a selection of the bar’s most delicate offerings, including house-smoked trout, house-made chicken terrine, the plate is the perfect accompaniment to those looking to clock-off and spend the rest of the night sampling all the cocktails Smoke has to offer while nibbling away.
To accompany our platter, Jonathan recommends the quirky sounding Beet It cocktail for me (42 Below vodka, crème de mure, strawberry, beetroot, lemon) and a classic Pisco Sour for my companion.
It doesn’t take long for us to demolish not only the plate but our second cocktails, and soon we are back outside walking along the harbour to our next destination.
Full, but not bursting, my companion and I make our way across the harbourfront to Zushi.
The modern Japanese restaurant sits right in the middle of the busy harbourside thoroughfare and yet manages to imbibe a calm vibe that champions our entire meal.
Our waitress, Nishi, recommends the tasting menu in order to enjoy the full experience of all the restaurant has to offer.
Our first dish, the kingfish carpaccio, would not be amiss if showcased in an art gallery. The delicate plating provides a rare breathtaking moment as both my companion and I stare at our plates in awe.
Kingfish Carpaccio. Photo: Supplied
Japanese cuisine is known for its ability to marry delicate flavours, and Zushi is no exception thanks to the careful hand of Chef Lee. With sashimi so fresh it practically melts, to the clever inclusion of finger lime and grapes in the dish adds not only a splash of colour but a burst of acidity to the otherwise prosaic creaminess of the white fish.
The bao bun was filled with pulled pork, kale, capsicum, tempura enoki mushrooms and proved a lesson in mastering the marriage of sweet, salty and fatty flavours.
The oven roasted glacier 51 toothfish was by far the most tender I have ever tasted, while the wagyu steak (tajima wagyu sirloin mb6+ ) was delicate and cooked to perfection. Even my companion, who describes herself as “not a meat person”, was quick to wipe her plate clean.
Sashimi Tacos. Photo: Supplied
The menu was capped off with two desserts – a citrus and cream cheese tart, and sticky date pudding with green tea ice-cream – both, once again, artistic showstoppers.
Thankfully, with everything within such close proximity at The Streets of Barangaroo, we don’t have to walk far before jumping into a taxi and slowly nodding off, full and satisfied.
To see what else The Streets of Barangaroo has to offer visit www.thestreetsofbarangaroo.com