Keeping It Local: Sydney’s Top 10 Paddock-to-plate Restaurants
Sydney’s dining scene is full of sustainability stars: cafes and restaurants that source and cook up eco-friendly eats everyday, and are conscious about composting. The movement has well and truly swept the city, and it’s fuelled by diner demand. The paddock-to-plate trend is at its peak. More and more restaurateurs are committed to keeping it local – and in many cases, that means plucking produce from their own farms and gardens. It doesn’t get fresher than that!
Escape to the Southern Highlands for a long, leisurely lunch at Biota. Headed up by executive chef James Viles, the fine dining venue plucks produce straight from the region’s vegetable growers, dairy and livestock farms. The result is a menu that changes with the seasons, featuring plates piled with locally sourced ingredients and paired with a selection of small batch wines. Savour three courses, or treat yourself to the delectable 10-course tasting menu.
18 Kangaloon Road, Bowral
There’s a reason why Spice I Am is packed every night – and it’s not just because it’s the most authentic Thai food this side of the motherland. A few years ago, chef and co-owner Sujet Saenkham bought a 15-hectare property in the lush Kangaroo Valley, and spends most weekends there growing his own kaffir limes, coriander, lemongrass, basil, chilli and eggplant to use in his Surry Hills and Darlinghurst venues.
Darlinghurst & Surry Hills
At this sprawling inner-city eatery, most food is harvested from the farm next door. Diners walk through the farm to get to the restaurant, where they can watch the chefs whipping up wholesome dishes. The ‘closed loop’ operation has made Acre one of Sydney’s most impressive paddock-to-plate destinations. The chefs go one step further with ‘top to tail’ recipes – they extract pollen from plants, and make the most of secondary meat cuts.
31A Mallett Street, Camperdown
A lush, botanical oasis, insta-worthy restaurant The Botanica Vaucluse is equal parts beautiful and sustainable. Their botanical aesthetic translates across to their paddock-to-plate menu, featuring produce directly from their Jamberoo Valley farm. Using the best produce that is seasonally available, the menu is updated accordingly to reflect what has come in from the farm and local suppliers for the day.
2 Laguna Street, Vaucluse
apera is a warm and inviting, rustic-style eatery that has become a favourite amongst Castlecrag locals. Known for their share plates direct from the rotisserie and woodfire, apera's menu is influenced by their love of local, Australian producers. The drinks list boasts a strong showing of local wines and spirits, and as for the food, expect Australia's best; Cowra lamb, Bannockburn chicken and Bangalow Farm porchetta.
23-26/100 Edinburg Road, Castlecrag
With a trio of former fine dining chefs at the helm, Three Blue Ducks go above and beyond to support local suppliers (through urban farming initiatives like Grow It Local) and use organic, biodynamic and Fair Trade produce. That’s not all: the Bronte location has its own garden with herbs, veggies and a chicken coop for eggs, while Byron has ‘The Farm’ – a 32-hectare working farm with cattle, chickens, and pigs.
Bronte, Rosebery & Byron Bay
Henry Lee’s is at home in the Eveleigh Creative Precinct, which is all about collaborating and celebrating local talent. With a focus on sustainable living, the café sources ingredients from Sydney-based merchants. Think coffee by Little Marionette, burgers stuffed with maple bacon from LP’s Quality Meats, and thyme honey from Redfern’s Urban Beehive. Nab a seat in the leafy courtyard and order from their delectable menu.
16 Eveleigh Street, Redfern (enter via Hart Street)
When it comes to walking the walk, this foodie favourite is doing Sydney’s café scene proud. In ‘The Garden,’ it grows its own heirloom veggies, herbs, fruits and edible flowers (in recycled sleeper boxes, no less), and uses those to decorate its dishes for The Grounds and its sister restaurant, The Potting Shed. Any scraps go straight back into the garden for compost, making this Instagram star a café with a conscience.
7A/2 Huntley Street, Alexandria
As host of the TV series, Paddock to Plate, celebrity chef Matt Moran travelled around Australia meeting farmers and growers, and cementing his passion for fresh, local produce. His farm-to-table philosophy is obvious in every dish at his two Sydney restaurants, where much of the produce is sourced from the Moran family farm in the Central Tablelands, and the on-site garden at Chiswick. For fine dining, go to ARIA, and for the best Sunday roast, order Chiswick’s slow-cooked lamb shoulder.
Aria – 1 Macquarie Street, Sydney
Chiswick – 65 Ocean Street, Woollahra
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