The Heart of Surry Hills Festival takes place the entire month of November, turning Surry Hills into even more of a must-visit spot than it already is. (As if that’s possible!)
From 1-30 November, bars, restaurants, pubs, cafes — and even parks — will be alight with specials and activations.
To kick things off, select media got a, ahem, taster of some of the offerings at select bars/restaurants thanks to Jimmy Wong Eats. You’ll recognise Jimmy from his time as a MasterChef contestant; and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone more passionate about supporting the local hospitality scene.
What does Jimmy love most about Surry Hills’ hospo offerings? ‘It’s not your average. Everyone does something a little differently. From a customer point of view, it’s exciting’. We couldn’t agree more!
Our tour took us to Tokki (pronounced ‘toe-kee’), a Japanese-Korean fusion restaurant. Conveniently located at the bottom of Foveaux Street, it’s a hop skip & a jump away from Central Station. We got to try their special: an amazingly delectable ceviche, plus adorable bao with a Korean twist. At $15, this is incredible value for money. I’ll definitely be booking in some friends for a post-work catchup.
Head Chef: Noel Lao
Offer: Two small nibbles (of kingfish ceviche and Korean fried chicken bao) with two half pours of sake for $15, every day from 4.30pm-6pm
Head Bar: Lucas Hernandez
Offer: Momotaro cocktail – Peach Sake, Haku Vodka, Cherry Blossom, $20
Address: 44A Foveaux St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Opening Hours: Tues to Thu, 5pm – 10:30pm | Fri 12pm – 11:30pm | Sat 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Direct Booking: https://www.tokki.net.au/
Four Pillars Laboratory
I’ll admit: I’m not the biggest gin fan. (It’s the juniper I don’t like – yes, the main ingredient that makes gin, gin.) I’m glad I finally went along. Not only is it absolutely gorgeous (although their Healesville location in Victoria is also worth a visit), we were treated to a mini tasting of their Rare Dry Gin and famous Bloody Shiraz. The cocktail — made with the Rare Dry — was absolutely phenomenal. This gin-hater might turn into a gin-lover after all…
Head Bar: James Irvine
Offer: HOSH Posh Highball – a delicious mix of our original Rare Dry Gin, a hint of truffle cream and pear + koji soda, $16.
Offer: Guests who would like to add a jaffle with their drink can get the HOSH Posh Highball + Jaffle for $20, from 5-7pm.
Address: 410 Crown St Surry Hills
Opening Hours: Wed/Thu, 5pm to 11pm | Fri, 5pm– 12am | Sat, 3pm– 12am | Sun, 3pm – 11pm
Direct Booking: https://www.exploretock.com/fourpillarsginsydneylaboratory/
One of the more sophisticated offerings along Crown St, Mille Vine wears its European heritage proudly. From the second you walk in, you’re guaranteed sophisticated service in beautiful surrounds. On the tour, we were ushered to the upstairs dining area (a first for me!) and treated to their main offer in the month: a tasting platter with a matched glass of wine — my fave was the zucchini flowers. For value for money, this is one not to miss!
Head Chef: Francesco Di Gioia
Head Bar: Ando Randriana
Offer: $35 Tasting plate & a glass of paired wine.
Tasting plate comprising three snacks that will rotate on a daily basis: zucchini flowers, truffle pecorino, honey blossom crostini with anchovies, Cetara prosciutto, melone and stracciatella, tuna crudo.
The wine will be a 2018 Pieve Vecchia, Bianco Veronese IGT.
*Offer available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays for the whole service & Fridays and Saturdays from 3pm to 5 pm
Address: 397 Crown St, Surry Hills
Opening times: Mon – Thu, 5pm – 12pm | Fri & Sat, 3pm until 12am
Direct booking: book here
The Blue Door
Tucked away on Waterloo Street behind Dove & Olive, in between Izakaya Fujiayama and Mark & Vinnie’s, the Blue Door does indeed have a door in a bright shade of azure. Inside, the one-room restaurant is beautifully decorated – but it’s their commitment to sustainiblity that’s the real standout. We learned how they work directly with farmers and producers to cook only what’s available — and avoid food wastage along the way. Treated to a collection of sensational nibbles, I can’t wait to return for the $75 Feed Me menu, which rotates weekly.
Head Chef: Dylan Cashman
Offer: $75 feed me menu at the Wine Down Mondays and Tuesdays during November including a glass of red or white wine.
Address: 8/38 Waterloo Street, Surry Hills
Opening times: Mon – Tues, 4.30pm – 8pm | Thu-Sat, 5pm – 11pm
Direct booking: https://www.thebluedoorsurryhills.com.au/make-a-reservation
I’d been following how Shaffa opened in an old church complex, but I had no idea how cool it actually is. Head chef Erez explained they were inspired by restaurants and bars in Jaffa in Israel that pop up in between buildings and in narrow laneways. All credit to the architects for doing just that: a restaurant inside — and in between — a historical 19th-century building. Their offering for the Heart of Surry Hills is an Instagram-worthy combination of fresh calamari, plus an aniseed-flavoured cocktail made of Middle Eastern arak. (Top tip: when you’re there, spring for the labneh as well — it’s to die for.)
Head Chef: Erez Nahum
Offer: Charred southern whole calamari, green tahini, harissa ($26)
Offer: Lemonarak Cocktail – arak, Cointreau, mint syrup, lemon juice ($21)
Address: 80 Albion St, Surry Hills
Opening times: Tue – Thu, 5.30pm – late | Fri – Sun, noon – late
Direct Booking: https://resy.com/cities/syd/shaffa?date=2022-10-27&seats=2
But don’t stop there! Specials abound throughout the month, from the craft beer & chicken wing tasting paddles for $20 at Dove & Olive, to an amazing cocktail at Don’t Tell Aunty, to a free entree (for 2-person booking) at Cairo Gourmet Kitchen.
The co-founder of The Plus Ones, Theresa is a proud Inner East local and can’t wait to spend November in Surry Hills. Follow her on her Instagram.
Heart of Surry Hills runs 1-30 November 2022. For all the specials and events, visit: www.heartofsurryhills.com.au