Cafe Paci

in Cool Restaurants | 1 Comment

Cafe Paci in Riley Street, East Sydney is the creation and inspiration of Pasi Petanen who won the innovation Award in the 2015 Good Food Guide.  Cafe Paci also cruised into this year’s Australian’s Hot 50 Restaurant list.  Pasi, originally from Finland, set up Cafe Paci after being Head Chef at Mark Best’s fine dining restaurant Marque in Surry Hills for eight years.


Cafe Paci - cool sydney restaurants - East Sydney

Cafe Paci – Riley St East Sydney


Entering from Riley Street and making your way up the stairs, the restaurant reveals itself as a large open loft in monotone grey – a long bar to one side with tables generously spaced and comfortable chairs.  There’s a very ‘opera’ size curtain running the width of the room,  separating the kitchen from the restaurant.  It’s been all put together with a very minimalist eye – after all this is modern dining.  It was always a good space and it still is – only better.


Cafe Paci - cool sydney restaurants - east sydney

Pasi Petanen – Head Chef Cafe Paci



There’s a seasonal set menu at Cafe Paci – starting with ‘snacks’ – the pear sandwiches were a standout – the finest slices of crisp pear, filled with grated cheese.  Also torn pieces of radicchio leaves dusted with dehydrated raspberry – the colour was pure rubies and taste was pure sex.  I was wanting more!


Blue swimmer crab, pomelo, dill, vadouvan – the sharpness of the fine pomelo segments well balanced the sweetness of shards of crab meat, rounded out by the finely dusted vadouvan and dill.




Goat tartare, tartare sauce, kale – goat sourced from Cowra in south Western New South Wales – topped with multi-coloured kale and served with a tartare sauce.


Cauliflower, squid rice, anchovy butter – squid ink infused rice with parmesan cheese added into the pureed rice. Unusually subtle in this dish, the squid ink counterbalances the sweetness of parmesan, underpinned by the utter silkiness of the rice. This is our ‘go to’ dish – beautiful to look at …. but better to eat.



Cafe Paci - cool sydney restaurants - cauliflower

Cauliflower, squid rice, anchovy butter



Photato – this is the classic Vietnamese noodle soup – pho – that’s been deconstructed – well kind of.   Pasi delivers noodles crafted from potato nestling under lightly seared wagyu flap, enoki mushrooms and served like in pho with grilled lemon wedge.



Cafe Paci - cool sydney restaurants - photato

'Photato' – wagyu, enoki, lemon



After an optional cheese course,

cafe Paci - cool sydney restaurants - Cheese

Cheese course


there’s the desserts which again feature Pasi’s passion for innovation and creativity in the kitchen;


Carrot, yoghurt, liquorice – the smoothest yoghurt mousse filled with a centre of carrot sorbet placed on a thin liquorice sponge and a sprinkling of liquorice powder.


Rye ice cream, apple, white beer, cocoa, malt – crispy fine sheets of malt, cocoa and apple resting on an unexpected non-sweet icecream.


cafe Paci - cool sydney restaurants - Rye icecream

Rye ice cream, apple, white beer, cocoa, malt


Petit fours – Corn and butter reinvented as fairy floss sprinkled with corn dust alongside two pieces of pork coated on one side with chocolate and fennel.


Cafe Paci - cool sydney restaurants - desserts



There’s a well thought out wine list – a global choice from sommelier Dennis Roman – a balance between Europe, America and Antipodes.  We especially liked the grenache blanc/roussanne blend ‘Le Cigare Blanc’ from biodynamic winemaker Randall Graham from Bonny Doon Vineyard in Monterey Country, California.  Check out his blog.


Cafe Paci is open for dinner; Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm with lunch on Fridays from 12pm – there’s also space at the bar. You have to get along to Cafe Paci asap – it may be only there until January 2015.  Pasi Petanen is a visionary chef and it shows – and Sydney dining is all the better for that.




Cafe Paci

95 Riley Street, East Sydney 2010


Cafe Paci Website
Cafe Paci on Urbanspoon






Latest contemporary art-Sydney

in Contemporary Art | 1 Comment

Sydney’s contemporary art scene keeps on evolving – with a new contemporary photographic gallery, Black Eye opening in Darlinghurst and the Sydney exhibition and street work of the global contemporary artist Vhils.


Black Eye - contemporary photography gallery - Darlinghurst - sydney contemporary art

Black Eye – contemporary photography gallery – Darlinghurst


Black Eye, a contemporary photography gallery has just opened at 138 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst (between the Film Club and Jewish Museum).  Black Eye’s first exhibition is Facade by photographer Tom Evangelidis whose gallery this is.  Evangelidis looks at the details that give our modern urban landscape its character and richness.  Facade delivers an eclectic mix of different architectural eras – gothic churches from the 13 th century to the unique austeriry of the communism of the 20th century.  Evangelidis takes us from Prague to Bucharest – to  Hanoi, Sofia, Istanbul and on to St Petersburg.  His images are large (12o cm x 150 cm) and shot using traditional methods and only one sheet of film per location.





Jack Mundey – portrait


Down at the Rocks is the Sydney popup exhibition – Dissolve by Portguese born artist Alexandre Farto aka Vhils.  Vhils has been in Sydney creating the works in this exhibition – as well as crafting one of his works in a Sydney public space.  Vhils’ practice is based in street art and he takes materials from the urban landscape to create often large scale works on buildings. He’s created a work on the steps that lead up from the foot of Globe St to Harrington St in The Rocks.  It’s a huge portrait of Sydney environmental activist, Jack Mundey whose leadership led to the preservation of Victoria St, Potts Point and other inner city areas.



Jack Mundey – Vhils


It’s exciting to see the continued evolution of Sydney contemporary art and how it’s becoming more global.  Vhils’ visit and exhibition should encourage more contemporary European artists to exhibit here.  The Vhils exhibition through Skalizters Gallery in Berlin is on in the space of the old Gucci store at 140 George St  until 6 April. Sydneycool was excited to see Skalizters Gallery here in Sydney – we’re on our way to see their gallery in Berlin in a few weeks so the connection was a good surprise for us.





RivaReno Gelateria- very Italian gelato

in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There’s a new kid on the block in the Sydney gelato world – RivaReno’s flagship Sydney gelateria in Darlinghurst is the first store outside Italy. Originally from Bologna, RivaReno has gelateria in Turin, Milano, Marittima, Ferrara, Florence and Rome.

Kieran Tosolini - Sydney gelato - rivareno gelateria darlinghurst - must do sydney

Kieran Tosolini – an eye on Sydney gelato

RivaReno gelato uses all natural ingredients -  it contains no hydrogenated fat, preservatives, artificial colourings or flavourings.RivaReno gelato was named “Migliore gelateria d’Italia” (Best gelato in Italy) in 2008 by the Golosaria association – which recognises the best Italian artisan producers.

Sydney gelato - rivareno gelateria darlinghurst 280 Crown St - must do sydney

So how is RivaReno gelato different to other gelati in Sydney. Well first thing you notice, the colours are less vivid because no artificial colourings are used, but it’s the taste that will win you over – creamy, velvety with sometimes intense and sometimes subtle flavours.  They’ve developed their own unique system to make the perfect gelato. The gelateria in Darlinghurst has a lab where every flavour is made in the same way RivaReno Gelateria in Italy do. It’s made on site every day and kept in gelato cylinders or “pozzetti” which cover the gelato. This means it keeps its freshness and they can produce very small quantities more often as required. As well as classic gelato, RivaReno also offers  sorbet and granita.

caffe - riva reno gelateria - sydney gelato - must do sydney

Caffe – 100% Arabica coffee with chocolate slivers


sydney gelato - rivareno gelateria darlinghurst - must do sydney

One of the many natural flavours at RivaReno

We’ve tried a few flavours like Alice – mascarpone, premium Marsala, lashings of gianduja sauce, Contessa – Sicilian almonds and Piedmont hazelnuts with crushed amaretti and caramelised almond, Limone sorbet – made with Sicilian lemon juice and peel of lemons from Calabria and Caffe – 100% Arabica coffee with chocolate slivers.


The Flavours at RivaReno - Darlinghurst - sydney gelato

It was good to have the chance to meet and a quick chat with the charming owner of the Australian leg of RivaReno – Kieran Tosolini. After looking around Italy to find a perfect gelato maker, he settled on RivaReno because of it’s authenicity and quality.  He spent quite a bit of time looking at the production of gelato so that the Sydney RivaReno Gelateria would be as authentic as in Italy.

Alice - riva reno gelateria - sydney gelato - must do sydney - darlinghurst

Alice – mascarpone, premium Marsala, dripping with gianduja sauce


RivaReno Gelateria is open daily from 12pm – 12am.


RivaReno Gelateria

280 Crown Street, Darlinghurst Sydney 2010
RivaReno on Urbanspoon

World’s Best 50 Bar list-3 Cool Sydney Bars in

in Cool Bars | 4 Comments

The World’s 50 Best Bars list for 2012 is just out – and it’s fantastic to see three cool Sydney Bars up there with the world’s best. Baxter Inn, Eau de Vie and newcomer Palmer and Co made the best 50 list.

Baxter Inn - sydney cool bars - Sydney bars - their huge whisky selections

Baxter Inn, a Sydneycool favourite, is in at no. 7 on the 50 Best Bar list.  Brought to us by the Shady Pines team, this bar has the largest range of whiskies in Sydney, well made cocktails and a location and space that puts intrigue into going for a drink.  Baxter Inn also won Best Bar in Asia Pacific and Highest New Entry.

Baxter Inn - sydney cool bars - a classic martini

Palmer & Co, the new bar from the Establishment group and Justin Hemmes, made the list at no. 21. Palmer and Co is alongside the Establishment in Abercrombie Lane, Sydney CBD.

One of first cool Sydney small bars – Eau de Vie comes in at no 25.   Eau de Vie is no stranger to the 50 Best Bar list from last year – the space and service and, of course, drinks speak for themselves. One of sydneycool’s top 5 bars.

Shady Pines Saloon - a cool Darlo bar

Making to the ones to watch list in the World’s 50 Best Bars 2013  is Shady Pines, the other cool Sydney bar from Anton Forte and Jason Scott – the duo responsible for the Baxter Inn.

Check out these cool Sydney bars – and see why they’re in the World’s 50 Best Bar list.  Drinks International, who run the awards say ‘Sydney is fast becoming one of the most exciting drinks cities in the world’ – we know why!

PS Congratulations to Black Pearl from Melbourne no: 17.

Crave International Food Festival- cool Sydney food

in Cool Bars, Cool Restaurants | 2 Comments

One of the sydney cool food highlights of the year – Crave International Food Festival starts October 1. This year, there are hundreds of individual events.

Night Noodle Markets 2012 - Crave Food Festival - Hyde Park - cool Sydney food

We always enjoy that Sydney institution – the Night Noodle Markets – over 13 nights. Also World Chef Showcase is always worth a look – and this year, former local boys Jason Atherton from Pollen Street Social and David Thompson from Nahm both in London as well as the respected and world renowed Antonio Carluccio. The lineup continues with some local icons – Matt Moran from Aria and Chiswick, Mark Best from Marque and Alessandro Pavoni from Ormeggio at the Spit, Mosman in Sydney.

wagyu beef radish and black bean - Marron courgette and black garlic - Momofuku - cool Sydney restaurant - Sydney food blog

This year, we’re checking out the Talks and Thoughts – especially the session – Food writing and reading in a multi-platform world – where next? with David Chang from Momofuku.

414 restaurant - Surry Hills - Colin Fassnidge - cool Sydney restaurant

And for the Showcase Dinners – Sydneycool has picked The Celtic Tiger Returns – for one night only – Sunday 7th October at 4Fourteen Restaurant. Four chefs collaborating to produce a six-course degustation with dishes and flavours that are reminiscent of their Celtic background. From Sydney Colin Fassnidge and Carla Jones from 4Fourteen and Four in Hand. with Andrew McConnell and John Paul Twomey from Cutler&Co and Cumulis Inc, from Melbourne, very exciting.


So check out some of the events at Crave – and you get to understand why Sydney is the capital of cool food in Australia.




Latest news-cool bars and cool Sydney restaurants

in Cool Bars, Cool Restaurants | 1 Comment

Here’s our update on the latest new bars and cool sydney restaurants.

One of our favourite small bars – Grandma’s  is opening a new bar – The Wild Rover – it’s at 75 Campbell St, Surry Hills. The news from the team is that the opening has been delayed and 20th September or just before is the new date. Grandma’s kids tell us to expect a bar that’s ‘a swashbuckling, foot stomping riotous escape from pomp’ – bring it on!

Grandmas Bar - The Wild Rover - cool Sydney bars
the Wild Rover - cool Sydney bar - Grandmas Bar - sydneycool

Another new cool Sydney bar that’s underway is Monopole – it’s a wine bar and eatery from the Bentley Bar group. Monopole will be located at 71 Macleay St Potts Point (just around the corner from Challis Ave) with the space being designed by Pascale Gomes-McNabb. They’re promising wine friendly food including a range of in-house cured meats with a menu designed to share. We can report that work is underway on the refit – Brent and Nick from Bentley tell us they hope to be open by December.

Hinky Dinks Bar in Darlinghurst is going strong – with their monthly wine flight club, you get to sample some great wines from around Australia or the world with matched small bites – all for around fifty-five dollars per person.  Sydneycool has been to most and it’s a great night with a few friends and if you’re lucky, you get to chat with ‘cool as’ barman  - ‘James the man’ who makes a kickass martini with Tanqueray Ten – leaves you wanting more. Next wine flight club is 18th September so don’t miss out – book on 8084 6379 or email info[at]  PS: We love sexy Dan, who runs flight club and ‘James the man’, but the girls at Hinky Dinks are the real thing – love a grass skirt!

Congrats also to the Hinky Dinks team for a stack of nominations in the Australian Bar Awards including New Bar of the Year.

The girls at Hinky Dinks Bar - cool Sydney bars
Kickass martini by barman James - Hinky Dinks Bar - cool Sydney bars
One of the girls - Hinky Dinks Bar - cool Sydney bars

Roberto Marchetti from North Bondi Italian Food, la Macelleria Butcher and former partner in Icebergs has put together the Gowings Bar and Grill in the hotel that will grace the old Gowings site on the corner of George and Market Sts, Sydney CBD. Gowings Bar and Grill will have the style of a European brassiere – with wood fired rotisseries and ovens using produce from Australia’s best artisan providores. The food will be complimented with wines from exciting young winemakers from all around the world. Robert tells us it will be open around mid September.

Spooning Goats - cool Sydney bars - new small Sydney CBD bar
Spooning Goats - cool Sydney bar in York St Sydney CBD

We checked out Spooning Goats, not long after it opened – this is a small bar in York St Sydney City. It was the first week and we liked it – this bar is like someone’s living room in the 1970s complete with authentic chairs, coffee tables and light fittings and cool as wallpaper. Check it out – it’s at 32 York St.

Spooning Goats - small Sydney CBD bar - York St
Spooning Goats - cool Sydney bars - York St Sydney CBD

It’s been a tough year for the cool Sydney restaurant scene – and we, at sydneycool, were so sad to see the end of Becasse ♥.  It was one of the top fine dining restaurants in Australia if not the world, but things must and do move on.

Mr Wong - cool Sydney restaurant - Sydney CBD

And we’re excited about the new cool Sydney restaurants and bars coming like Mr Wong- just opened in the CBD.  Sydneycool was there to tell you about it.


Hinky Dinks Bar-Wine Flight Club-very cool

in Cool Bars | 1 Comment

Hinky Dinks Bar in Darlinghurst, a cool Sydney bar, has been sourcing some lesser known local and global wines and matching them with food to deliver their Tuesday Night Flight Club.

Always on the lookout to try wines from off the beaten track, sydneycool has become a regular at these monthly taste treats. Starting with our own Hunter Valley  NSW wines, the next wine flight saw some interesting wines from Heathcote and last Tuesday night’s Flight Club was very exciting with wines from Argentina. Normally a wine flight might give you one wine from a region, here you get to sample five or so wines – all well matched to small portions of casual food. Dan and the team at Hinky Dinks give us punters a rundown on the wines, complete with tasting notes, and the matched small dishes.

Slow cooked lamb shanks - Hinky Dinks - Darlinghurst - Wine Flight Club - cool Sydney bar
Argentinian wine Hinky Dinks - Darlinghurst - monthly Wine Flight Club - cool Sydney bar
Hinky Dinks - Darlinghurst - Wine Flight Club - cool Sydney bar

This month’s wines came from Michelle Parmentier and the team at Exclusive Vines – they included Tomero Torrontes – a white from high altitude vineyards in the Salta province of northern Argentina (lychee on the tongue with clean, dry finish) matched with a soft taco, braised chicken with jalapeno mayonnaise. Also was impressed with a malbec – Postales del Fin del Mundo Rosado from Patagonia (lots of berry and red fruit in this wine) and a malbec/cab sauvignon Vistalba Corte C from Mendoza (Blackcurrant and plum with hints of tobacco, chocolate and spice on the nose with intense tannins on the palate). This one was matched with slow-braised lamb shank served off the shank with roast beetroot and goat’s cheese salad.

Hinky Dink’s Tuesday Night Flight Club is casual winetasting, without the hordes that you might get at the usual wine events. The matched food is also casual and full of punch – Dan is very knowledgeable with the wines, and he’s not short of a laugh to keep wine Flight Club at Hinky Dinks a relaxed evening and a cool Sydney bar night and all that for about $55 – now that’s a pretty cool night. The next Tuesday night Flight Club is on 26th June – get along to try wines of Tasmania.


Hinky Dinks Bar

185 Darlinghurst Rd Darlinghurst Sydney 2010


Hinky Dinks Website
Hinky Dinks on Urbanspoon

Fu Manchu-Eau de Vie-darlinghurst

in Cool Restaurants | 3 Comments

Opening night at the new Fu Manchu in Darlinghurst Road, a very cool Sydney restaurant, was exciting for us at sydneycool – we’ve always thought the old Fu Manchu space was great, if a bit cramped at times.  Having said that, we liked it – so to see how it would go in its new larger space was interesting – after all Fu Manchu has been around for about 15 years and that for a Sydney restaurant is amazing!!!

Well it didn’t disappoint, the look is very cool Chinese, marble, wood, screens all cleverly put together with intimate banquettes for small groups and seating for couples.  It’s all looking very hip, with a large shiny steel kitchen at the back of the room that you can look in to.  We also love the large red double doors that take you through to the Kirketon Hotel and the very famous bar Eau de Vie, which has made it into the top 50 bars in the world – have a read of our post on Eau de Vie.

The new Fu Manchu - cool Sydney restaurant in Darlnghurst
Fu Manchu Darlinghurst - a classic cool sydney restaurant

But back to Fu Manchu and the really important thing – the food which was very good at the old Fu Manchu, we’re glad to report is still very good.

The kitchen at Fu manchu - Darlinghurst - cool Sydney restaurant
Sang Choi Bao - the new Fu Manchu - cool Sydney restaurant

We started with the Fu Manchu broth which was clear and clean tasting with the mild steamed flavour of shredded chicken floating through it with melt in your mouth wontons – all steaming hot.  Next, Fairweather choose the classic Sang Choi Bao to share – it was well executed and the perfect combination of very moist pork mince and water chestnuts with iceberg lettuce.  For the main part of the meal we choose the braised beef brisket which is slow cooked with star anise, the beef just fell apart into tender sinewy mouthfuls and a soft warm haunting flavour star anise, perfect on this chilly Sydney night.

Fu manchu - Darlinghurst - cool Sydney restaurant
The new Fu Manchu - cool Sydney restaurant - Darlinghurst

The verdict – the new Fu Manchu is as good as the old and we’re happy about that.  It really is a very cool Asian Sydney restaurant with the heritage to prove it – 15 years on- now that’s cool, congratulations Annie and all at Fu Manchu.




Fu Manchu Restaurant

229 Darlinghurst Rd Darlinghurst Sydney 2010

sydneycool rating♥♥



Fu Manchu Website

Fu Manchu on Urbanspoon

cool sydney restaurant- bar update

in Cool Bars, Cool Restaurants | Leave a comment

Always lots happening in the cool Sydney restaurant and bar scene – so here at sydneycool we’re going to tell you about one-off events to watch out for plus new bars and restaurants that’ll be opening before they do so you can be ahead of the game.

Berta - 2nd birthday - cool Sydney restaurant and barOne of our favourite sydney cool restaurants/bars, Berta is having it’s second birthday.  We love this cool space, the martinis are some of our favs and the food always surprises.  So for it’s birthday, there’s a special celebration on Saturday 9th of June with a banquet –  tables groaning with a succession of chef O Tama Carey’s most-loved dishes and matched with some fine Italian vini.

Universal Restaurant - cool Sydney restaurant - lunar dinner

June’s going to be a exciting month – one of sydneycool’s admired chefs, Christine Manfield‘s latest cookbook ‘Tasting India’ has won the prestigious Cookbook of the Year and Best Culinary Travel at the 2012 IACP awards in New York. We’ve followed Christine and her various restaurants and she’s still up there with the best.  So to celebrate Christine’s win, Universal Restaurant is presenting a lunar dinner on Thursday 21st June with a menu showcasing some of Christine’s favourite Indian recipes.

Grandmas Bar - new cool Sydney bar - opening Surry Hills



Now a couple of new bars to look out for.  We reckon Grandma’s Bar is one of the best cool Sydney bars – now ‘Grandmas and the kids’ are opening another bar.  This one’ll be in lower Surry Hills – 75 Campbell St – so stay tuned to sydneycool and find out when’s opening.





Spooning Goats - new Sydney small bar - cool Sydney barAnd another small Sydney CBD bar that’s sounds intruiging – Spooning Goats opens soon at 32 York St, Sydney CBD.  It’ll be cocktails, boutique beers from NSW micro breweries and a small wine list and the owner Jason will showcase local emerging artists by using the wall space as gallery space free of charge and live acoustic music every week.

STOP PRESS – the new Fu Manchu opens tomorrow night – 21st May – in it’s new location at 229 Darlinghurst Rd in the Kirketon Hotel looking very, very cool.


PS  Keep glued to sydneycool in the next few weeks for a chance to win a copy of Tasting India

The Hazy Rose- new Sydney small bar

in Cool Bars | Leave a comment

The Hazy Rose is a new cool Sydney bar in Stanley Street, Darlinghurst (opposite Bill and Tonys). Not much has opened in recent times in Stanley St that’s been worth going to – so it’s good to see this cool small bar lift the vibe of the area.

Once you climb the dark stairs from street level, there’s a long narrow room with French doors opening on to a terrace overlooking Stanley St. At the other end of the room are the loos – typical of a Sydney terrace, a bar with stools running along one side and lots of different types of comfy vintage seating around the room in intimate groupings.

The Hazy Rose - East Sydney - cool Sydney bars
The Hazy Rose - Stanley St -Darlinghurst - cool Sydney bars

We were given a warm welcome by the person behind the bar – who, within minutes, came over with glasses of water and a drinks menu. Fairweather ordered one of the house cocktails – Hamish – tequila, Talikser single malt whisky and bitters – a combo that worked perfectly – tequila taste to start, developing to a distinctly whisky middle then finishing with the bitters. I ordered a classic dry Martini and was asked what gin I prefer – also given a run down on the different qualities of the gins (we love that). So I left it up to the waiter – she settled on Sipsmith from Hammersmith, London. It was perfect – just one hesitation, I’m not keen on a large thick twist of lemon rind that takes over your glass – a fine small twist is far more classic in martinis.

The Hazy Rose - Hamish cocktail -Darlinghurst - cool Sydney bars
The Hazy Rose - Darlinghurst - cool Sydney bar

We loved the very cool music at Hazy Rose – like the Band, Thunderclap Newman and a song called Fujiyama Mama which is also the name of one of their cocktails.

After our cocktails, we thought we’d try the cheese board which was good if but very small. Our bar person suggested a glass of Monte Antico – Tuscan Sangiovese blend which worked very well with the cheese.

This is a very cool Sydney small bar, the service sharp and knowledgable, drinks are on the money, their comfy chairs, low lighting and very, very cool music. Hazy Rose is the new place in East Sydney – check it out.




The Hazy Rose

83 Stanley St, Darlinghurst Sydney 2010


The Hazy Rose Website

The Hazy Rose on Urbanspoon