5th Floor Customs House, 31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay, NSW
02 9257 8683
If the name doesn’t scream Sydney, the location surely does. Nestled on the rooftop of Customs House, Cafe Sydney boasts one of the best harbour views in the city. The outdoor balcony at this stunning restaurant is the perfect place to watch the sun set over the magnificent Sydney Harbour Bridge or witness the bustling ferries shuttling travellers to and from Circular Quay.
Cafe Sydney is a modern Australian restaurant showcasing local produce that is driven by the seasons. Executive Chef, James Kidman, joined the team in 2014 and brings nearly 20 years of experience to the kitchen – including stints as junior sous chef at Restaurant 41 and head chef at OTTO Ristorante.
James’ contemporary menu places Sydney’s internationally renowned seafood at the forefront, with Moreton Bay bugs, Coffin Bay baby octopus and Humpty Doo barramundi all starring. Start your seaside journey with freshly shucked oysters served with the signature eschallot, chive and pinot grigio vinegar. If you feel like splashing out, a magnificent seafood platter offers Sydney’s freshest crab, Moreton Bay bugs, scampi, prawns and marron.
A fish-focused appetiser list includes a peach gazpacho with hand-picked spanner crab, brioche croutons and paprika oil. Meat lovers will be drawn to the Black Market beef carpaccio with pickled mushroom, truffle dressing, parmesan, rocket and porcini mayonnaise, while vegetarians should opt for the refreshing Binnorie feta tart served with asparagus, peas, broad beans, chervil and mint.
For mains, choose between suckling pork belly with rich morcilla sauce, Pedro Ximenez, hazelnut cream, nectarine and red elk; or a tandoori roasted king salmon with mint buffalo yoghurt, tomato, green beans, potato crisp, coconut and coriander.
Pad out your meal with a sourdough roll and some Pepe Saya cultured butter or a spiced caramelised onion naan, or opt for sides like buffalo mozzarella with shaved zucchini, broad beans, mint and lemon. Cafe Sydney also has a separate, completely vegan menu for those so inclined.
Dessert is decadent, with wine add-ins at every step. A chocolate bread and butter pudding is topped with fig, candied orange and marmalade ice cream, with the recommended addition of Madeira. If you prefer your sweets in the form of cocktails, the salted caramel martini with 42 Below vodka, butterscotch schnapps, Kahlua, salted caramel, cream and Murray River pink salt will surely leave you satisfied.
A cleverly curated Australian-focused wine list is marked with vegan options too. Champagne is available by the glass, bottle and magnum, ready for any celebration. You can also sit up at the bar and enjoy one of the cocktail twists. The Istanbul Fizz combines Grey Goose pear vodka, peach puree, elderflower cordial, cucumber, lemon and soda water.
Natural light floods into the main dining room via the glass ceiling and dark timber chairs, while the tables match the floorboards. Giant port city names flank the walls and an impressive wine unit stores every tipple at the perfect temperature. If you’re lucky enough to nab an outdoor seat, wicker chairs and marble tables greet you with your million-dollar view.
With such a quintessentially Sydney experience, it’s no wonder Cafe Sydney has been a staple for locals and travellers alike for more than 17 years.