Food, drink and fashion in Sydney’s Surry Hills

SURRY HILLS is one of the latest inner city neighbourhoods to hit the cutting edge of this ever changing Australian metropolis. It’s the beating heart of Sydney’s artistic world, and it’s packed with new hot drinking spots and eateries. 

Sydney at night

Pic: Natasha von Geldern.

The area started life in the 19th century as a popular spot for the mansions of wealthy merchants on the city outskirts, before being overtaken by an overcrowded slum notorious for its brothels and gangs. 

It is still a neighbourhood of contrasts. On Crown Street the past 20 years’ gentrification has resulted in lovely restored Victorian houses hung with iron lace.

But just off Crown is a remaining fragment of Frog Hollow, a gully that was once filled with desperately poor and overcrowded terraces where the worst criminals of the 1920s were to be found.

Sydney’s bar scene has recently seen the emergence of a ‘small bar’ culture – atmospheric places favoured by locals. Unsurprisingly you’ll find a number of these in Surry Hills.

Behind a barely noticeable café frontage at 544 Bourke Street you’ll find the alluring and exclusive Fico. This attractive Italian-owned wine bar also has a delicious bar menu with good suggestions for teaming food and wine.

The former Crown Street Reservoir workshop has recently been opulently transformed into The Winery by the people from Gazebo Wine Garden. As the name suggests you can expect an impressive 60 wines available by the glass.

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Pic: Natasha von Geldern.

For brunch, organic café Kawa is one of a wide selection of seriously hip cafes and bistros. I tasted the best Thai food I’ve had in years at In the Mood for Thai (try the yellow curry with fish) and loved the over-the-top chandeliers and wicker pouffes.

If you’re in the mood for carbs go to Pizza e Birra (guess where… Crown Street) for delicious Italian food washed down with a cold Perroni.

If you want to score an original 1950s dress, a 1920s cloche hat, some authentic vintage denim, Surry Hills is the place to come. The boutiques here dress celebrities and they are not about second hand clothes but avant garde style!

A must visit is Grandma Takes a Trip, again on Crown Street, where Nicola Sault and Andrew Duckmanton have established their store as the place to come for stylists before a shoot and fashionistas before a must-impress premier.

And beyond the old clothes their Altered State label will guarantee you a completely individual wardrobe statement with its mix of gorgeous vintage-inspired pieces coupled with contemporary design.

So discover a new part of Sydneyand become immersed in the city’s dynamic lifestyle. Take an urban walkabout and enjoy a day in Surry Hills – you’ll soon be hooked.