From a raspberry and pistachio bombe Alaska to mojito popsicles and Peter Gilmore’s famous snow egg, this is where to find Sydney’s best desserts.
Eastside Kitchen & Bar
Why choose one sweet when you can opt for a dessert presentation? Yes, a presentation. Eastside Kitchen & Bar's “fire and ice” dessert presentation features liquid nitrogen honeycomb (prepared at your table, no less) paired with tangy passionfruit tart, a decadent rum brownie matched with a green tea mousse and a silky creme brûlée, accompanied by freeze-dried berries. Be warned: this is a dessert made for at least two so only the brave should attempt to polish it off solo.
Level 1, 2/10 Kensington Street, Chippendale; (02) 9212 0900
The menu at Olio brims with Italian dessert favourites – classic tiramisu, ricotta cream and candied citrus-stuffed cannelloni and ultra-creamy gelato all make an appearance – as well as more modern creations, such as a cheesecake made with semolina and parmesan, topped with honey cream. Pair the treat with a glass of Italian or Australian vino from the concise yet punchy dessert wine list.
Level 2, 2/10 Kensington Street, Chippendale; (02) 9281 1500
Upper East Side
The cocktails are cool and the dinner offerings fresh – think scallop carpaccio and parsley-buttered tiger prawns – but it's the desserts that deserve your undivided attention at Upper East Side. The most popular choice? According to owner, Ussi Moniz Da Silva, it’s the fried banana bread. Topped with blueberries and a generous dollop of salted caramilk ice-cream (made with four types of milk and a serious whack of sugar), it’s the perfect sweet note to finish on. Prefer a liquid dessert? Turn to the extensive cocktail menu and seek out the creamy Mokatini, made with vanilla vodka, Kahlua, Frangelico, cacao and a shot of espresso.
14-16 O'Brien Street, Bondi Beach; 0411 591 234
Messina Creative Department
Gelato Messina has been serving Sydney scoops of gelato since 2002, but have you tried their seven-course dessert dégustation? The intimate affair at the Messina Creative Department in Darlinghurst is equally quirky as it is indulgent. Striking flavour combinations, such as the passionfruit and olive oil sorbet, saffron sauce and buffalo milk ricotta or the almond gelato, potato chips, brown butter cream, porcini crisp and caviar will appeal to those who are after an unconventional, yet wickedly satisfying experience.
243 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst
Redefining the humble soft serve is the exceptionally artistic Hartsyard softie. New flavour combinations are unveiled every week, and while you could share, we recommend you devour your own. Favourite flavours include rocky road cheesecake, milk and honey joy, salty Gaytime, Nutella baklava, and yoghurt and Meyer lemon.
33 Enmore Road, Newtown
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Sydney may not be home to the much-loved Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio (Melbourne has that honour) but lovers of Darren Purchese's amazing creations can head to 12-Micron in Barangaroo for a delectable selection of his most iconic dishes. You can even indulge in a three-, five- or seven-course dessert degustation – not a bad idea, considering there are a dozen sweet dishes on the extensive menu and many of them could be labelled "must-have". We couldn't go past Purchese's signature Gin & Tonic, with its textural mix of cool frozen cucumber, tonic jelly and tongue-zapping citrus flavours. The somehow rich yet light Mandarine dessert, with its salted caramel-encased surprise and wafer-thin chocolate, was also a favourite. Throw in the crowd-pleasing strawberry and white chocolate cheesecake and you've got yourself a well-rounded three-course degustation that includes all of Purchese's top hits.
Level 2, 100 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo
Image: Ryan Linnegar
One of the hottest openings this year, Mercado takes late-night bookings for cheese, wine and dessert. We can’t pass up the extensive array of house-made cheeses, or for those with a sweet tooth, the Spanish influenced Pedro Ximenez bread pudding with vanilla sauce or the chocolate and sour cherry tart with house-made crème fraiche will leave you wanting more.
4 Ash Street, Sydney
Dessert doesn’t get more iconic than chef Peter Gilmore’s famous snow egg at the renowned Quay restaurant. With sweeping views of Sydney Harbour, it would be hard to imagine a more picturesque location to savour every mouthful of their legendary dessert. Perched on a bed of granita, the egg-shaped tuile oozing with meringue is a foodie’s delight.
Overseas Passenger Terminal, Hickson Road, The Rocks
Image: Nikki To
You’ll want to save space for the exceptional desserts on offer at Bar Machiavelli. The dessert menu features all the expected Italian classics and a (delicious) modern surprise or two. Our picks? The decadent torta caprese or the baked mascarpone cheesecake.
10 Neild Avenue, Rushcutters Bay
Koi Dessert Bar
Best known for his MasterChef stint in 2015, Reynold Poernomo is the artistic brains behind Chippendale's Koi Dessert Bar. Those after a takeaway treat will relish the popcorn dessert – a dark chocolate brownie with caramel popcorn and brûlée mousse, dark chocolate honeycomb and caramel jelly. Alternatively, if you have the evening to spare, nab a table and indulge in the set dessert menu. All four courses (the Lemongrab and Bika are standouts) are wickedly satisfying.
46 Kensington Street, Chippendale
Ms G’sIf you haven’t yet tried the stoner’s delight from Ms G’s , you haven’t lived like a true Sydneysider. Brace yourself for doughnut ice-cream, peanut dulce de leche, peanut and pretzel brittle, crispy bacon, Mars Bar brownie, raspberry curd, potato chips and deep-fried Nutella. Sharing is definitely recommended.
155 Victoria Street, Potts Point
It’s no secret that Alpha serves some of Sydney’s best Greek dishes, in particular, their flavoursome desserts. Designed to share, dig into the fluffy loukoumades served with spiced honey syrup and candied walnut ice-cream. If you can handle something sweeter, the traditional baklava with Frangelico syrup and sour cherry ice-cream packs a delectable punch.
238 Castlereagh Street, Sydney
North Bondi Fish
Overlooking the famous sand and surf of Bondi Beach, it’s no wonder that North Bondi Fish is a popular spot for dessert, with the array of popsicles clear favourites on the menu. The 18+ can toss up between an espresso martini, mojito or a blood orange negroni popsicle. And for the little ones, the banana and peanut butter and Nutella and cream popsicles will hit the spot.
120 Ramsgate Avenue, North Bondi
Good Time Artisan Ice Cream
The impressive Nathan Sasi (previously of Nomad) and his wife Sali are the ingenious duo behind Good Time Artisan Ice Cream, located in Potts Point. The menu is ever changing and features childhood favourite-inspired ice-cream flavours (peaches and cream or banana and peanut butter, anyone?) with plenty of extra toppings and embellishments such as gold dust, pop rocks, bacon crumble and crystalised chocolate.
87B MacLeay Street, Potts Point
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Tucked behind the Woollahra Hotel, Bistro Moncur serves up impressive French dishes with desserts to match. It’s hard to settle on just one dessert – they are all worthy. Though if you ask us, we can’t get enough of the old school raspberry and pistachio bombe Alaska or the satisfying mandarin soufflé with vanilla anglaise and mandarin sorbet.
116 Queen Street, Woollahra
Image: Dominic Loneragan
Cow & The Moon
Sydneysiders flock to this humble neighbourhood gelato bar. Be prepared to line up, though – after taking out the title of the best gelato in the world in 2014, awarded in Italy no less, Cow & The Moon’s popularity has well and truly soared. We’re all for an inventive flavour, but we can’t go past the classic cookies and cream and no-fuss pistachio.
181 Enmore Road, Enmore
Deep-fried ice-cream isn’t fancy, but it sure it delicious – and Mr Wong does it best. Dished up with rich butterscotch sauce, you’re guaranteed to finish your dining experience on a high. If ice-cream isn’t your thing, opt for the raspberry and sheep’s milk yoghurt parfait, vanilla meringue and fresh raspberries, which doesn’t disappoint.
3 Bridge Lane, Sydney
Top image: Bar Machiavelli
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