The CBD doesn’t hold all the aces in the dining deck – Sydney’s northern suburbs are dotted with gems and nestled in the leafy surrounds of Castlecrag, Apera is setting the standard.
The contemporary diner-cum-bar feels like a fancy gastropub, with inviting leather and floral banquettes, warm timber panelling, olive-green tones, a bar with high stools, an eat-at kitchen counter and plenty of alfresco seating. The service is smart-casual, too.
The beer, wine and spirits list champion small-batch brewers, winemakers and distilleries and in sourcing some of the country’s best produce, chef Ryan Blagrave puts Australia on a plate, letting stellar ingredients speak for themselves. Start with local Sydney rock oysters served with a squeeze of blood orange and a sprinkle of golden kelp powder. South Australian vongole come tossed in ’nduja and samphire, while the woodfired oven takes care of the fall-off-the-bone flesh of whole snapper and slow-roasted Cowra lamb shoulder served covered in snow pea tendrils and dorrigo pepper chimichurri. For dessert, the rum-baked pineapple anise myrtle cake with a generous lathering of sour ginger chantilly cream is wickedly addictive.
Atmosphere: Fancy gastropub
Best for: Relaxed weekend get together
Cuisine: Uniquely Australian food made from locally sourced ingredients
Standout dish: Cowra lamb shoulder
Open: Friday-Sunday for lunch and Wednesday-Sunday for dinner
Address: 23-26/100 Edinburgh Road, Castlecrag
Phone number: (02) 8971 5148