Located on the Pyrmont waterfront, a short walk from Sydney’s CBD, The Star casino and complex is home to luxury hotels – from The Darling to The Star Grand Residences – and a spate of buzzing restaurants, bars and cafés. Here’s your guide to its best haunts.
Where to stay
There are three accommodation options at The Star, with The Darling offering the most sophisticated experience. Its high-ceilinged lobby – with occasional pops of bright colour – is a far cry from the bright, crowded food courts, casinos and event centres of The Star. At 34 square metres, even the entry-level rooms are spacious and each features a work desk and ensuite with rain shower. But if you want to spread out, book one of the Jewel Suites for uninterrupted harbour views or a Stellar Suite for 76 square metres of real estate comprising a separate living room, spacious bedroom, marble ensuite with water views and powder room. There’s an outdoor heated pool and an excellent spa (see below) on the fifth floor of the hotel, plus a compact but well-equipped gym on the second floor.
The Star Grand Hotel
The Star Grand Hotel doesn’t hold back – it delivers all the glitz and glamour you expect from the casino complex and then some. The gilded lobby with striking chandeliers sets the more-is-more tone, while shiny hallways lined with premium boutiques (from Versace to Rolex) add to the bling factor. There are 309 guestrooms and suites to choose from. The Superior Room – with 400-thread-count linen, De’Longhi coffee machines and either king or twin beds – are perfectly comfortable dens if you’re travelling solo or without kids. But if you want more space, book one of the suites that have separate living rooms. The hotel has an outdoor heated pool and spa on the fifth floor (go there in the morning or early afternoon to get some sun) as well as a health club with personal-training sessions available for an extra fee.
The Star Grand Residences
As the name suggests, The Star Grand Residences is a collection of 132 apartment-style luxury suites – a convenient option if you want to stay at the complex for longer. Residences range from one-bedroom suites with Pyrmont, city and harbour views to two- and three-bedroom suites with creature comforts such as electric blinds and marble ensuites. The “residents” have access to all of The Star Grand Hotel’s facilities, including pool, spa and gym.
The Star's restaurants and bars
The best Asian
Chuuka is a good 10 minutes walk from The Star complex but its prime position at the end of Pyrmont’s Jones Bay Wharf means one thing – 180-degree water views. Not that they’ll detract from what’s going on inside the restaurant, with its exposed beams, high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. Two talented chefs – Chase Kojima and Victor Liong – have joined forces to create a dining experience that fuses timeless Japanese and Chinese techniques. Enjoy the results in the nine-dish set menu, which kicks off with superbly cooked greenlip abalone and concludes with a light and fluffy Japanese cheesecake.
The best seafood
Ocean-fresh seafood, minimal waste and maximum flavour – there are many reasons why Flying Fish is such a hit with diners: both locals and visitors. Add to that the eatery’s prime location at the front of The Star complex, complete with full-length glass windows, and you have the makings of a truly great city restaurant. Take in the bright and airy dining room when you drop in for the $49 lunch, which includes an entrée (ocean trout sashimi, perhaps), a main (Cone Bay barramundi, say) and a glass of wine. Or make an evening of it by booking a table for dinner and opting for the three-course, nine-dish set sharing menu, featuring standouts like Moreton Bay bugs with anchovy butter and Tajima Wagyu with white pepper sauce.
The best steak
Decked out with plush leather booths and dark timber tables and featuring a plethora of dry-aged meats – some eye-wateringly expensive – Black Bar & Grill is one of Sydney’s best steak restaurants. One mouthful of chef Dany Karam’s velvety beef carpaccio or butter-soft Wagyu is enough to transport you to carnivore heaven. But Black is no one-trick pony. Its vegetarian menu with goat’s cheese tortellini and grilled corn risotto will keep the vegos happy, while its Insta-hit chocolate bomb is known to reduce diners with a sweet tooth to tears of joy.
The best Japanese
Located off the lobby of The Darling, executive chef Chase Kojima’s Sokyo is a versatile dining spot. Kick off the day with a breakfast of chilli crab omelette, seal a business deal at lunch with a platter of sashimi or celebrate in style with the seven-course prix fixe dinner (there’s also an à la carte menu), with delicacies such as miso-glazed toothfish and sambal-butter tiger prawns. Just don’t forget to book well in advance. The long sleek dining room – with blond-wood chairs, dark-hued tables and an open kitchen – is one of the most sought-after haunts in the city, particularly on weekends.
The best Middle Eastern
Bar Tikram is chef Dany Karam’s love letter to Lebanon. Located right next to the main Pyrmont Street entrance to The Star complex, the semi-al-fresco eatery (perfect on a sunny day or a balmy evening) serves up delightful Middle Eastern – from paprika-spiked hummus and olive-dotted labneh to fattoush salad laced with sumac and served with crisp Lebanese bread. The lamb shoulder – braised for nine hours – is a standout, while the coffee parfait with orange blossom syrup and baklava is a must-have dessert.
The best Italian
There are many ways to enjoy Cucina Porto, The Star’s recently launched Italian eatery, just across from the busy Lyric Theatre. Pull up a stool at the bar and sip a classic Negroni. Or grab one of the tables outside – great for people-watching and if you’re after a quick pre-show bite (order the Porto pizza, laden with octopus and prawns). But if you really want to appreciate the culinary calibre of chef Martino Pulito, nab one of the tables inside the restaurant, with its pastel-pink walls and splashes of rich maroon, and try one of the mains that make this place so special. Slow-cooked beef and lamb ragu with schiaffoni, perhaps?
The best fast food
Whether you’re in the mood for fish and chips or burgers, quick Middle Eastern or takeaway ice cream, there’s something for everyone at The Star Food Court – a clutch of half a dozen eateries located next to the Lyric Theatre. It’s worth lining up for Din Tai Fung’s world-renowned pork dumplings, Adanos Grill’s pide and Flying Fish & Chips’ ocean-fresh sashimi and sushi platters. Just don’t forget to stop by at Gelato Messina for a sweet treat afterwards.
What to do
Opened in 1997, the Sydney Lyric theatre is one of the city’s premier live-show venues, seating up to 2000 people over multiple floors. The theatre has hosted world premieres of shows such as Strictly Ballroom the Musical, Australian premieres of productions like Legally Blonde the Musical and is currently hosting Tony Award-winning Broadway-smash-hit Hamilton.
The Darling Spa
You’re on the fifth floor of the The Darling hotel when you visit The Darling Spa, but you might feel like you’re on another planet – that’s how quiet and serene this wellness sanctuary is, with long, moodily lit corridors with trickling water features and smiling staff. There’s an expansive menu of facials and massages to choose from but for the ultimate indulgence sign up for the three-hour Li’tya The Dreaming treatment, which includes a full-body wrap and massage, plus a facial.