If the thought of cooking for the hungry hordes at Christmas sends you into a cold sweat, maybe it’s time to let the experts do the heavy lifting. Here’s a round up of the top restaurants in Sydney serving merry meals over the holidays. You know, just in case you’d prefer your Christmas feast for 24 cooked by someone else.
Swap the twinkling lights and sparkling tinsel of your Christmas tree for the panoramic view from Altitude, 36 storeys above Sydney Harbour. Dive headfirst into a seafood-scattered menu that highlights the freshest summer produce available. Six courses: $175 per person with a glass of champagne, $90 per child.
Shangri-La Hotel, 176 Cumberland Street, Sydney; (02) 9250 6295
The Pantry Manly
Leave the eggnog and nibbled carrot for Santa and pull up a seat overlooking the ocean at The Pantry Manly for a flavour-packed evening meal, featuring prawns with chilli and garlic, and grilled tenderloin steak that's been given lashings of Christmas spirit with the addition of foie gras, toasted milk bread and truffled butter. There’s even a beloved Australian pav with kiwifruit, berries and fresh cream to finish the festivities. Your choice of three courses: $90 per person.
Ocean Promenade, North Steyne, Manly; (02) 9977 0566
If you can't stomach another slice of turkey, try some Turkish-inspired fare for your Christmas Day feast. Efendy is serving five courses, starting with a cheese plate piled high with crisps and lashing of chilli jam and mains of spicy prawn and snapper pilaki and a chicken, rice and almond pie covered in flaky pastry.. Five courses: $95 per person; $140 with matching Turkish wines.
79 Elliott Street, Balmain; (02) 9810 5466
Image credit: Charlotte Curd
12 Micron is known for its five-course dessert degustation so it's no surprise the final course of its three-course Christmas menu features a slew of decadent treats: Christmas pudding, white chocolate and rosella slice, mince pies and mini coconut roughs, all washed down with proper eggnog. But the previous courses hold their own, too, including a seafood spread of kingfish, oysters, king prawns and lobster all accented with native Australian ingredients as well as rotisserie pork, roast Wagyu and barramundi paired with fennel and citrus fruits. Three courses: $155 per person.
Tower 1, Level 2, 100 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo
Ripples Chowder Bay
Perched above the harbour on a former navy site, this Mosman restaurant serves up quite the view with your split prawns. The set menu leaves every last bit of decision-making in the hands of head chef Kristian Gamble, who keeps it classic with a focus on seafood for a celebratory summer lunch. Goat's curd with pickled pumpkin and hazelnut with hearty potato bread makes a fresh, fuss-free start and porchetta with kipfler potatoes echoes a home-cooked favourite. The dessert is also a refined version of a seasonal classic – a trifle of apricots, pistachios and mascarpone gelato. Set menu of three courses with choice: $215 per person, $95 per child.
Building 7, Deck C Chowder Bay Road, Mosman; (02) 9960 3000
If you’re tired of pretending the custard isn’t lumpy, opt for a more refined gathering at Q Dining. Dishes such as rocky oysters, Cone Bay barramundi and roast turkey make the most of both traditional fare and fresh Australian produce. If ritual plays a big role in your lunch, however, don’t worry – there’s the customary Christmas pudding with fig and brandy ice-cream to finish off. Plus, the bottomless champagne is sure to help you shake off any residual stress from frantic last-minute gift shopping. Your choice of three courses with bottomless champagne: $299 per person, $149.50 per child.
Pullman Quay Grand, 61 Macquarie Street, Sydney Harbour; (02) 9256 4000
Black Bar & Grill
Skip the ubiquitous prawn cocktail and enjoy gutsy summer seafood at Black Bar & Grill at The Star. An entrée of salmoe roe is a standout, while the deliciously hearty toothfish is given a smoky edge in the charcoal oven. Christmas traditionalists may want to opt for turkey and heirloom carrots with rhubarb chutney. Dessert – a chocolate fondant with cherries and coconut sorbet – is a delicious nod to the festive season. Four courses: $185 per person.
Harbourside, The Star, Level G, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont; (02) 9657 9109
The Bistro Moncur mood is French, stylish and classic – perfect for those after more traditional Christmas fare. Expect roast turkey with a truffled pork farce, as well as trusty sides such as snow peas and potatoes. Dessert is traditional pudding with a cognac custard, and mini mince pies. Three courses: $250 per person.
116A Queen Street, Woollahra; (02) 9327 9713
Gowings Bar & Grill
The modern rendition of a timeless Christmas feast at Gowings Bar & Grill opens with an elevated seafood platter starter that covers all bases (think caviar, ocean trout gravlax and beer-steamed prawns). Next is the comforting combination of glazed leg ham with with pineapple sauce or a juicy turkey breast. Sides such as creamy Paris mash and crisp Brussels sprouts make the meal feel familiar – perfect for a relaxed family gathering without the tangle of post-feast washing up. Three courses: $175 per person.
1/49 Market Street, Sydney; (02) 8262 0062
This new restaurant in the Rocks is serving up a Christmas lunch with a Middle Eastern spin. The three-course feast includes lamb shoulder that's been slow-cooked for 18 hours, served with a white bean masabaha, and a festive dessert of yoghurt panna cotta with sweet grilled pineapple and candied ginger. Three courses with grazing plate on arrival and matching wines: $150 per person, $30 for children under 12 (separate kids menu with soft drink).
34 Harrington Street, Nurses Walk, The Rocks; (02) 8220 9999
SEE ALSO: Inside Australia's First Fish Butchery