Arrh the humble CBD food court, fluro lighting, food in bain-marie, plastic chairs and very high probably of mystery meat in your ramen. Not exactly gourmet or healthy. Yet things are changing with Westfield Sydney, Circular Quay and MLC all getting a ‘food-do-over’. Not surprising that at the ‘suits’ end of town, Chifley has taken its time to create a new experience with a curated list of providores by adding a few famous chef names to boot.
Let’s start with the facelift; SJB led the redesign and it has throwbacks to the Great Gatsby with Manhattan Art Deco vibe. Marble, marble and oooh just a bit more marble (well 180 tonnes actually) showcases a rotunda with black, gold and triple height columns. It’s a bit swish with a range of booths, tables and seating options all elegantly spaced apart.
Now the food. After a soft launch last year the power names are all in and here is our go to list:
Poku by Flying Fish – Yep those Jones Bay wharf boys are doing it again. Chef Jason Roberts is passionate about food as a source of energy, you only need to understand his passion for cycling to see that the latest food trend of Poke, (Hawaiin fish salad bowls) underpins everything he believes in. Together with entrepreneur Jack Fonteyn, their sourcing is first class; Ora King salmon, Hiramasa Kingfish even elements like fried shallots are gluten free. Every bowl is prepared a la mode. Arrive early for the Signature Bowl of ‘Poku House’ salmon, creamy togarashi, furikake and kale. If you want to build your own, its not for the indecisive – sweet potato noodles, bamboo rice, zucchini noodles, pick your veggies, herbs, spices, crispy and your sauces. That’s 26 ingredients!
Chicken Confidential by Luke Mangan – The burger explosion is well underway and Luke throws his hat in the celebrity burger ring underpinned by organic chickens from Queensland’s Inglewood farms and a smattering of beef and salad options. Forget KFC this is LMC (Luke Mangan’s Chicken) and it’s organic and orgasmic! Our pick is ‘Gangnam style’ crispy Korean chicken with pickled vegetables and kimchi mayo. ‘Love Me Chicken Tenders’ are 3 spicy little numbers you won’t want to share. Other burger options are all on trend; ‘Southern Style Yes Ma’am’, Indian style ‘Curry Up’, spicy ‘Hot Chick’ and you can have any of them bun free, carb free, bland free or gluten free. Shame you have to a pay for all of them!
Ella Blues by Chinta Ria – Simon Goh blends music and food together with a New Orleans design and Malaysian Food. It’s a mix of Indian, Malay and Chinese. Try Ayam Ria known as happiness chicken with its caramelised dark sauce of ginger and dried chilli. Roti with curry gravy is perfect for scooping. Small bites of tasty pork and prawn dumplings of Siew Mai or Loh Bak rolls all crispy and deep fried with their bean curd skins and silky 5 spice chicken are best followed with a Nasi Goreng or Beef Rendang.
Encasa – It’s a little bit of Madrid in our city and founders Colombian Maria Barona and Spanish husband Francisco ‘Pachi’ Rodrigues have done it again. You can opt for their addictive croquettes of the day but our pick is the ridiculously good bocadillo (sandwich). A baguette with way more attitude than any French counterpart; filled with your choice from calamares, iberico ham, Canario (roast pork), chorizo or Sobrasada drizzled with honey. Our favourite is the classic tortilla a Spanish omelette with potato, onions roast capsicum, aioli. Carb on carb, we can’t go wrong.
Sal – Romolo owner George Nahas brings us an all Italian New York Deli inspired from his dining experience in the West Village. Grab a Gypsy coffee roasted locally but head early for Signature grilled cheese’s, savoury breakfast bowls including a turmeric bowl of poached eggs brown rice and quinoa, spinach and almonds with turmeric and tahini yoghurt. Lunch moves onto build your own salads, bagels with shhhhmears, and a range pastas from pork casarecce to crystal bay pawn Tagliatelle. Oh and if you thought it’s not Manhattan without the pizza, well they have that too. Just don’t miss out on the house made cannoli.
Chifley, Level One
2 Chifley Square