Winter Guide to Sydney’s best wonderland Experiences

Your Instagram might be bursting with images from the European Summer yet Sydney is exploding with new magical wintry experiences you didn’t even know about. So many venues are transforming our city as bars and restaurants turn into exquisite wonderlands. So get wrapped up, and enjoy our top picks, tried and tested just for you!

Glamping at The Winery 

Teepee in the Winery Garden

Enter under an archway then follow the fairy lights to a fit out which wouldn’t be out of place with Glastonbury attire and a flower crown – this is the ultimate food glamping experience. The garden is transformed into a bohemian hideaway with private teepees, oversized dream catchers, plush throws and cushions. Sip on warm mulled wine then feast on a fondue picnic ranging from honey roasted Camembert topped with fig jam and crisp toast, cruditê skewers, almond ricotta and a raclette station that will melt cheese fans
The Deal: Mon- Sun you can indulge in a Winter cheese menu for $20pp, our pick is to go Thurs – Sun which offers:
Happy Glamper: enjoy your own raclette station, French onion grilled cheese,hot chocolate cannoli, while sipping Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Premium wines, priced at $59pp
Bottomless Glamper: Riesling and honey roasted Camembert, raclette station and tiramisu-baked Alaska. This is paired with Jacob’s Creek Bottomless Mulled Wine and Double Barrel Shiraz, priced at $79pp.

The Highlander Bar – Sir Stamford

Bar at The Highlander

Be transported back to Scotland as you enter the Sir Stamford Hotel via a private entrance to this hidden whisky sanctuary. The walls are adorned with historic paintings, rugs on the floor, fireplace, grand piano, tartan cushions, sofas, soft lighting. Its a bar you can settle in for the night. The food menu is not what you would expect! Go European or Singaporean. The chefs, mostly hailing from Asia knock it out of the ballpark with a seafood laksa, Indonesian chicken satay, nasi lemak. However its brought back to Europe with arancini, calamari and paprika & garlic pork ribs. Let’s face it, you are here for the whisky and the list is insane! Chose from Highland/Lowland, Island, Speyside and more with rotating specials. We particularly loved the Highland Park 18yo with soft tropical fruits. 
The Deal: Go on a Friday or Saturday night. The grand piano is taken over by Angie Dean (Fri) and Michael Hanna (Sat). There is something ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ about being serenaded, just add whisky and it warms the heart and soul .

BUNGALOW 8 & UNTIED 

Rooftop & Moet at Untied

Barangaroo’s hidden rooftop bar, Untied has gone into full ‘Apres Ski’ mode as penguins in their waiter suits showcase white goblets of Moet & Chandon. A white wall of puffa jackets, ski boots and goggles get you ready for a new menu of Moet based cocktails and a bowl of warming luxe chicken wings.

Winter Woodland at Bungalow 8

Meanwhile across the road part of Bungalow 8 has been transformed into a Winter Wonderland offering six individual ski chalets for hire, just perfect for sharing with a few friends. All are furnished individually so you can take your pick; decorations of deer, moose busts, antlers, warm throws, candles, cushions, faux fur, bench seating warm throws, and feature walls displaying old-school skiing photographs. A pop up Grey Goose Nitro Espresso Martini bar means you can pimp up your martini with toppings from marshmallow to candyfloss. 
The Deal: – Book for 4-8 people and indulge in the new Woodlands Cabin Menu, start with smoked hummus, wood fired pizza of your choosing, skillet smore’s $49-69

Winter Wonderland Skating at Saint Mary’s Cathedral Square
Skating At Ice Rinks in Sydney have launched their Ice Skating festival at Saint Mary’s Cathedral square, sponsored by Air Canada. With twinkling fairy lights overhead, the statuesque backdrop of the Cathedral and views of the iconic Hyde Park you will feel like you have stepped into a Christmas (in July) miracle. Love the Ice skating but prefer the Apres Ski life? Grab a drink at the Maple Leaf Bar and sit back and relax whilst watching the skaters glide elegantly around the rink. The Winter Festival also offers winter warmers when you work up an appetite twirling around the rink. Our pick was the piping hot gozleme – with lots of lemon! 
The Deal: Sessions are open Mon to Wed 10am-9pm, Thurs-Sun 10am-10pm from the 28th June-21st of July. Tickets are $28 for adults (14+ years), $21 for children (13 years and under), $10 for children (3-4 years) and $89 for a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children).

Long Chim Sydney – Maa Long Chim menu

When the nights are cold, what better than to turn up the heat? The Thai’s know how to do it best. Long Chim notches up more creative bite than the Spice girls. Start with Sriracha oysters, sounds crazy, the balance is genius. Why did we get stuck in a vinaigrette rut? Onto crunchy whitebait partnered with herbs and chili, then chive cakes. Mains include a sour ling curry and roast duck. We added a few favourites (cant go past the char cabbage and dried prawn) but finish up with black sticky rice and coconut slice. Singha beer flows freely but the cocktail list is worthy of a workout.
The Deal – The chefs will take you on a 9 dish journey $68pp or with paired beverages $98pp.

Hacienda new winter cocktail menu

Cocktails at Hacienda

Hacienda’s new winter cocktail menu is packed with high-end spirits and enticing international ingredients. Each cocktail has Hacienda’s cuban-esque edge yet the diverse and dynamic new beverage additions have an individuality. The ‘Jam Jar’ is quaint and creative – mimicking a country jam jar you would buy at the markets but with a mini strawberry tart as garnish. The ‘Ponte Las Pilas’ (meaning ‘get the batteries’) lives up to its name, with a rich dark burgundy colour with Beefeater gin, sweet blackberries and a vanilla finish. Our favorite was the ‘Lemon Cheesecake’. A beautifully light lemon cocktail with Kettle One vodka, limoncello, Frangelico, coconut flakes and foamed meringue peaks mimicking cheesecake in flavour and appearance. Bit peckish? The shared Chef’s platter is an absolute delight with oysters, meat skewers, pumpkin flowers, sliders and garlic buttery prawns.  
The Deal: Chefs sharing platter- $60 (vegetarian option $40)

Endeavour Tap Rooms Sunday Roast

Endeavour’s Tap rooms is the place to get a traditional Sunday Roast this Winter.  It’s the perfect afternoon spent in a cosy pub with good conversation while stuffing yourself silly and drinking a few pints.  Start with the beer paddle, where you can select signature home brewed and experimental Endeavour beers. Try the Summer Ale – a tropical, light bodied ale.  There are hints of grapefruit but go slow as at 8% alcohol, it packs a punch. If beer is not your thing, there are seasonal cocktails like an Australian Negroni mixed with local gin as well as wines from kegs supplied by their favourite local winemakers. The warming roast cooked by the head chef is everything you could hope for with a hearty helping of succulent beef and lashings of roast vegetables, gravy and yes, even Yorkshire pudding. This combination of locally brewed beer and a traditional roast set against mixed funk and soul beats playing makes for the perfect Sunday afternoon experience and is what’s helping The Rock’s experience a resurgence in popularity.

Dirty Greens at Alibi Bar, Ovolo Woolloomooloo

Tacos

Alibi has made its name as the go-to hipster restaurant for vegans. Now it launches a new bar menu which is about as finger lickin’ dude food as you can get. Kick off with Peking D**k Pancakes and the bao buns, both use pulled jackfruit which does a mean impersonation of pulled pork or duck when you add black garlic and hoisin sauce. Our favourite were the mac n cheese balls which oddly looked more like a fish finger! Add a zig zig mustard painted hot dog and ‘Beyond Meat’ burger and this joint is a whole lot of plant based fun. 

 

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).

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