Exploring Quay Quarter & Quay Quarter Lanes
Quay Quarter and Quay Quarter Lanes offers Sydneysiders and visitors a new dining precinct that is home to some great food, from fine dining to quick budget eats served up in beautiful historic surrounds.
Hidden just behind Customs House, only minutes from the waterfront at Circular Quay, is a brand new development jam packed with delicious eats and some pretty cool art!
With over 100 apartments built above the restored historic shopfronts, the new neighbourhood has delivered several great dining options ranging from the very popular budget favourite Marrickville Pork Roll to fine dining options like Parisian Bistro Bouillon L’Entrecote and even a couple of fun new bars.
This art, food and history lover has very much fallen for the Quay Quarter lanes precinct and recommends you take a look when you are next in Circular Quay.
Where to eat at Quay Quarter Lanes
For your next lunch or dinner in Circular Quay, you have some really great options to choose from, so with no further ado, here are the ones we have tried so far and a few others still on our list!
This relaxed bistro is perfect for a business lunch or a catch up with friends with the menu offering almost a dozen dishes perfect for sharing.
On a recent lunchtime visit with my fellow Sydney based blogger Helen (@differentville) we may have over ordered just a little because everything on the menu looked good, so my first tip is to bring at least two more friends!
We started with a dozen escargot generously bathed in garlic sauce, our waiter suggested some sourdough which was a great idea – the sauce was too delicious to leave behind.
Next was the wild fresh and smoked salmon rillette, the salmon was creamy and delicate and served with three slices of warm brioche. We had not finished the rillette and more bread was offered, but we resisted, which was just as well because the mains were equally generous.
We went with two classics for main, confit duck l’orange and the signature dish, the Steak Frites, a 200gm Rangers Valley sirloin served with French fries and a walnut, green salad. The steak was cooked perfectly and came with a delicious “secret” sauce that our server would not share details of. The salad was slightly overdressed for my taste but otherwise the meal was close to perfect.
The staff, who all seemed to be French, were friendly, and the service was just right, not pushy, not rushed and overall welcoming.
We were so full we had to say no to dessert. When I next visit, I will probably invite a group to help me make the most of menu. That steak is screaming for a friend to share the joy with.
Just a couple of minutes’ walk away is Hinchcliff House with three venues, all offering delicious Italian flavours. So far we have experienced two of the three, Grana and Bar Mammoni, and highly recommend either, depending on what you are looking for.
Two important historic properties on the site have been retained, Hinchcliff House a former Woolstore on Young Street,
and on Loftus street the Gallipoli Memorial Club building.
With an onsite bakery and house made pasta, Grana, which is Italian for grain, is heaven for those with a passion for carbs.
Grana controls the quality of their offerings by milling locally sourced grains to produce their own flours in-house. Not just wheat either, spelt, and several grains I have never heard of before also feature.
The very first thing you need to order here is the focaccia, I am not usually a big fan of this type of bread, but this version is so well done. Crispy and thin outside, the bread is not a think white chunk like many you find in sandwich shops around the city.
Tip: show a little restraint with the bread so you have room for the delicious pasta.
Hinchcliff House (1860s) is one of the last remaining wool stores in Sydney and the space has been beautifully fitted out by the owners. Sandstone is the star of the show and they have retrained the wooden beams of the original building, giving a very rustic look. It is a beautiful setting for a meal and the service on our visit was attentive and friendly.
All images Credit: Steven Woodburn
Where: 5-7 Young St Ground Floor,
When: Currently open Tuesday to Saturday from 11am-11pm (or midnight on Thurs. to Sat.)
View the menu
For something a little more casual, Bar Mammoni is perfect. This small venue is busy from early morning providing local workers with a coffee hit and delicious pastry to lunch time serves of pizza by the slice, delicious salads or lobster rolls.
Our first visit was meant to be for a pre-dinner drink, but after chatting with the staff and looking at the menu, that changed pretty quickly.
After dark, Bar Mammoni takes on the ambience of an outdoor cocktail bar and if you do what we did and let the chef choose for you, you are guaranteed to be delighted with the result.
We started with a Rosemary Spritz and then warm pizza bread with lardo and honey, this was not something I would have ordered but it was sensational. It arrived at the table with some anchovies and marinated vegetables. Next up was some seafood, grilled scallops, garlic, green sauce and oysters, cucumber & tapioca, followed closely by meatball spiedini which has the most amazing sauce tomato sauce and took me right back to Italy.
Apologies for my photos, it was getting dark when we arrived and we had to resort to using a phone as a flash to capture these shots.
I really love this venue, I can see myself being a very regular customer. No matter what time of day you come by, there is always something delicious on offer and the space has a nice hidden feel, at least for now 😉
Where: Shop/3 Loftus Ln, Sydney
When: Mon-Wed 7am-3pm, Thurs-Sat 7am-11pm Closed Sundays
View the menu
Parla – Quay Quarters Tower
You will have to head just across the road from Quay Quarter Lanes to find our next top pick. Enter Quay Quarter Tower and make your way to the upper lobby to Parla. Parla is the latest offering by Zach Hiotis (Regiment at Wynyard and Yoho Loco at South Eveleigh), who has been doing wonderful things with native Australian ingredients since 2016.
Parla’s Warrane menu features an eclectic array of native ingredients spanning everything from wattle seed to finger lime. Dishes include:
- Sourdough with wattle seed & Roasted Macadamia Peanut Butter
- Chia Coconut Pudding with rainforest lychee compote
- Cold brew coffee with dehydrated orange and wattle seed
- Sourdough egg and bacon muffin with Salt bush tomato relish
- Pea berry goats’ cheese toastie with heirloom Tomato and coastal rosemary
- Sashimi tuna poke bowl with fresh karkalla, slaw, finger lime, avocado, and yuzu seeds
I tried this Sashimi tuna poke bowl with fresh karkalla (a native vegetable that looks a bit like a succulent), slaw, finger lime, avocado, and yuzu seeds last week and I am still thinking about it.
I also had a Chia Coconut Pudding with rainforest lychee compote and a cold brew coffee with dehydrated orange and wattle seed. If you want to get a taste of native ingredients used in a very thoughtful way, pop in for lunch when you are visiting the Quay or the Opera House.
The space is relaxed with a quality fit out and a variety of comfortable seating. There is also a pretty great view of the bridge.
If you are not up for a poke bowl, they do a number of salads and sandwich options and excellent cookies.
Where: Upper Foyer Level, Quay Quarter Towers
When: Monday to Friday 7am-3pm
Kobo is still on our list to visit. It has been created by the team behind Tokki in Surry Hills and Marble in Barangaroo and is Sydney’s first Korean chef table experience. This degustation is a mesh of Japanese-style omakase and the traditional Korean hanjeongsik, a style of cooking that involves lots of small dishes.
This experience is one for special occasions at $185 per head, but a perfect choice for adventurous food lovers looking for a unique dining experience.
Are these the Best Cheap Eats at Circular Quay?
It’s not all fine dining at Quay Quarter Lanes, the precinct also delivers some really delicious quick bites that certainly fit a budget friendly, quick lunch or snack.
Casual take away options include
- Side room for healthy salads and bowls
- Marrickville Pork Rolls for delicious Vietnamese rolls
- Humble Bakery offer pastries and ready to go rolls on their famous crusty bread
- Zini Contemporary Gelateria for coffee and ice-cream
- Adora Chocolates – great for a gift or treat yourself
Quay Quarter Lane Bars
There are two bars we have yet to venture into Apollonia, who describes itself as a “Sicilian bandits’ drinking den, and an homage to Apollonia Vitelli-Corleone of The Godfather” and Londres 126 “A high-energy cantina exploring the luxurious boundaries of Mexican cuisine and mezcal, in a surrealist, 1940s-salon-like setting, reminiscent of the fiestas thrown by Frida Kahlo.”
Once your belly is happy, see if you can find the laneways’ five artworks.
The Art of Quay Quarter Lanes
There are five artworks in the laneways by Wiradjuri-Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones. He created the works to honor Aboriginal man Arabanoo, one of the first men that the First Fleet engaged with who was famous for his courage and generosity.
- Bengadee, – a concrete wall featuring a shackle with a feather imprinted. Bangadee means ‘ornament’ in the Eora language at the top of the laneway.
- Betunigo (Oysters) – These brass oysters mark the high tide line on the rear wall of the Gallipoli Club
- 1000 onyx fish scales in the pavers
Find out more in this article by Joanne Kracz.