Restaurant Reviews

Ursula’s in Sydney is the new girl in town

Everything old is new again at this historic Paddington terrace, writes Karlie Verkerk.
A sun-washed apricot-coloured dining room.

The dining room at Ursula's. Photo: Nikki To

Nikki To
92 Hargrave St, Paddington, NSW

Four small, perfectly uniform dumplings float on a dark viscous caramel. Chopped raisins and textbook quenelle of whipped malt cream, which begins to cascade from the residual heat, decorate the top. while the sweet scent of golden syrup and rum perfume the air. The dessert is a riff on a legendary CWA recipe, and if there is one dish that typifies Ursula’s, this is it: an old classic made new again.

The modern-classic theme is one that runs deep at Paddington’s new neighbourhood restaurant and the first independent venture from Phil Wood, former culinary director at Pt. Leo Estate in the Mornington Peninsula, and his wife, Lis Davies. It materialises in the dramatic transformation of the corner terrace – a historic building that has been home to a sprinkling of local businesses since the early ’30s, including a pub and grocer, plus a couple of well-loved restaurants: most recently, fine-diner Guillaume Brahini. And although the façade overlooking picturesque Hargrave Street may remain relatively unchanged, the restaurant’s core is entirely new.

(Photo: Nikki To)

Crisp white tablecloths and black Bentwood chairs are quiet bystanders in rooms awash with vivid ochre, azure and periwinkle tones – it’s visual umami, and the creative vision of Melbourne-based designer Brahman Perera. Sculptural wall sconces, colourful glassware and illustrated menus are icing on the eye candy.

(Photo: Nikki To)

Refreshed classics play out on the menu, too, which lists Wood-ified versions of time-honoured dishes, such as seafood crudo, roast chicken and peach Melba. When executed with care and precision, the classics are sure to draw diners in. But it’s the unexpected flourishes that will keep them coming back. take the carpaccio for example, which sees slivers of beef dressed in a roast tomato sauce that has been laced with lemongrass, galangal and makrut lime. Surprisingly, it’s a dusting of parmesan that ties everything together in a fragrant Italo-Thai alchemy.

The same can be said for a plump pork chop. Pan-fried until just-pink, the tender, meaty slices are doused in a sweet-spicy gochujang-based sauce then topped with a medley of greens, notably spring onion and diced nashi pear. Reminiscent of char siu, it feels playful yet familiar all at once.

(Photo: Nikki To)

An equally enticing wine list is an ode to revered Australian producers. Hatched by Master Sommelier Sebastian Crowther, it includes some pleasing drops by the glass, where a Clonakilla shiraz fluidly tails a Patrick Sullivan Baw Baw Shire chardonnay. Then again, there’s a juicy gamay that has been chilled to perfection.

Composed and efficient service only adds to the restaurant’s overall sense of confidence. It’s as though Ursula’s was always meant to be here.


92 Hargrave St, Paddington, NSW

Chefs Phil Wood, John Laureti, Luke Cawsey

Opening hours Tue–Sat 12pm-3pm; 6pm-10pm

Price Guide $$$

Bookings Recommended

Verdict Reimagined classics in a refreshed terrace.

Ursula’s in Sydney is the new girl in town
92 Hargrave St, Paddington, NSW
Phil Wood, John Laureti, Luke Cawsey
Price Guide
Opening Hours
Tue–Sat 12pm-3pm; 6pm-10pm

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