One owns a fried chicken, Champagne and sneaker bar; the other, a slow-living lifestyle store. Together, they're the perfect Sydney tour guides.
Julian Cincotta, the head chef and co-owner of Butter, and designer Tara Bennett of Provider Store, are tastemakers in their own right. Cincotta's Surry Hills venture has resonated with food and fashion fans alike, while Bennett's Scandi-style homemade wares continue to catch the eye thanks to clever collaborations and studio-led workshops.
As part of Gourmet Traveller's partnership with the New Mazda CX-5, the creative pair spent a weekend exploring Sydney's best haunts, documenting the city's restaurants and cultural offerings that make it truly a cut above.
Cincotta and Bennett chose the New Mazda CX-5 as their mode of transport, utilising the car's built-in satellite navigation system to help guide them to each spot and park with ease.
Here are the friends' top picks.
The Bridge Room, CBD
Everything about The Bridge Room is well considered and well executed. Set on the ground level of a light-filled 1930s building, its heritage façade plays off clean-lined interiors. Even though the fine-diner is a Sydney standout, you'd be forgiven for walking straight past its unassuming entrance, and it adds to an intimate, personal feeling. Owned by husband-and-wife team Ross and Sunny Lusted (chef and general manager, respectively), The Bridge Room showcases the versatility of Australian produce with contemporary flair.
Lusted's approach to his ingredients speaks to his eye for detail as much as the ceramics that the chef makes himself for the restaurant. The menu, which takes cues from Asia and focuses on vegetables and seafood, changes seasonally; summer sees a dish of pressed tomato with whipped olive oil, shiso and caper leaves, for example, or ash-grilled duck with Tasmanian cherries, burnt apple, blood plum and an allspice canelé.
Dessert holds its own rewards. Cincotta and Bennett's pick? A delicate dish of milk meringue with fresh blackberries, cherry sorbet, toasted milk skin and cultured cream. Save room. 44 Bridge St, Sydney, thebridgeroom.com.au
Jerico Contemporary, Woolloomooloo
Jerico Contemporary is the cool kid of the Sydney art scene. Slick, bright and unfussed, the Cathedral Street gallery space in Woolloomooloo opened its doors in early 2018. Curator and owner Jerico Tracy originally launched the initiative in 2016 as an itinerant gallery designed to champion young collectors and showcase the work of emerging artists.
The gallery has exhibited the works of fashion-set favourite Christiane Spansberg, whose Picasso-inspired paintings have now garnered the artist a cult social following, as well as Jamie Preisz and current headliner, Holly Ryan. Los Angeles-based Australian artist Luke Chiswell also recently presented his début exhibition, Wish It Would Last, in the space. The vivid collection featured paintings and sculptures with etched words that progressed from legible to abstract.
With international gallery experience and an insider understanding of the commercial art market, Tracy brings a modern beat to Sydney's established art game. Jerico Contemporary works to foster relationships between new artists and new collectors, represents clients in sales negotiations and provides tailored advice on collection building and management. It's this all-service take on contemporary art that gives Jerico Contemporary its edge. And it's Tracy's eye for the relevant and bold that has the art crowd coming back for more. 94 Cathedral St, Woolloomooloo, jericocontemporary.com
Dear Sainte Éloise, Potts Point
It's known for its vino, but Dear Sainte Éloise is more than just a wine bar. Owner Matthew Swieboda, who also brought us Darlinghurst's Love, Tilly Devine, brought his small-bar expertise to Potts Point's Llankelly Place in 2017, opening DSE with Tilly alumni Jasmin Natterer (manager) and Nathanial Hatwell (sommelier).
The charming 40-seater boasts a terrific wine list, knowledgeable staff, and smart, wine-friendly bar snacks. Chef Hugh Piper's menu is ever-changing, influenced by the seasons and the drinks it accompanies. Those seeking steak can enjoy Cowra rump (supplied by Whole Beast Butchery just around the corner) served with an oyster emulsion, burnt eggplant, cured egg yolk and chips, while those after something lighter will relish a dish of burrata with pickled nectarine and rocket oil. If you only have time to stop for one glass, pair it with a potato roe boat or house-marinated olives.
The wine list is expansive, with more than 400 bottles, but it's easy to navigate thanks to punchy menu notes and switched-on staff. There are Australian favourites, such as Cullen and Grosset, as well as more far-flung bottles from the likes of Georgia and the Jura. This is a wine bar that knows its stuff. Shop 5, 29 Orwell St, Potts Point, dearsainteeloise.com