Sydney's Walk, Shop & Eat Gems

8 hours flight from Kuala Lumpur (which I pretty much slept through it) and I am arrive at at Sydney Kingsford airport. A half hour ride (approximately AUD55) by a taxi and I arrive at Hilton Sydney. Its in the middle of the business district at George Street so its all nice and lively all around. It was drizzling a little when I checked in so I lazed quite a bit before venturing out to discover the city's hidden gems.
Truth to be said...I dozed off and strangely switched off the alarm (my handphone) that I placed 6 8 feet away from me. Hmmm blame the comfy bed? Hehehe.

A good shower sorts me out again. And I head down to the Marble Bar at the basement of Hilton Sydney. This is a very popular bar so make your way early if you want to have a nice seat to chill with your drinks! Marble Bar is also a must visit because a walk in this bar bring you back in time. Built in 1893, the original Victorian-style décor and artwork made Marble Bar a must-see venue at the former Adams Hotel on Pitt Street. Now the whole bar sits in Hilton Sydney after it was painstakingly dismantled and transported, piece by precious piece, to its current home at Hilton Sydney. In fact during my visit, the last piece of the Marble Bar which are a few doors just made its way from Melbourne. Yes...Marble Bar is complete! 

The rainy evening has left the stomach hungry even though I nibbled on quite a bit of fruits and nuts from the welcome basket in my room. Am glad that dinner was within Hilton Sydney itself. The interior of the Glass Brasserie is quite a sight to breathe in thanx to internationally acclaimed interior design of New York designer Tony Chi. At 630pm its a mesmerizing experience as I watch the skies turn dark. Lots of natural light from glass windows feature that measure 13 metres from floor to ceiling. Coupled with a majestic view of Queen Victoria Building (QVB as its fondly known - a must visit for shoppers!), a table by the window is highly recommended. Dining experience in the Glass Brasserie deserves a special post on its own which I will be penning soon. But here's a peek at some of my fave moments:
Across the street from Glass Brasserie is one of Sydney's famed landmark QVB.
With over 1,000 wine selections and over 5,000 bottles, this is a lovely playground for wine lovers.
A champagne to kick off the evening while the skies turn orange and then dark against QVB.
The kitchen is all busy churning out exceptional culinary delights under the expertise of Luke Mangan.  During breakfast, this kitchen whips out breakfast and serves as a buffet line.
Melt in your mouth tuna sashimi with ginger, eschallot and Persian feta AUD30.
Australia is famed for its good meats. My choice for mains is the wagyu of the day - Rangers Valley Sirloin 7+. 250g of juicy meat served with mushroom puree, golden beets, zucchini and blackberry juice. 
Brekkies are my fave meals. The stay at Hilton Sydney has been a good one as there was no compromise on my clean eats brekkies. A good selection of gluten free options are available too. This lemon myrtle yogurt is definitely my fave during my brekkie at Hilton Sydney. Ate at least 2 each day:P

The short 4 days in Sydney, its been a fun time exploring Sydney. Choose your choice of of walking, the bus, train, taxi or even ferry. One thing for sure, if you take the time and walk around, you will see, smell and feel a lot more. So if you have eaten a wee too much, go ahead and explore the streets around Hilton Sydney. Its all nice and safe even at night!

Typically me, I would always pack my trainers everywhere I go. Its the same for the Sydney trip and I had quite a good run in the mornings. Its totally safe even at 630am as you will be meeting many of the like minded ones armed with a map in their hand and running. And if you cycle, its just as fun with many paths designed for both pedestrians and cyclist. And if you are a photobug then you will appreciate the fun of capturing the same location in the day and also night. I ran rather light with just AUD10 (for my coffee breaks), a water bottle, a map and my handphone. 
No fear of getting lost as one only needs to be on the lookout for the Westfield tower which is a road away from Hilton Sydney.
10km/h is a nice walking speed:D
No one goes hungry walking around Sydney. Lots of quaint cafes offering lovely pastries and coffee. Love these delightful stalls selling fruits. I stopped for an apple during my late run.
I gave up on taking selfies on my own. A fellow runner stopped and helped me with a pic:D This is taken at 7am! Bright and sunny!!!
Harbour Bridge at night.
Plain old Town Hall is lighted up for Christmas. The designs changes every minute or so. Yours truly camped in from of the building for at least 15 minutes.
St Anne's Cathedral at 8am

Australia is famous for its fresh produces and weekend markets. The trip to Sydney was over the weekend so a visit to the markets was a a must on the itinerary. Its not just a visit to look see but a gastronomic one. Check out the local fresh produces including organic ones that are so gorgeously fresh and affordable. Most markets have lots of stuff for you to try before buying so go ahead and taste them all! And buy some home too like I did! I came home with quite a bit of groceries from the markets and also did my shopping at the local supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths. 
Eveleigh Market takes place every Saturday with  over 70 local farmers and artisan food producers offering their best fresh, seasonal and homemade produce they grow, rear or make. Some even drive 5 hours to make it to this market. 
Gorgeous fresh meats that I would have happily bought if not for my 8 hours flight and luggage full of groceries:(
Gorgeous beetroots! A bundle of 3 organic ones are merely AUD4.
Does she look familiar? That's celebrity chef Kylie Kwong busy manning their stall at Eveleigh Market.
Fresh fruits galore at the Sydney Fish Market.
Grocery shopping and I just had to buy a few packs of these Almond Milk that I love so much. It also saves me the 'hassle' of making my own in view that I would probably be running post holiday blues
after a month of going around.

Of course if you fancy fashion and arty stuff then a trip to Paddington Market is a must. This small quaint market has approximately 150 unique stalls filled with creative fashion and accessories, beautiful smelling soaps and candles and pictures. There are some rather yummy eats such as fish and chips and chocolates if your tummy needs food. 
handcrafted and pretty!
chocolate galore.
Can't go wrong with fish and chips in Sydney.

Actually one can't go wrong with seafood in Sydney. Choose your options of dining in restaurants or even get hands on with cooking your own seafood whatever your fancy maybe.  I did it all...ate at Nick's at Darling Harbour (which I ran pass at 645am and returned a few hours later for lunch) and visited the Sydney Fish Market (cooked my own lunch and ate more when someone else cooked it for me).
Nick's Seafood Restaurant at Darling Harbour is one of the best spots for lunch. Came highly recommended and it was certainly a lovely lunch with a good view. My choice of Moreton Bay Bug grilled totally memorable and good enough on its own without the need for the garlic butter served on the side. Its one meal that I would have loved to not drink any water or eat anything thereafter so I could retain the taste in my mouth:D BTW, the Concierge at Hilton Sydney gave us a Special Nick's card that entitled us to one FREE dessert worth at least AUD14 for every main that we ordered. Yippee!
A view from where we sat at Nick's.
The highlight of my walking distance eating gem during my stay at Hilton Sydney would have been a visit to the Sydney Fish Market. A short stroll of 15 minutes with a lovely view, this is not the usual fish market. No stinky smell! The fun part for me was the hands on cooking session at the Sydney Seafood School. The class of AUD50 included the cooking lesson, hands on session, ingredients and a bottle of wine.
We are divided into groups of 4 to 5 persons per work station. Cooked 5 dishes and I am mighty proud of these BBQ mussels that I whipped out with a very tasty butter sauce that was wiped clean with a loaf of good bread. Recipe? Soon!!!
I will happily stay the whole day at the Sydney Fish Market. After classes and a good self cooked meal, trust me, the stomach will make room for more fresh seafood. Pop into any of the restaurants and let someone else prepare your food for you. Some seafood are best taken raw like these big juicy oysters. Priced at AUD9 for half a dozen. 

There are many food gems around Hilton Sydney. If 30 minutes stroll is too much....well grab a taxi! Otherwise sticking to the idea of 15 minutes stroll, there are plenty of yummy food that one can't easily cover in 3 days.
Some may say that Harry's Cafe de Wheels is over rated or too touristy. But seriously this place is worth the visit for some good old fashion pies and hot dogs. After all 70 years of history surely speaks a great deal! Choose from a few outlets but we opted for the one at Wiilloomooloo Bay.
They call this the Original Tiger. Very mashy in a way but its way too comforting to be ignored or missed. Mine's a cheese and bacon Tiger AUD6.50 topped with a rich mashed potatoes and peas topped with lots of gravy. Even if you hate peas, you will end up eating every bit of this!
Walking distance and highly recommended was Pancakes on the Rocks at The Rocks. Lots to choose from and the flavoured ones didn't quite rock my boat except for the Macadamia Madness AUD13.95. Pancakes topped with vanilla ice cream, roasted macadamias and maple syrup. Macadamia lovers like me will totally love that even the pancake is infused with more macadamia goodness! Good plain old fashion pancakes are equally awesome and if you love them, then you can purchase the pancake mix to replicate at home, Though beware, make sure you use good milk!
Not too far from Pancakes on the Rocks will be a highly recommended German pub Lowenbrau Keller at The Rocks. The pork knuckle is good but honestly, I preferred my choice of the Gerosteter Schweinebauch AUD32 which is a cracking roast pork belly served with roasted potatoes, braised red cabbage and Octoberfestbier Jus. All this goodness must of course go with some Lowenbrau draught.
I mentioned that its nice and safe to walk around at night. So I did my necessary night walkies and headed on to Opera Bar which has a gorgeous view of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. A lovely ambience and drinks are simple no frills. Grab a your drinks from the bar and grab a seat! You can also opt for food but I stuck to the drinks and a good view.
A glass of Clairault Sauvignon Blanc Semillon AUD12 to chill with on a Saturday night:D

Slightly further but a must visit when in Sydney is Bondi Beach. Yeah the beach bum in me must have her beach, sea and sun! A 20 minutes bus ride away for AUD4. So yes...its Bondi beach for me to be a beach bum and also to have my mandatory beach run that I absolutely missed after the recent AirAsia Bali Beach Run that I ran in (click to read post).
Beach bum busy at work:D
There's lots of food and drink options at Bondi Beach. But an ice cream AUD4 is the bets after a good sun and run!
Check out the many murals along Bondi beach. Each has its own story to tell and its amazing work but the artists.

I totally love the parks around Hilton Sydney. A visit to this part of Sydney is not complete unless you head in to the Royal Botanic Gardens behind Sydney Opera House and also Hyde Park. One can easily just spend a day in these 2 parks just walking around or lazing on the grass. Pack yourself a picnic from the many supermarkets and cafe or just camp at the cafes at the park itself.
A game of chess at Nagoya Garden at Hyde Park. Stand and watch or grab a seat and coffee at the lil cafe behind St James Metro which will offer you a good view of the game.
Walk through Circular Quay to reach The Opera House. Its a good view so get your cameras ready!
Coffee break at the cafe in the middle of Royal Botanic Gardens.
The Royal Botanic Gardens spans over 30 hectares and is filled with many lil gardens. So take your time and savour the pretty place.

And that pretty much concludes my very short 4 days in Sydney. Most times were spent exploring many of the #Hiltonhiddenfoodgems that were pretty much walking distance if one stays at the Hilton Sydney. For more updates on the hotel deals head on over to Much more to be done and Sydney....I shall see you soon!

Hilton Sydney
488 George Street, Sydney, Australia NSW 2000
T: +61-2-9266-2000

Full set of pics:
Sydney: Eat, Walk & Run: Book 1
Sydney: Eat, Walk & Run: Book 2
Sydney: Eat, Walk & Run: Book 3
Sydney: Eat, Walk & Run: Book 4
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