Sydney draws its culinary influences from a variety of areas, as evidenced by the meat pie stands sandwiched between Turkish kebab joints and dumpling shacks. American fare, however, has largely been left off the table until recently. It’s actually the southern staples more than anything else anchoring the menus at these new establishments.
In the last 18 months, Sydney’s welcomed two new American-themed and -operated restaurants. Blue Plate Bar and Grill in Neutral Bay opened in early 2010 as the sister eatery of then nearby South, another American joint that closed late last year. Brooklyn-born owner Leo V Brereton borrows part of South’s Creole menu and serves it in Blue Plate’s fancier dining room. Digging into down-home favorites below a chandelier—why not? The buffalo wings are the real deal: spicy and slathered in sauce with a side of blue cheese. Other southern highlights include gumbo, crab cakes and jambalaya (corn bread on the side) and pecan pie for dessert.
Detroit transplant Dan McGuirt says his time at Vue de Monde in Melbourne inspired him to open his New Orleans–themed Jazz City Diner in Darlinghurst last December. Complete with servers in old-school waitress uniforms, black-tiled countertops and small TVs airing old jazz performances, this diner is exactly where you should eat southern classics like biscuits and gravy and poached eggs and grits while slurping up a milkshake. Lunch and dinner feature burgers, macaroni and cheese and chicken and waffles. Plus, there’s real drip coffee—a forgotten thing in a city of foamy flat whites and lattes. The humble McGuirt is always quick to say “hello” and make sure diners enjoy their meals.
Lauren Fritsky is an American living in Sydney. You can read her blog, The Life That Broke, here.