Best things to do in Sydney for September 2018

Be gone winter. Spring is here, which means some of Sydney’s best events and openings are coming up throughout the month of September. There’s a whole heap of one-off events, openings, festivals and exhibitions to get out and see so we’ve listed some of our top picks, including two very worthwhile road trip ideas that aren’t too far out of the city. From an exclusive one-night-only event with Mike McEnearney, to the sprawling art and culture institution that is Sydney Contemporary, to one of Canberra’s best festivals of the year, make sure you’re across these as you get those last minute plans locked in.

Mike McEnearney’s Coffee Inspired Menu

The old Silvereye space above the Old Clare in Chippendale, which still looks exactly the same as it did when the restaurant closed a few years ago, will be given some temporary life from a special collaboration between Nespresso and beloved chef Mike McEnearney of No. 1 Bent Street and Kitchen by Mike. The chef will be helping Nespresso celebrate and showcase their new Master Origin coffee range with a one-off event and an inventive set menu translating notes of these various single origin coffees into dishes.

Taking place on Friday 7th September, the space will nod to the six countries of origin of the new range, those being Indonesia, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, India and Ethiopia. Stylish Lisa Tilse of We Are Scout will help build the atmosphere while Nespresso Coffee Ambassador Mitch Monaghan hosts a specialised tasting before guests sit down to the seven-course menu which features dishes like Seared John Dory in mead wine and butter sauce, Mock Glazed “Ham” made from celeriac with cloves and whiskey, and Grilled Beef with anise and coffee rub.

When: Friday 7th September; 6:30pm-8:30pm
Where: Silvereye, Level 2, The Old Clare Hotel, 1 Kensington Street, Chippendale
Tickets: $60pp from Eventbrite.

Sydney Contemporary Art Fair

It’s here! Once again Sydney Contemporary Fair will blanket parts of the city with Australasia’s largest international art fair. Over 70 galleries, both local and international, will be displaying cutting-edge and classic art across various mediums including video-installations, performance art and more. It’s always one of the largest scale art events on the cities calendar, transforming Carriageworks into an incubator of new ideas, inspiration, and innovation. Plus, you’re guaranteed some sort of food and drink pop-up from big-name locals. The opening night will feature a blinding diversity of art and entertainment, including Emily Parsons-Lord’s new pyrotechnic performance, a rhythmic duet drum performance by Lauren Brincat, and live music from the likes of Jaala and Mazy.

Sydney Contemporary will also make the first time Patricia Piccinini’s multisensory installation The Field (pictured above) has travelled outside of Brisbane’s GOMA. It will be located in The Elston Room at Carriageworks throughout the fair, giving viewers the chance to immerse themselves in the famed artist’s challenging survey which merges the artificial and the natural.

Make sure you head down to Barangaroo as well, where Sydney Contemporary will return for the third consecutive year with three artists creating site-specific works through the area’s commercial, retail and dining precinct. You might have already seen some of it popping up on Instagram, but if you haven’t you can get some info here.

When: 13th-16th September
Where: Carriageworks; 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh NSW 2015
Website: sydneycontemporary.com.au

The Rocks’ Native Feast

Photo by Anna Kucera

Across the month of September, the various institutions and new businesses that make up the rich artisan scene of Sydney’s historic The Rocks will be coming together to showcase a variety of unique and native food experiences. Aimed at highlighting native food and traditional dishes with ingredients sourced from across the country, many of the area’s finest will be serving bespoke creations and twists on their classic dishes, cocktails and products. There’ll even be a series of cooking demonstrations from Indigenous-owned Indigiearth and health and sustainability focused Edible Bug Shop.

The festival will mean some special additions to restaurants in The Rocks, whether it be Pony Dining adding Seared Kangaroo with Australian berry and muntries to their menu for the month, The Endeavour Tap Rooms serving up Pepperberry Kangaroo Tail croquettes alongside their core range of craft beers, or The Doss House exploring the unique flavours of smoked wallaby, wild boar salami, and Australia buffalo milk blue cheese on their limited edition Aussie Platter. These will no doubt be hits across the month, alongside specials like The Mercantile Hotel doing $1 oysters every Friday, ASLAN Coffee Roasters serving a Coconut and Lemon Chiffon Sandwich with finger lime cream and macadamia nuts, and the highly regarded La Renaissance Patisserie & Café adding a Lemon Myrtyle and White Chocolate Macaron to their usual selection.

Those looking for a tipple won’t be disappointed, nor will gin lovers with places like The Cut throwing a Pink Peppercorn and Finger Lime infused gin with house tonic onto their menu, or Mode Kitchen & Bar at the Four Seasons introducing a Lemon Myrtle Gin Sour with Archie Rose, egg white and hibiscus tea syrup topped with a hibiscus tea leaf garnish, and also a Wild Spritz with wild rosella or muntries playing alongside finger lime, vermouth blanco, passionfruit and local sparkling wine with dehydrated citrus and fresh berries. Even the newest bar in The Rocks, Mrs Jones is getting on board with their reinvention of the classic martini, translated into two limited edition cocktails: the Dirty Hemp Martini with hand-crafted HG Hemp gin, and the Native Espresso Martini made from 100% Aussie ingredients like Mr Black coffee liqueur and Archie Rose vodka, finished with a fried eucalyptus leaf.

When: 1st-30th September
Where: The Rocks
Website:
therocks.com

Huxtaburger’s Sydney Debut

We’ve already got 8Bit and Betty’s Burgers, now it’s time for another non-Sydney-born burger chain to make it’s Sydney debut, and it’s a big one. As part of an ambitious national expansion, with around 50 new stores planned across the country, Huxtaburger will finally be making it’s way to Sydney. Planted firmly in the ripe dining scene of Redfern, the Collingwood-born business that has been around since 2011 will recreate it’s award-winning menu to add some serious competition to a scene that’s already overflowing with quality. Now we just need Royal Stacks and Sydney will truly be mecca for burger lovers.

When: Opens September 15th
Where: 66 Regent Street, Redfern, NSW 2016
Website: huxtaburger.com.au

Manly Greenhouse Opens

Photo by Yasmin Mund.

One of the biggest openings on Sydney’s 2018 calendar is coming up quick. Manly Greenhouse, an ambitious light and bright three-story beachfront bar and restaurant, will be unveiled in two different stages. First, the street level Greenhouse and Rooftop will both open on Friday 7th September, while The Grill restaurant, on the middle floor, will follow in October.

What used to be the Shore Club will now be a modern social hub welcoming locals and visitors with casual dining from contemporary Italian dishes and pizzas to bar snacks on the rooftop. The first level Greenhouse will be the go-to for all that European fare, from snacks of Crab Bruschetta and small plates like Ortiz Sardines served with Spanish onion, parsley and grilled local Berkelo bakery bread, to plates of Pappardelle with slow-cooked brisket and Seafood Squid Ink Spaghetti. Bespoke cocktails will be served both downstairs and on the rooftop, where bar snacks might include Salt & Pepper school prawns and garlic aioli, as well as a variety of Toasted Sandwiches.

More details on the middle level will be revealed closer to opening, but so far we know that the restaurant promises “casual elegance” with higher-end produce like Cape Grim sirloin and wood-fired Skill Island prawns, served alongside a natural-focused wine list by Lo-Fi Wines co-founder James Audas.

When: Opens Friday 7th September
Where: Manly Greenhouse, 36/38 South Steyne, Manly NSW
Website: manlygreenhouse.com.au.

Burgapalooza

No self-respecting burger friend in Sydney will be missing the return of Burgapalooza, the epic and ambitious burger festival that will returning in 2018 thanks to a partnership with Menulog. Taking over Church Street in Parramatta, across two days, will be the who’s who of Sydney’s burger royalty offering event-only creations exclusively for the festival. That means all the favourites: BL Burgers, Down N’ Out, Mister Gee, Burger Head, Superior Burger, Ume Burger, Chef’s Kitchen, and Hardstyle Kitchen, all cooking up carnivorous burgers as well as some vegetarian options too.

Upping the value will be a $15 Menulog voucher given to everyone who attends the festival, with pre-sale tickets going for $9.99 and on-the-door tickets going for $15. Plus, in addition to all those burgs, there will be a chilli eating competition, live art, burger eating comps (of course), stand-up comedy and t-shirt cannons. They ain’t messing around this year.

When: Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd September 2018
Where: 353D Church Street, Parramatta NSW 2150
Tickets: $9.99 online ($15 on door) from Burgapalooza.com.au.

Spacemakers & Roomshakers

The Art Gallery of New South Wales are dipping into the archives and have pulled out some of their favourite large-scale works over the past decade, spanning installations created from sound, spices, light, air and fabric – a true multisensory exhibition. It kicked off last month and has since drawn in both art lovers and Instagrammers, thanks to the incredibly sightly and interesting works like Ernesto Neto’s “Just like drops in time, nothing (2002)” and the wondrous “Atomic: full of love, full of wonder (2005)” by Aussie Nike Savvas – a shimmering and colourful work built from vibrating coloured balls to highlight the role of atoms as building blocks. The exhibition wraps up towards the end of October, so be sure to head along this month to catch the middle of it’s run, lest you want to be rushing next month.

When: Until 21st October 2018
Where: Art Gallery of NSW; Art Gallery Rd, Sydney NSW 2000
Website: artgallery.nsw.gov.au

Shangri-La’s Phillippines Food Festival

Shangri-La Sydney will be hosting their sixth annual Philippine Food Festival at their Cafe Mix from 20th to 30th September. Across all ten days, the vibrant flavours of Filipino cuisine will be played with as guest chefs from Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Manila take over the kitchen to took up favourites like Sisig, Lechon, Chicken Inasal, Abobong, and more. There will also be a dessert station with traditional Filipino treats, as well a as a live Halo-Halo station and a colouful display of Anna Polyviou’s acclaimed desserts.

It isn’t every day some of the Philippine’s most beloved dishes are served in the CBD, so for those who adore the food (every meat-eater who has been to Manila leaves with a newfound love of Sisig – a hearty dish made from pig head and liver) this is an essential event.

When: Thursday 20th September to Sunday 30th September
Where: Cafe Mix, Shangri-La Sydney; 176 Cumberland St, Sydney NSW 2000
Website: www.shangri-la.com/sydney

Kensington Street’s The Last Supper

Kensington Street will be a major focal point for the Sydney Fringe Festival this month, and the most essential thing happening down at that hub will be the huge Last Supper going down on Sunday 30th September. It’s being described as a celebration of the wild, the decadent and the peculiar, featuring Fringe Headlining performances throughout the evening and a curated dinner from Kensington Street residents like Olio, Eastside, Mekong, and Bistrot Gavroche.

The themed dining experience should blend in nicely with the inventive Fringe performers, with two sittings through the night with two pop up bars alongside the precinct’s regular drinking holes like Gin Lane and Handpicked Wines’ Urban Cellar Door.

For something a bit closer, there’s also a free block party on Saturday 8th September, showcasing emerging local artists with live street art, buskers, boutique markets, pop-up bars, acoustic sessions, and beats by Soul of Sydney. The precinct’s restaurants will also be serving up sample sized portions from their menus at the Rum Store, including neighbours like Clayton Wells’ popular A1 Canteen. The official kick-on will bring the party over to The Lord Gladstone Hotel after it’s all wrapped up.

When: Saturday 8th September | Sunday 30th September
Where: Kensington Street, Chippendale
Website: sydneyfringe.com

Pyrmont Festival

Here’s one for the wine lovers! Returning for it’s eighth year will be Pyrmont Festival, which has officially partnered with the Orange Wine Region to fill the festival with delicious drops from one of the state’s most visited wine regions. A whole host of food and wine will be spread through Pirrama Park, bringing two days of nothing but the best in produce with live music from local and Orange region artists, art classes, rides, and 100 different stalls showcasing winemakers, providores, artisans and more.

Following the two-day weekend launch, the festival will then kick on with 10-day culinary journey throughout the many restaurants, bars and eateries that call Pyrmont home. That means a whole heap of exclusive events, dedicated tastings and special menus will be found at places like Mister Percy, Cafe Morso, Whirly Bird, Bar Zini and Pyrmont Hotel. Our top pick is Porters Liquor Pyrmont, where you’ll find tastings throughout the festival from a range of Orange wines including Philip Shaw, Angullong, Printhie and Ross Hill.

When: Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th September
Where: Pirrama Park, Pyrmont
Website: pyrmontfestival.com.au

Hunter Valley’s End 2 End Festival

Here’s a nice road trip opp that should easily tempt Sydneysiders up the Hunter Valley this month. The famed wine region is hosting the inaugural End 2 End festival on Saturday 15th September, transforming the picturesque McLeish Estate hub into an immersive “Semillon to Seafood” experience that’ll have guests lounging among the vineyards alongside 20 of the Hunter’s leading vineyards including Brokenwood, Elbourne Wines, Ernest Hill, Mount Pleasant Wines and, of course, McLeish Estate. All will be offering tastings on the day alongside other key features including four free masterclasses hosted by celebrity chef Ed Halmagyi, based on pairings like Semillon & seafood, Chardonnay & cheese, and chocolate & wine.

It’ll be one big showcase for the very best of Pokolbin’s food, wine and produce, celebrating the area’s unique character and standing alongside helicopter flights, hop-on & hop-off buses to ferry guests between vineyards, aqua golf, a petting farm, and live music. If you’re there, make sure you don’t miss the gourmet lunch by chef Matt Dillow who has put a what’s what of fresh dishes on the menu including Wood Smoked Trout Salad of roasted pumpkin, goat’s cheese, baby English spinach, currants and beetroot relish, as well as Lemon Curd Tart with Italian meringue and raspberry coulis, and Chocolate Muscat and Almond Cake with raspberry coulis and vanilla mascarpone.

The End 2 End Festival begins at 10am and finishes at 5pm. Tickets are $53.95 for adults and $33.95 for teens aged 13-17) Shuttle bus tickets are $11. Pre-booking is advised for masterclasses.
Visit https://www.end2endfestival.com.au/

When: Saturday 15th September; 10am-5pm
Where: Pokolbin, NSW
Website: end2endfestival.com.au

NightFest in Canberra

Here’s another worthy road trip idea for you. Across five nights, Floriade’s NightFest will transform Canberra with live entertainment amongst illuminated flowerbeds from the likes of Kate Miller-Heidke, Arj Barker, and more. Plus, there will be a fascinating array of light installations threaded through the festive atmosphere, hosting roving performers, show rides, jostling night markets, and of course, some of Canberra’s best food set in the bespoke precinct dubbed Nautilus Forest.

The fantastical festival, with its spiraling trees that ripple and pulse with colour, and otherworldly vibe will also be home to a pop up bar from Underground Gin and an open-air cinema, which on the first night (Wed 26th) will be screening Back to the Future and Ghostbusters (the good one).

Each night will be bringing a different form of entertainment. the Thursday will have the soulful sounds of Lucy Sugerman as well as Mojo Juju and Thelma Plum; the Friday will be a huge culmination of music, food and wine scores by Caiti Baker, Bowie Unzipped and Miller-Heidke; the Saturday switches the full party mode with Juzzie Smith and others; and the Sunday will cap it all off with an enormous line-up of comedians like Barker, Akmal Saleh, Matt Okine, and Nikki Britton.

When: Wed 26th to Sun 30th September; From 6:30pm-10:30pm
Where: Commonwealth Park, Canberra
Tickets: From $31.70 at floriadeaustralia.com

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy Editor of the AU review, an obsessive hip hop nerd, a whisky drinker, and a lover of all things travel. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter with @chrisdsingh.