Where To Eat In Sydney CBD: A Healthy Guide

Having spent the past two weeks living in central Sydney and eating out three times a day, you could say I know the food scene quite well. I didn’t want to waste a single meal, so I made sure that I knew the best places to go like the back of my hand. I even had locals saying to me that they hadn’t heard of the spots I was recommending to them! I am an avid researcher and I did an awful lot of scouring the web, blogs and even instagram to find the best healthy cafes and restaurants in the city. At times it was a struggle, as most websites focus on eateries in areas like Bondi or Paddington. As a result, I am going to go where no blogger has gone before and I have created a healthy food guide specifically for central Sydney. Enjoy!

Breakfast & Brunch

Let’s just say that Australians know how to do breakfast. They take avocado on toast to a whole new level! My favourite spot right in the heart of the CBD was Bowery Lane which has a bustling atmosphere and cosy wooden decor. I personally loved their poached eggs, ricotta and mushrooms on sourdough. About 10 minutes walk from Bowery Lane, over near the Harbour Bridge is The Fine Food Company. This spot is hidden down a back alley yet manages to be absolutely packed. They are known for their toast toppings but I loved their shakshuka with kale.

Surry Hills is an area about 10 minutes walk from the CBD which is brimming with healthy food spots. I found Le Monde Cafe on instagram and just knew I had to visit. Be sure to try their “signature dishes” which include the matcha hotcakes with marscapone and the potato rosti with smoked salmon and poached eggs – both of which are delicious. Just around the corner is Venus Wholefoods, a small cafe which is known for their luminous purple bircher muesli and their green and nutrition “venus bowls”. I enjoyed everything I tried there. Finally, a very popular breakfast spot on the street next-door is Reuben hills.This place is packed on weekends, so book if you can. They are known for their high quality coffee, instagram-famous french toast and unique urban decor. I loved their banana peanut and expresso bread with salted caramel butter (!!!!!) and their baked eggs with chorizo.

On The Go

Since I was working during my time in Sydney, I had to grab food on the go on an almost daily basis. My staple spot was Thrive in the MLC Centre. They offer a range of breakfast and lunch bowls which are balanced and nutritious – with all the macronutrient information available on their website. I must have gone there for breakfast 4 or 5 times and my favourite meal was their Zeus Bowl which features sweet potato and bacon mash… need I say more?! Also in the MLC Centre I loved Pressed Juices. Although their food is expensive, it is incredibly nutrient dense and justifiable as an occasional treat. I loved their banana salted caramel smoothie and their raw courgette salad.

Just outside the MLC I found Sanduba and Nutrition Station. Sanduba is a little shop crammed with healthy snacks, salads and smoothies; and I throughly enjoyed their acai bowl. Nutrition Station is a little more hardcore. They create custom lunches featuring lean meats, veggies, fat sources and greens; each served up in a little tupperware box. They may not be aesthetically pleasing but they are nutritionally balanced, full of flavour and perfect if you’re in a pinch. Their breakfast menu is a bit more varied and includes a delicious green smoothie bowl which you can add protein powder to and comes with a whole host of yummy toppings.

Just outside the CBD is Cali Press, Surry Hills. This cafe is a haven for any healthy foodie.They offer fresh juices, Allpress coffee and an epic selection of smoothies. Their most famous is the Godfather – a blend of coffee, dates, banana and almond butter. Delish! The best part is that every smoothie can be made into a smoothie bowl and packaged to be taken on the go. Plus they also sell salads, light breakfasts and a selection of healthy treats – a highlight being the rich gooey sweet potato brownies!

Finally, for coffee in the CBD I recommend Bonds cafe just opposite Deutche Bank. I sampled an awful lot of different coffees on this trip and theirs was by far the best. My favourite was the almond milk flat white which was ridiculously creamy.

Indulgences

You guys know I am all about balance and I am certainly not afraid to indulge every once in a while. A personal highlight was the Lindt Cafe which serves a Lindt Mocha. It was literally the most delicious coffee I have ever tasted, and I went back for more on multiple occasions. The cafes also offer insanely tasty waffles, cakes and treats; and have a selection of unique Lindt items to purchase such as Lindt Nutella; which tastes as amazing as it sounds. A similar concept is the Guerlain cafe which is located out towards the Harbour Bridge. This also serves up a wide variety of chocolate treats including a divine rich chocolate machiatto.

If you’re fancying something seriously sweet, then head to Doughnut Time. This is a chain of shops which are all over Australia. They serve the most insanely indulgent doughnuts I have ever seen. I mean, they recovered in chocolate bars, jelly sweets and nut butter… it doesn’t get much better than that! My final recommendation is to pop your head into the small convenience stores located all over the CBD and check out the snacks on offer. Australia have all sorts of chocolate bars and treats which we don’t have in the UK; from salted caramel Kitkats through to toasted coconut Milky bars. My boyfriend and I loved taste tasting them all!

Dinner

I tell you what, I had some damn delicious dinners in Sydney. The quality of the food is absolutely incredible! Our first port of call was No 1 Bent Street, an open plan restaurant with super friendly staff. We were blown away by their roasted pumpkin which literally melted in your mouth, and I personally loved the grilled squid, white bean and chorizo bake which was packed full of flavour. If you want bit of a a different dinner and a unique Nordic experience then head to Norsk Dor. To get there you head through a dark underground alleyway surrounded by the sounds of howling wolves! Then once you enter you’re in a cosy restaurant with furs on every seat and traditional wooden decor. Beyond appearances, the food itself is amazing with the Venison being particularly delicious.

For hearty flavoursome food in an amazing atmosphere I recommend Nomad or Mercado. Nomad is just below the CBD in Surry Hills and has a real buzz about it. It was here that we had best starter of our whole trip, their curried cauliflower. Holy. Shit. I was obsessed and vowed to attempt recreate it when I got home. Mercado was my boyfriends favourite restaurant in Sydney. He loved that you can see right into the kitchen from your seat and he was a huge fan of pretty much every dish we ordered. A personal highlight was the truffle mash, which quite frankly was the badgers nadgers of side dishes.

If you’re fancying Japanese, I have two recommendations. The first is Chochosan, a small restaurant with a diverse and delicious menu. We loved the unique cocktails, the juicy waggu beef and the spicy calamari. If you’re heading towards the Harbour Bridge then check out Sake. This busy spot requires booking in advance and has an expansive menu. Our highlights were the jalepeno kingfish and the wasabi lamb cutlets; and we loved the authentic Japanese decor too.

Finally, you guys know I love Mexican food so I just had to try out Mejico. It is located right on Pitt Street, so super central. As a result it is a busy spot and requires booking, especially on weekends. The meals are different to your typical Mexican with less of a greasy burrito vibe and more of a light, healthy and flavoursome feel. Their guacamole with crumbled pistachios and plantain chips is to die for!

Whole Foods Shops

Sydney have some epic healthy shops you can browse which are stocked with all the wholesome ingredients, products and treats you could ever imagine. They are like treasure troves and I literally spent hours browsing them. My ultimate favourite one was About Life in Surry Hills, about 10 minutes walk from the CBD. It is absolutely humongous and boasts an in-house cafe which serves up delicious food too. There are aisles and aisles of goodies, you’ll be spoilt for choice! Another shop I discovered was The Healthy Life which is just off Pitt Street. Although it is much smaller than About Life, it is equally as well stocked and even has a little cafe inside which serves juices, smoothies and soups. It is also worth noting that most of the supermarkets and convenience stores in Sydney stock a small amount of whole foods and healthy snacks. Quest bars and Bounce balls are available practically everywhere and there are lots of other brands you can try too!

Where To Train

Now I know this isn’t food related, but I thought I would chuck this in there. Australia is the country where the fitness class F45 originated (I have written more about the class itself here). Basically it’s a 45 minute high intensity functional training class designed to push your fitness to the next level. Since you’re in its founding country you definitely need to give it a go and there are a series of studios in the city centre where you can get involved. I personally recommend the Sydney CBD studio which is managed by a lovely chap called Drew and his accompanying crew. The team are super friendly and their positive encouragement really helps to push you through the classes. They have created a real sense of community with lots of return customers coming in an almost daily basis, and you easily slot in and become part of the family. I will miss those guys a lot!

Well, that was a long post… oops! I hope you stuck it out to the end! If you try out any of these spots then please let me know on twitter, tag me in a picture on instagram or snapchat me; my username is zanzapan. I would love to see!

Happy eating,

Zanna xx

July 30, 2016

Posted In: Travel

Leave a Comment

10 Things To Do In Byron Bay

As it is such a sleepy town, part of the appeal of Byron Bay is the relaxed way of life and chilled vibes the locals omit. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some fun activities while you’re there. I only visited for a weekend, but in those few days my boyfriend and I managed to fit in an awful lot of fun. Based on our experiences, here are the top things I recommend you try when you visit:

Explore The Markets

We were super lucky. The weekend that we visited the Byron Beach Market was in town. This is a market which happens every three months and focuses on artisan stalls and unique crafts. It was full of a whole host of interesting characters who each had their own stories to tell. It was super interesting to speak to them, and to browse what they were selling. We picked up an eclectic mix of items from chopping boards to raw granola and everything inbetween. If you’re not around on the weekend of this particular market, Byron has its renowned farmers market every Thursday which is said to be absolutely incredible.

Go Shopping

Byron is crammed full of unique shops and boutiques, each stocking a wide variety of quirky gifts and homewares. I personal loved the surf shops which had the most gorgeous wall prints, as well as Ahoy Trader which was a haven for unique clothing and beautiful trinkets.

Get Drunk

That’s right, have some beer! Byron Bay is known for its local beer Stone & Wood which is stocked across the country. The brewery is in Byron and has its own cafe and shop. You can pop along for a taste test of all their different brews and spend time picking the brains of the beer wizards that work there. My boyfriend loved it!

Eat Your Way Around Town

Byron Bay is a foodies dream destination, especially those of us who want to eat healthy. There are almost too many choices and it can be hard to fit in all the cafes, shops and restaurants you want to visit. I have compiled a comprehensive list over on my Top Healthy Cafes in Byron Bay blog post. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Get A Massage

There are an abundance of massage parlours in Byron Bay, it can be hard to choose one. However, I had an amazing experience at the Holistic Massage Centre, a small spot tucked away near the main roundabout in town. It certainly isn’t glamorous, but the masseuses know what they’re doing and its really affordable. I had the best deep tissue massage I think I have ever had, which is a bold statement!

Go For A Beach Walk

You can’t go to Byron and not walk along the beautiful beaches! My personal favourite walk was down the main beach towards the lighthouse. You can watch all the surfers as you go along and at the very end there is a viewing point which you can climb up to for a breath taking view across Byron. Plus, if you just walk a little further you can head up to the lighthouse, which brings me swiftly onto…

The Lighthouse Walk

I know, I know. Such a stereotypical recommendation for a trip to Byron. But trust me, the walk is popular for a reason! It is a tough climb, especially in the blazing sun but the views are definitely worth it. You can see the whole of Byron and the surrounding area. Plus, there is a high chance of seeing whales and dolphins as you walk along the cliff tops (we saw lots!).

Go Surfing

Surfing is a huge part of the lifestyle at Byron Bay. Everyone, their mum, auntie, dog and hamster seem to surf. Lessons are easy to come by and fun to do. There are loads of different spots to practice and everyone is super friendly and supportive. Pop on a wetsuit, grab and board and give it a go!

Go To The Farm

As a Yorkshire girl through and through and someone who was brought up on a farm, I thought it was only appropriate that I visited the local farm. It is a cute spot with a restaurant, farm shop, florist and of course… animals!!! You can just rock up and hang out with everything from pigs and chickens through to highland cattle. I was in heaven!

People Watch

Byron Bay is super duper relaxed. People wander round the streets bare foot and it seems every other person has dreadlocks. It kinda feels like you’re stepping into hipster central, but it is awesome and great for people watching. Find a cafe, sit back and observe. I promise you’ll see some unique sights.

Bonus: 3 Quick Fire Byron Tips

  1. Rent a car. Many of the beaches or restaurants aren’t within walking distance.
  2. Stay at the Byron at Byron hotel if you have the budget. Its gorgeous rooms and surrounding rainforest are a dream.
  3. Plan ahead. If you have longer than a weekend in byron, there are loads more actives to do from Kayaking the coastline to hiking around Minyon Falls.

Let me know if you’ve ever been to Byron Bay and any of your recommendations down in the comments below,

Zanna xx

July 22, 2016

Posted In: Travel

Leave a Comment

Where To Eat In Byron Bay: A Healthy Guide

I recently spent a long weekend in Byron Bay, a lazy town on the east coast of Australia just over an hours flight from Sydney. The community is small, friendly and passionate about surfing.They also have an abundance of healthy food outlets, restaurants and cafes. The quality of the ingredients are incredible and the food itself is delicious. I was in heaven and I want to share my personal favourite discoveries with you for when you next visit.

Breakfast & Lunch

Let’s just say that Australians know how to do brunch food. Holy moley. I was spoilt for choice. My personal favourite meal of my whole trip to Byron was from Folk Cafe. The menu alone blew my mind, I literally wanted to eat everything. I had never seen such a diverse, creative and delicious plant based selection before. The rose matcha latte was a highlight, the dishs were piled high into nutritious food mountains and the cafe’s vibe was super chilled out and comfortable.

Bayleaf Cafe in the centre of town is an awesome spot with a lengthy drinks menu including countless coffee variations (the coconut cold brew being our favourite). When I went, they had a special “apple crumble” smoothie which was out of this world. In terms of the food menu, I loved the breakfast greens which combines buckwheat with creamy avocado, crunchy pistachios and fresh kale. Yum! Roadhouse was another breakfast highlight. Their magic mushroom hot chocolate was the bomb, as was the matcha milkshake which is super refreshing on hot morning. Their avocado on toast is literally a mountain of deliciousness. They aren’t shy with portions and the flavours are rich but nourishing.

Finally, we drove a little out of town to The Belle General. This spot was definitely worth the journey. I warn you though, it’s popular so get there early to avoid the queues and it’s pricey so be prepared to splash the cash. Their granola bowl is their famous dish and you can tell why, not only is it delicious but it’s the most instagrammable food I have ever set eyes upon. However, my personal favourite was the breakfast burrito, which I got with extra avocado (of course!).

Grab & Go

If you’re in a hurry, I highly recommend hitting up The Top Shop. A little out of the town centre, this cafe is located in a residential area and is always buzzing with people.They are renowned for their breakfast burger which quite frankly is epic (and definitely not the most healthy or balanced option, but everything in moderation hey?). They also do delicious homemade juices, coffee concoctions and granola bowls. Everything is prepared super fast and popped into little brown boxes which you can eat outside in the sunshine or take with you to the beach.

Another great spot for a snack or drink is Naked Treaties. They have shelves stocked with raw vegan cakes, balls and brownies; but get there early as they sell out by the afternoon. I tried their raspberry cheesecake which was surprisingly light for raw desert. I also absolutely loved their “iced superfood cacao” which contained blended acai and tasted divine.

For coffee, the best place in town is Barefoot Roasters. All the locals swear by their blends. It is literally a tiny room just selling coffee and a handful of cakes, with a couple of milk crates out front to perch on if you fancy. I had an almond milk flat white which was one of the best I have had in a very long time. My boyfriend tucked into their homemade banana bread which they toast and coat in butter. It certainly isn’t healthy but I tell you what, it tastes insanely good. Treat yourself!

Dinners

I don’t feel as qualified to discuss dinner locations as we only spent two nights in Byron. However, we did experience some delicious evening meals in that short time. Our first was from Three Blue Ducks at The Farm. The food was wholesome and delicious, and we loved browsing the neighbouring farm shop between courses. Our second meal was from Harvest. Let’s just say that their salted caramel “mylk” and their roasted pumpkin with salted ricotta are not to be missed. Seriously, that pumpkin blew my mind. Both these restaurants are also hot spots for daytime meals and are well known for their breakfast food.

Whole-food Shops

Finally, let’s touch on the whole-food shops in Byron Bay. There’s only handful but they’re goodens. My top two were Fundies and Santos which were both on the main road through town. Each had a wide range of products from baking essentials through to the all important nut butters. They both have their own cafe attached to them which also serve up amazing grab and go food, as well as homemade raw cakes and treats. My boyfriend and I indulged in a chocolate hazelnut cake from Santos which was ridiculous delicious but also super rich and sent us into a serious food coma. It was definitely worth it though!

If you try out any of these spots on your next trip to Byron, be sure to tag me on instagram and let me know your thoughts!

Zanna xx

July 18, 2016

Posted In: Travel

Leave a Comment