Select Page


The Sydney CBD is a great place to shop small. I love exploring all the new small bars, eateries, cafes and restaurants that keep popping up at every street corner. I support the small food businesses whole-heartedly to keep Sydney food scene alive, exciting and diverse. That’s why I will be once again involved in the American Express Shop Small campaign this year to support small local businesses who are doing big things for us.

Last time I had the opportunity to feature a few of my favourite small businesses in Newtown. This year I will be taking you to some of my favourite spots in Sydney CBD, including a couple hidden gems tucked away in laneways, food halls and even underground. You have a big appetite! You can easily check out all these hot spots over a weekend in Sydney, they are all within walking distance from one and another. All you need is a big appetite!


Fried Chicken at Mary’s CBD

If you love burgers, then you will love Mary’s CBD. It’s an extension of the Mary’s in Newtown, this hole-in-the-wall burger joint is forever packed during lunch hours. Whilst many foodies come here for their New York style cheeseburgers, but I can never say no to their Southern-style fried chicken. Their chicken burger is a must try, better still, skip the carb from the burger and just order the fried chicken for the ultimate gratification. 


Address: 154 Castlereagh St, Sydney NSW 2000
Opening hours: Mon to Sat 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sun 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
(This establishment is not in American Express’ Shop Small campaign)


wine-odyssey-1 wine-odyssey-2

Pour yourself a wine at Wine Odyssey

Self pouring and tasting as many wines as you like? It sounds like heaven for the wine lovers. Bit of a hidden gem at The Rocks, Wine Odyssey is an interactive wine tasting room that allows visitors to serve themselves any of the 44 delicious Australian wines; a mix of secret gems and rare icons such as Penfold’s Grange. Visitors can choose a taste, a half glass or a full glass of each wine just by a click of the button. But pace yourself and watch your alcohol limit before getting legless. 


Address: 39-43 Argyle Street, 
The Rocks, NSW 2000
(Corner of Argyle & Harrington Street)
Opening hours: Tue – Thur, Sun 12pm – 9pm
Fri – Sat 12pm – 11pm


hawker-restaurant-1 hawker-restaurant-3

Hawker for some Malaysian street food

Hawker is one of my favourite Malaysian restaurants in Sydney CBD. I go there whenever I crave for Malaysian street food. A must have for me is the Char Kuey Teow (stir fried rice noodle) here with the addition of cockles, just like back home in Malaysia. Other favourites including Hainan Chicken Rice, Popiah (steamed spring roll), Satay skewers and grilled stingray. Trust me, bring a few friends along to share.


Address: Shop G.02, 345B-353 Sussex Street, Sydney
Opening hours: Open 7 days (no reservations)
lunch 11:30 – 2:30, dinner 5:30 – 9:30, supper til 12am (fri and sat)



We all scream for ice cream at Aqua S

If Barbie Girl is real, this is the place where she will be hanging out. Beat the summer heat with a creamy soft serve ice cream here at Aqua S. Flavours are changing regularly here but the sea salt flavour in baby blue hue tends to be the most popular. The best part is you can decorate the ice cream however you like it, including toasted marshmallow, candied popcorn or a big fluffy cloud of fairy floss. 


Address: Shop 27, 501 George Street Regent Place, Sydney NSW 2000
Opening hours:
Mon – Sun 12pm – 10pm
(This establishment is not in American Express’ Shop Small campaign)


tokyo-bird-1 tokyo-bird-2

Sip the night away at Tokyo Bird

Nothing better than soaking up the night with a quiet drink, whiskey preferably. You can do just that here at Tokyo Bird, tucked in a laneway in Surry Hills. They have the most extensive list of Japanese whiskeys in Sydney. If you are a whiskey novice like me, don’t be shy to ask the whiskey master to recommend one that suits your palate. Order a few yakitori, glass of whiskey in hand, what more could you ask for?


Address: Shop 2, 226-228 Commonwealth Street,
Surry Hills NSW 2010 (Entry on Belmore Lane)
Opening hours: Mon – Sat: 5.00pm – Midnight



Grab a perky bun at Mr Bao

Taiwanese street food Gua Bao has taken over Sydney by storm. You’ll find Mr Bao is serving up these pillow-soft half open-face steamed buns with assorted tasty fillings that you simply want to sink your teeth into. The crackling pork belly bao is a must try, followed by karaage chicken bao. Make sure to go early to beat the lunch hour crowd from nearby offices. 


Address: 56 York St, Sydney, NSW 2000
Opening hours: Mon – Wed, Sat 11am – 3pm 
Thurs – Fri   11am – 9pm
(This establishment is not in American Express’ Shop Small campaign)


berta-1 berta-2

Celebrate best produce at Berta

There are more than just pasta and pizza in Italian cuisine. Here at Berta you will get to experience simple Italian meal done right. I love going there on Tuesday night which is Sagra at Berta – a four course dinner created by using one core ingredient to celebrate the best produce available. You can also have the meal to pair with some exquisite Italian wines. 


Address: 17 – 19 Alberta St, Sydney, 2000
Lunch: Friday 12pm – 3pm
Aperitivo: Friday 3pm – 6pm
Dinner: Tuesday – Saturday 6pm-late



Burn it up at Grandma’s Bar

This grandma loves to drink! I love visiting Grandma’s Bar which is secretly hidden in the basement on Clarence Street. It feels homely and cosy inside, a great spot to catch up with mates for a pre or post dinner drink. The cocktails here are delicious, particularly the Ultimate Mai Tai, it’s quite a show stopper! Grandma will also tempt you with her tasty Jaffles (aka toasted sandwiches)! 


Address: Basement 275, Clarence Street, Sydney 2000
(look for the guitar signboard)
Mon-Fri: 3pm till late 
Sat: 5pm till late


mr-crackles-1 mr-crackles-2

Crunch time at Mr Crackles

Looking for a midnight snack? Forget about doner kebab, crunchy pork cracklings is what you need! Mr Crackles on Oxford Street will cure your midnight hangover with the most amazing roast pork sandwich crowned with the crunchiest pork crackling you’ve ever tasted. And don’t forget to grab an extra cup of crackling to take home. 


Address: 155 Oxford St, Darlinghurst, Sydney 2010
Opening hours: Mon-Wed: 11:30am – 9:30pm
Thurs: 11:30am – 1:30am

Fri: 11:30am – 4:30am
Sat: 12pm – 4am
Sun: 12pm – 10pm



It’s time to share your love for small businesses.

This month let’s all Shop Small and show our support for your favourite local small businesses. Share your adventures on Instagram by using hashtag #Share4ShopSmall and you’ll also have the chance to win a $500 Accorhotels voucher from American Express! 

American Express has created my Shop Small Map for your convenience so you can easily follow the map and check out these places I love in the Sydney CBD, and find out about other fantastic small businesses around the country. If you’re an American Express Card Member you’ll also receive $10 credit when you spend $20 or more (up to ten times during the month) at participating AMEX small businesses across the country (some of which I’ve mentioned here!) 

I am not sure about you but I am getting hungry already! 



 [A Table For Two is proud to be part of American Express Shop Small Movement campaign]