Tasting Trek: Uncovering the hidden gems of Glebe (Sydney)

Organised by the fine folk at The Sydney Connection, last week’s sold out Glebe Tasting Trek was a unique way to discover new gems in a part of Sydney many think they know well. Asking “how long have you been here?” at an establishment was often met with a reply of “several years”, throwing off my initial theory that “this place must be new” and “I just haven’t come to the area recently enough”. Is this the case all over Sydney? Are there gems that I’ve been walking past all these years, not paying any attention to?

No better is this exemplified than with Timbah(u1/375 Glebe Point Rd), a tapas and wine bar hidden just off Glebe Point Road, in a location even the most curious or food explorers will have easily missed over the years. I being no exception.

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The menu is diverse, and over the last 12 months they have focused on exploring uniquely Australian ingredients in amongst their dishes. Their most popular dish, the TFC (Timbah Fried Chicken) holds true to the rule, with a variety of Australian spices found in the delicious batter; small pieces of chicken cooked in buttermilk for 45 minutes before being coated in potato starch and fried, 14 spices added to give it a unique flavour and finished off with a side of chipotle mayo. This makes is a gluten free dish too – which will be a welcome feature for many.

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Their wine list is extensive and they have quite a unique approach to their bar service. A run of red and white wines sit opened at the bar – five if my eyes didn’t fail me – and the selection is chosen by their customers. One who finishes a bottle must choose the next, and so on. I enjoyed a stunning Riesling for $7, and having not written down what it was, by the time I went back to find out, it had already been dutifully replaced. Something to know for next time.

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Another surprise find was Staves Brewery (4-8 Grose St) – a local brewery I’d heard about and even once tried at a craft beer week event, but whose location had alluded me. Hidden in a laneway behind Broadway, they have a surprising amount of room – including an upstairs room and a beer garden – with seven taps pouring out a variety of their beers. I tried their pale ale, which was absolute perfection. They also treated us to a Ploughman’s Platter, with a delectable cold pork pie as its centrepiece, alongside a sizeable pickled onion, pickles, cheese and bread.

Photo: Larry Heath
Photo: Larry Heath

The rest of the Tasting Trek traversed two spots I knew well, and one that I hadn’t tried. At the popular Mexican restaurant Flying Fajita Sisters (65 Glebe Point Rd) we enjoyed a Banana and Chocolate Chimichanga – basically a fried burrito – covered in cream and caramel. It was incredible, and actually one of the best dishes I’ve had there. We accompanied this with an excellent Margarita on the rocks, which you can get as a single drink or in a jug. Though I’ve tried the restaurant quite a few times, I’d never made it to dessert – so this was a welcome treat.

Photo: Larry Heath
Photo: Larry Heath

The Mexican theme continued at Baja Cantina (43-45 Glebe Point Rd), with the staff serving up a little bit of everything: Tacos, burritos, nachos – you name it, it was there. The highlight for me, however, was the serving of Chicken Quesadillas.

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Our final stop was Alfie & Hetty (207 – 209 Glebe Point Rd), a restaurant that serves up modern Australian cuisine in an old terrace. Still recovering from the onslaught of food at Baja Cantina, we struggled to fit in one of their most popular dishes – the Salt n Pepper Squid with pepper aioli and a ponzu dip. It was perfection, but after all this food it was definitely time to call it a night and head home.

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The Sydney Connection run dining walks all over the city. You can guarantee no matter where you go, you’ll stumble across some hidden gems as I did – and leave incredibly full. All food is included in the price of the ticket, as is some of the alcohol. For their schedule of upcoming treks head to thesydneyconnection.com.au.

The writer joined the Glebe Tasting Trek in October 2016 as a guest of The Sydney Connection. Photos by Zoe Rollings, except where mentioned.