A foodies guide to Central Park Sydney, CBD

Central Park, Sydney’s self-proclaimed ‘living mall’, breathes of dappled sunlight, digital art installations, live plants, and relaxing open spaces.

Bring your laptop, yo. You’re going to be here for a while.

If you haven’t noticed the skyscraper building being overtaken by foliage opposite UTS then you NEED TO GET OUT FROM UNDER THAT ROCK NOW. Sydney’s been watching this complex be constructed for years now, and although the full extent of the project is still in development, its main hub, Central Park Sydney, is pretty much complete.

Hurrah! Woop woop! Finally!

On the outside, CentralPark reads much like a shopping complex, with boutique shop windows spilling onto the pavement and high rise apartments reaching up to the sky. Inside: it’s an oasis in the heart of the CBD. Natural sunlight reflects off mirrored panels from three floors up, bathing all a sparkling brightness and interactive art installations crave for your input – the least of which are wobbly white chairs that the kids will take to like Homer Simpson to beer.

Those seeking to leave their mark behind should head up to the top floor to the dedicated artist’s space. Here, floor to ceiling blackboards beg to be scribbled on, while working artists let their imaginations fly in front of your eyes.

Behind the building is the yawning open Chippendale Park. This is marked with an installation that revolves on the tiniest of ball bearings. We won’t tell you any more about this astounding balancing act or you may fear to walk near it, but rest assured, it’s perfectly safe.

On sunnier days, this is where you’ll be baking and relaxing. Although, when the ‘hungers’ call, it’s inside in either The Dining District or the Central Kitchen that you’ll dine, relax, and work in. In case you’re wondering, yes, they have free wifi throughout the building.

Hurrah! Woop woop! Finally!

Central Kitchen

Taking up the second floor is Central Kitchen. It’s considered a food court, but it really is so much more. All restaurants have been specifically chosen for their dedication to providing authentic cuisine, and fast food is strictly taboo. This is one food court that says ‘no’ to McDonald’s.

Wander out onto the balcony for a full view of the parkland, or stay inside where the tables are large and inviting, and the potted plants are real.

Our top three food picks:

Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung

One of the biggest draw cards, food-wise, at Central Park is Din Tai Fung. The famous dumpling restaurant covers a good corner of The Dining District and will no doubt draw families and groups of students trickling from the nearby universities to their communal tables.

Sushizilla Sushi Train

Sushizilla Sushi Train

If the queue is too long at your local dumpling heaven, try Sushizilla. The sushis here are inventive and, as always, impeccably presented.

QSAN - Yakitori on the Go

QSAN - Yakitori on the Go

What caught our eye however was QSAN - Yakitori on the Go. It’s Sydney’s very first Kaiten Yakitori Express Store, and sells kushiyaki (skewer grilled meats) with everything from chicken balls to wagyu beef. We recommend the chicken and the pork belly, though don’t let that stop you from sampling the lot.

The Dining District

You can head down the escalators from the George St entrance, or enter this one from the park.

Referred to as The Dining District, this area is more restaurant-style, with each cafe and restaurant having its own private dining space, and with most offering table service.

Like the Central Kitchen, the area is open for late-night dining, which is a blessing this side of the city when things jump from your daytime cafe, to your less-than-average bar (sorry, nearby bars).

On the upside, the good old Claire and Abercrombie (brings back university memories, doesn’t it?), which are found on either side of Central Park, are due to be given facelifts in line with Central Park’s modern look. There are no ETA time at the moment, but The Claire will become a boutique hotel, while the Abercrombie is rumoured to be refurbished back into a bar.

But back to the Dining District...

Our top three food picks:

Autolyse

Autolyse

For breakfast, your go-to cafe is Autolyse. This will be the second one in Australia and is renowned for its freshly baked sourdough bread. Its muffins and toasts are a great way to start the day, and we suggest you pick a loaf of bread up in the morning to see you through the rest of your busy work day.

Ribs & Burgers

Ribs & Burgers

They’ve got ribs. They’ve got burgers. They use 100% pure beef, hand rolled, with no binding agents or salts. And their meals look like this. Do you need anymore convincing?

La Mamma del Gelato Anita

La Mamma del Gelato Anita

Over 250 litres of gelato and yogurt come out of Anita’s on sale ice cream haven per day, and at least one of them should be in your freezer tonight.

The best bit? You can burn it all off shopping downstairs or running laps around Chippendale Park.

What you need to know

Address: 28 Broadway, Chippendale

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9am‒8pm, Sunday 10am‒8pm

Phone number: (02) 8096 9900

Find Central Park on Facebook.

Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is a journalist, avid traveller and all-round bargain hunter. If there's an online coupon code, deal or cheap flight available, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too.

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