Sydney cuisine combines global influences, including Asian, South American and French, with distinguished wines and a dash of laid-back attitude for an unmistakably Australian experience.
travel inspirationExpert Picks for Tasting Your Way Around Sydney
In 2012, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney opened Grain, an elegant bar that celebrates a passion for expertly crafted drinks. The venue manager for Grain, David Hernandez, brings a global sophistication to the heart of Sydney's historical quarter and shares his recommendations for tasting your way around the city.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and experience?
I have lived and worked in Barcelona, London, Amsterdam, Turkey and Sydney. I have mainly worked at independent bars, but also some chains. Highlights would be Michelin-starred Hakkasan in London, opening Low 302, one of Sydney's first and best small bars, and obviously Grain, which is my first experience working in a hotel.
How did you come to be the venue manager for Grain and how long have you been in this role?
A friend that works for an alcohol company told me of the role at a time when I was looking for a change. I started working for Four Seasons on June 2012 and we opened Grain in September 2012.
What is your signature drink and what is the inspiration behind it?
I don't have a signature drink. I have created several drinks over the last few years, but always with the guest in mind so my recipes are always flexible to what the guest is looking for.
Are you developing any new drinks? And if so, can you tell us a bit about them?
We are working on the new list for Grain. Something we are quite excited about is barrel-aged drinks. Aging a cocktail for two to three weeks adds an extra texture and dimension to a drink.
We hear a lot about Australian wines, but can you recommend any local craft beers to try?
Two of our neighbors in the Rocks District brew their own beers, The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel and The Rocks Brewing Co., which is responsible for brewing our own Grain lager. Still in Sydney, there's the Young Henry's brewery in Newtown and the 4 Pines Brewing Co. in Manly.
What is classic Sydney food fare that visitors should definitely try?
Sydney has some of the best Asian food outside Asia, but there are plenty of other options as well. In the last year or so, we have seen an explosion of Mexican and South American restaurants. However, one of the most original and authentic dishes anyone can have in Sydney is Grain's Fried Old Man Saltbush, a native Australian dish.
Tell us about a food and beverage pairing at Grain that dazzles your senses.
Simple but effective, try our Grain lager with our short rib burger.
Are there any other tips, or information, you could share that would help guests prepare for their stay in Sydney?
Prepare your wallets. Sydney is home to some of the best bars and restaurants I have ever seen, but it is also a very expensive city.
Want more insider info about Sydney? Chef concierge Jorge Sousa of Four Seasons Hotel Sydney has these recommendations.
For foodies: David Jones is Sydney’s answer to London’s Harrods, complete with massive food halls in the Market Street flagship featuring numerous dining options, endless gourmet fare and a vast Aussie wine selection.
For shoppers: Australia is home to 97 percent of the world’s opals, including the finest, and Sydney is the best place to buy jewelry-quality opals.
For opera lovers: People with no interest whatsoever in opera often take in their very first performance here, thanks to one of the world’s most iconic buildings, the Sydney Opera House.
For surfers: Bondi’s highly regarded Let’s Go Surfing school caters to visitors and offers a two-hour Bondi Surf Experience taste test for true never-ever surf novices, 365 days a year.
For the fearless: Sydney invented the BridgeClimb, a harnessed excursion above and across the landmark Harbour Bridge with climbs taking place during the day or at night, twilight or dawn.