Men love greasy food. It’s a fact of life that spawned the very idea for this story. An idea that somehow got the green light and then subsequently scared the bejesus out of our photographer. This crazy we speak of is tracking down ten of Sydney’s best ‘Dude Food’ joints.
This isn’t just about sloppy huge portions though. Magnificent bastards deserve better, so this list of the best dude food Sydney, compiled with the help of photographer Darwin Gomez also accounts for some intense flavour hits. If you fear calories and bacon with your ice cream, look away now.
#1 Pub Life Kitchen
This badass little eatery located in the inner-Sydney of Ultimo packs a serious punch when it comes to fine dude food. The pub it’s attached to is so small you could mistake it for a corner store. Rest assured it will rarely happen if you follow your nose and the loitering crowds out front. We got to sample ‘The Bird’ – a Dorito crumbed (yes, like the chip) fried chicken burger with slaw, jack cheese and mayo, and the classic house Cheeseburger – a 10 day salt cured 200g beef patty with jack cheese, Kosher pickles, onions, mustard and tomato sauce.
Cool fact: Every Wednesday the kitchen concocts an experimental burger for their fans. In the past they’ve plated up things like a Fois Gras Black Truffle Burger. If you like your food to taste like Scarlett Johansson slapping you in the face, this is the place to get it.
Location: 265 Bulwara Rd, Ultimo
#2 Vic’s Meat Market
Victor Churchill has been one of Eastern Sydney’s finest butchers for years with a shop fit out that’s more accustomed to a high end men’s clothing store than a meat supplier. Last year they took over the Sydney Fish Markets by opening up their first store that also has an American-style smoking eatery attached to it. At Vic’s, we got to sample two of their current hero burgers which have been gaining rave reviews from local Sydneysiders. The 12-hour smoked pulled pork and 12-hour smoked beef brisket burger, teamed with house made slaw and BBQ sauce will send your tastebuds to another planet.
Cool fact: The entire fish markets now smells like smoked BBQ meat instead of fish.
Location: Sydney Fish Markets, Bank St, Pyrmont
#3 Mary’s Newtown & Sydney CBD
Currently the talk of Sydney town is a radical burger joint called Mary’s. Their burgers certainly don’t look anything spectacular, but that’s the beauty of it – we reckon the chefs intentionally downplay the aesthetics of their simple looking burgers so that they can claim your head when you actually taste it. With an ex-chef from Tetsuya’s on hand and owners who have had their beginnings at Sydney’s award-winning restaurants like Bodega and Porteno, you can rest assured your buns are in good hands. We got to sample the Mary’s Burger along with their Mary’s Fried Chicken.
Cool fact: The Newtown joint holds theme nights (we think, or it could be just Newtown). The night we dropped in was Slayer night with thrash metal blaring from the cosy two-levelled eatery. No joke, there was also a queue to get in with a bouncer – for burgers. Once inside, it was so dark you couldn’t really tell what you were eating. It was awesome.
Location: 6 Mary St, Newtown & 154 Castlereagh St, Sydney
#4 Devon Cafe
Cafe food in a dude food Sydney list? Indeed. Sydney’s diverse food scene is always changing and many cafes are now innovating the style of food they serve. One of these places is Devon Cafe located in inner-city Surry Hills. We trialled a very sweet dish from their breakfast menu – and we use that term quite loosely as The Little Lost Bread consisted of a brioche French toast lathered with fresh and freeze dried stawberries, strawberry gastrique and Arnott’s biscuit crumble with strawberry cheesecake ice cream. Oh and bacon. Bacon on ice cream. For breakfast. Who does this stuff?
Cool fact: Every patron in Devon is also a professional Instagrammer. I spotted the girl on the table next to us Instagramming our photographer as he was taking photos of our food. The coffee is also tops.
Location: 76 Devonshire St, Surry Hills
#5 Oxford Tavern Black Betty BBQ
This place used to be a topless bar. And now they do some of Sydney’s best BBQ smoked meats. Situated in the inner-western suburb of Petersham, the Oxford Tavern holds its own against all them fancy city food joints. It’s a homely spot for a good Sunday beer with friends in the beer garden, but be warned: smoked meats will run out (as we found out) and they are only done on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm so showing up at 4pm is futile. We settled for their alternative menu which was a Chilli Double Dawg that’s about two lengths your face along with their Dino’s Charcoal Chicken. Both had a good BBQ kick for non-smoked meats. Be sure to book ahead if you plan on going.
Cool fact: They’ve kept the neon sign out front that features a topless girl with the text ‘Live Hot BBQ’, as well as the mirrors on the ceilings inside. You can now check out that juicy rear end of your chicken.
Location: 1 Canterbury Rd, Petersham
#6 Mr. Crackles
If you’re after the true epitome of dude food Sydney then you can’t go past Mr. Crackles located on Sydney’s main nightlife street. This hole in the wall sandwich eatery has enough room for about ten people to sit on the inside benches and the rest to line up. We got recommended the manliest of their man rolls, the double-the-pork Manwich with a “side” of crispy pork nacho fries which looked bigger than the sandwich itself. The place is open late most nights and happily services those who stumble out of the surrounding bars with quality food instead of a sloppy kebab.
Cool fact: You can enjoy one of the city’s best pork crackling rolls whilst standing on Oxford Street watching drunk weirdos at 2am.
Location: 155 Oxford St, Darlinghurst
#7 Brooklyn Social
Update: Brooklyn Social has unfortunately closed due to unforeseen reasons. Feel free to hit up any other of these places on the list.
Inspired by American style drinking holes, it’s no suprise what kind of food Brooklyn Social serves up. Really hearty and heavy American grub. Fried chicken, burgers, curly fries, American beer, Brooklyn Social have it all. And it’s something you definitely need to try in Sydney. We got hold of their Meat Packing District burger, a quarter pounder of beef patty with dill pickles, onions and Social’s special sauce. Their Southern fried chicken with house seasoning was also a winner for a side dish.
Cool fact: The crowds of trendy young professionals along with the fit out of the place makes it feel like you’re in an episode of How I Met Your Mother. Screaming ‘Barney!’ at every passing suit is highly encouraged.
Location: 17 Randle St, Surry Hills
#8 Zeus Street Greek
Venturing out of the Sydney city centre will find you just a good a dude food joint. Located in Sydney’s inner-west is a spot that does a mean gyros. The Greek version of the kebab is actually nothing like a kebab, with quality fresh ingredients used throughout and thick fluffy pita bread. We scored four of their signature gyros dishes which included charcoal grilled beef, pulled pork and lamb. Definitely a stop off if you’re heading out of the city.
Cool fact: Tzatziki sauce. That is all.
Location: 187 – 189 Lyons Rd, Drummoyne
#9 Fat Rupert’s
At the time of our tasting, Fat Rupert’s of Bondi had actually popped up a temporary eatery in the city called Rupert & Ruby. Same people behind it, different menu. We dropped into their city joint to try their ridiculous Fried chicken and Honey Butter Waffle Ice Cream. Not many dude food places in Sydney have toyed with waffles but they’re starting to do it a lot more now in the surging cafe scene. Fat Rupert’s lives up to its name by creating this monster of a man meal.
Cool fact: The table of three girls next to us ordered one each and finished it. We wanted to marry them. Their Bondi eatery also features awesome street art out front.
Location: 249 Bondi Rd, Bondi
#10 Paramount Coffee Project
We told you the waffles would make a comeback. Paramount Coffee Project of Surry Hills doesn’t just brew some good coffee. Their kitchen also does some funky and unexpected dishes like the one we tried which was a fried chicken waffle with Japanese curry and bacon – again, for breakfast. It’s definitely not a light meal before you hit the gym, but hey, if you’re eating this kind of stuff then you’re probably not too concerned about your macro.
Cool fact: The cafe is situated in the building that was once home to Paramount Pictures Australia. Hence the cafe name. The building is also home to some of the trendiest organisations like Vice Australia.
Location: 80 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills