When I first arrived in Sydney, I wasn’t sure where the best place was to go shopping. I have to be honest and say that there really wasn’t much choice, however over the past four years I have seen the shopping landscape change significantly.
With the introduction of Westfield, Topshop and Zara, it just keeps getting better!
One of the great places to shop that continues to go under the radar is The Strand! It’s such a great little gem and is home to a number of great boutique and high street shops! Especially if you’ve got a sweet tooth!!
The Strand Arcade
It is an aspiration to go ‘back to the source’ and reveal the quality craftsmanship and artisan techniques behind the its bespoke retailers that defines the Strand Arcade’s shopping experience. Each of the food retailers within the Strand Arcade has a story to tell as does the arcade itself which was established in 1891 and is the only Victorian arcade in Sydney to remain in its original form. The Strand is an optimistic fusion of old-world majesty and modern, of-the-moment stores. http://www.strandarcade.com.au/
Under the skillful guidance of head chef and owner Nino Zoccali The Restaurant Pendolino specialises in regionally-inspired Italian cuisine featuring some of Australia and Italy’s most prestigious extra-virgin olive oils and food and wine products. Beyond these amazing olive oils the Restaurant Pendolino features a range of artisanal pastas made on the premises in a dedicated pasta kitchen with all pastas made from flour and organic eggs. Those who know their pasta will love the ‘ravioli di magro con burro fus’, a traditional handmade ravioli with spinach, parmigiano reggiano, gruyere, buffalo mozzarella and burnt butter and sage. To celebrate the beauty of pasta, Nino Zoccali has captured a life time of irresistible recipes in his new book ‘Pasta Artigiana’ – from a classic spaghetti alla napoletana through to a refined sweet pea ravioli with gorgonzola cream, as well as a range of versatile pasta doughs, sauces and broths. http://www.pendolino.com.au/
La Rosa Bar & Pizza
Following the success of the highly acclaimed Pendolino restaurant, Chef Nino Zoccali presents the new La Rosa Bar & Pizza restaurant – providing a new level of crafted Italian wine bar and artisan pizza dining experience in the Sydney CBD. The new restaurant features a purpose designed interior profiling a new modern but wonderfully ecclesiastic Italianate space as the latest addition to the magnificent Strand Arcade building. Diners are treated to a range of La Rosa’s own crafted small goods as well as traditional stone baked pizza made with aged dough and the finest of Italian and Australian ingredients. The Bar features a short Southern Italian influenced list of selected Italian wines as well as 50 Italian liqueurs available by the glass. Italian Liqueur based cocktails are also featured in the bar as well as a list of boutique and regional Italian beers. http://www.larosabarandpizza.com.au/
It was 1st May 1915, when Alfred E Haigh opened the doors of the very first Haigh’s Chocolates store at number 34 King William Street, Adelaide. Alfred began adding his own flavour to the industry and in 1917 he started producing chocolate-covered fruit centres, which Haigh’s still makes today. Haigh’s still use only the very best and freshest ingredients. And they’re one of the very few chocolate manufacturing-retailers in the world who still source and manufacture from the raw cocoa bean. At Haigh’s, the cooking processes are unique with factory teams using their meticulous artisan skills to create the products. Many of the chocolates continue to be handmade – Haigh’s hand-foil Easter eggs, hand-dip truffles and hand-mark individual loose chocolates to identify the fillings. The chocolates are then carefully packed by hand in boxes or bags. Visit the Haigh’s store, and you’ll find that chocolate tasting, gift wrapping and personalised attention is part of the service. http://www.haighschocolates.com.au/
Sweet Infinity is a French inspired patisserie located on the Ground Floor of the Strand Arcade. The Strand store opened in 2010 and continues to serve up a divine offering of food that is on display daily. Like the name suggests, the store offers a delectable range of sweets such as their infamous chocolate brownie, lemon meringue tarts, macarons and meringues. For special occasions, you can’t go past their hot cross buns at Easter and cakes and cookies for Christmas! The patisserie does not disappoint those looking for something savoury either, with delights including gourmet pies and sausage rolls served daily.
Bon Bon Fine Chocolates
The first ‘Bon Bon Fine Chocolate’ store opened in 1982 and became known and loved as an exclusive boutique supplier of fine, imported, handmade European chocolates. Bon Bon serves up a unique selection of exclusive treats, un-paralleled treasures and decadent Belgium delicacies to Sydney-siders in the know. Manufactured right here in the heart of NSW – they have blended Australian ingenuity and European chocolate know-how to create the perfect blend of captivating combinations to enrich the heart and warm the soul. The newly established Bon Bon Café Restaurant nestled under the retail store also offers a substantial breakfast and lunch menu and a selection of tantalizing deserts, along with special events including tapas in the evenings and high tea on Sundays. “Whatever the reason for coming in to see us, whether it be for our selection of fine bon bons, a bag of our rich, slow roasted hazelnuts robed in warm, inviting chocolate or a quick coffee in our cozy underground cafe with a delicious new winter menu, we look forward to seeing you soon!” Andrew Yiasemides (Owner). http://www.bonbon.com.au/
The Nut Shop
The Nut Shop is a family run business, established in 1939 by Karl Mendels, father and grandfather to the present owners. The original shop in the Strand Arcade is still open for business, and a popular stop for tourists and locals alike to purchase the famous Nut Shop Chocolate Macadamias and the traditional favourite, the Vienna Almonds. Some may still remember Karl, cooking the Vienna Almonds (known as Vanilla Almonds during the war) by hand in large copper pans, the delicious smell wafting through the Arcade and out into the streets of Sydney. In the early 1950’s more products were added, including marzipan, chocolate coated orange peel, brandy prunes, chocolate hazelnuts and in the later years the ‘world renowned’ Chocolate Macadamias. The Nut Shop strives to promote ‘Australian Made’ products using Australian raw materials and ingredients wherever possible. All products are manufactured using family traditional methods handed down since 1939 to achieve the freshest possible taste and texture. The Nut Shop only uses pure chocolate (not compound) and all the nuts are the largest and best quality available. The most popular lines are the famous Vienna Almonds, Cinnamon Almonds, Cashews and Macadamia products. http://www.nutshop.com.au/
Taka Tea Garden
Taka Tea Garden is a specialty tea store, located in the heart of the Strand Arcade. Taka Tea stocks only the finest grade of teas from around the world, specialising in Japanese green teas. One of the favourite picks include the Japanese Genmaicha, which means ‘brown rice tea’ or ‘roasted rice tea’ and has a sweet and delicate flavor mixed with the rich aroma of toasted rice. For a special treat, try the Imperial Grade Genmaicha which is crafted from younger leaves for a smoother flavor. Bound to delight tea connoisseurs and those who may not know much at all, the store also offers a rich array of black teas, Chinese teas, herbal & fruit teas, herbalist blends and tea bags. Taka Tea Garden won “The Foodies’ Guide to Sydney Excellence in Tea” award in 2010. http://www.quali-tea.com