Paddington is a pretty little suburb of Sydney known for its designer threads, quaint cafés and beautiful views. Having grown up in Princeton, New Jersey, and spent time in New Orleans during university, I find the area to be a lovely mix of the two. Victorian terrace homes with wrought-iron balconies line the streets, and Paddingtonites flit among the many stores, coffee shops and galleries. If you want a quick, easy trip beyond Sydney, make the 10-minute drive to this southeastern suburb. Here’s your exclusive guide to the area’s best shopping, eating and sightseeing.
The Intersection is the fashion epicenter of Sydney. Where Oxford Street meets Glenmore Road, exclusive labels and rising Australian design talents have set up shop. Each boutique adds its own flavor to the area, but with a shared love for style and fashion. The cool, bustling shopping strip features a plethora of fashion hits, so give yourself a few hours to fully browse. Some highlights from the area include the timeless Bassike, the trend-driven Zimmermann, the free-spirited Sass & Bide, and Scanlon & Theodore — the first fashion tenant of The Intersection.
Fittingly nestled at William and Underwood streets, a haven of beautiful, carefully curated fashions awaits. The Corner Shop is a little store offering international (Kenzo) and Australian designer labels (Michael Lo Sordo). The whole aura of the store is pretty and light, from the quaint streets it sits on with purple jacaranda blossoms, to the gorgeous garments on display. So much care has gone into the shop’s well-edited selection, whatever you purchase will become a wardrobe staple.
As you enter this bookshop, you’re met with an instant sense of calm — a welcome feeling when browsing for a good read. It enables your mind to wander as you peruse the abundance of pages at Ariel Books. Perfect for the artsy types, this independent bookseller on Oxford Street specializes in tomes on architecture, art, design, fashion, interiors and photography.
Eat & Drink
“We love coffee, we love beautiful food and we love vinyl,” is Tiger Mottle’s mantra. With a turntable producing the soundtrack to your stay, the café is a great spot for a mid-morning break. Or pop in for lunch and try something off the fresh, seasonal menu, such as mushies on toast (brown mushrooms with wilted greens and ricotta). If you’re just looking for a coffee, go for the establishment’s signature, the Maple Mottle, a dangerously delicious double cream, double ristretto with a shot of maple syrup laced with chilli and topped with dark chocolate shavings.
La Gerbe d’Or
Across the street from Tiger Mottle sits this gem, one of Sydney’s best French patisseries. The authentic French bakery is filled with enticing tarts, golden baguettes, flaky croissants and so much more. It also offers a mouth-watering array of dishes, well portioned and pleasantly priced. Try the house challah French toast (with bacon) or the thick ciabatta piled with poached eggs, parsley and roasted mushrooms for a brunch treat.
After a day of shopping, head to The London Hotel across from The Corner Shop to unwind with a gin and tonic. To refuel, grab a succulent selection from the new Chur Burger pop-up upstairs. Choose from an array of patties made of beef, chicken, pork, lamb, fish or veggies. If you can fit it, enjoy your burger with one of the Chur Burger cocktails, such as the Buttered Up, which is made with butter vodka, coffee liqueur, fresh coffee and sugar syrup.
End a day in Paddington at this tucked-away wine-bar-meets-restaurant. The knowledgeable staff will help you pick from a full list of good wines to pair with one of the tasty antipasto dishes on its Italian-themed menu. It’ll be hard to choose just one. Luckily, the menu is made up of small plates, so dig into the delectable beef carpaccio, zucchini-mint ricotta as well as the fun, filling seafood platter.
Looking for some downtime while you’re out and about in Paddington? This vital water source that closed in 1899 was transformed into a well-designed park in 2009. The sunken garden is a tranquil escape from busy Oxford Street. Admire the neat archways made from the original 19th-century brick, timber and iron structures while you relax on the benches or play a game of foosball on one of the several tables featuring cleverly carved players.
First opened in 1956 in Melbourne and expanded to Sydney in 1989 to nurture ties with the New South Wales audience and artists, the Australian Galleries is home to a vast collection of native art from colonial to contemporary periods. All mediums are represented at the gallery, including paintings, sculpture, photography, video and prints.
Photos Courtesy of iStock-Oksana Perkins and Chris Colls