Around the world in a day at the Sydney International Food Safari

Around the world in a day at the Sydney International Food Safari

The King Street Wharf district embraces diversity as the gourmands return for an exotic event
Sydney International Food Safari
Boom! What's not to like with scenes like this at King Street Wharf?

Back in the noughties, you would’ve been hard-pressed finding a table at any of the dozen-odd restaurants and bars lining King Street Wharf.

A former maritime industrial area on the east shore of Sydney’s Darling Harbour entertainment precinct, it was the venue of choice for professional sportsmen, high-flying business types (or so they thought) and the odd wealthy tourist.

Today, though, King Street is a very different place.

Coupled with the impact of falling international arrivals to Australia and the resurgent popularity of other city-fringe entertainment precincts, you’re more likely to see tumbleweeds on a wintry weeknight than the throngs that once minted this golden mile.

That’s why, in a drive to bring back the glory days, King Street Wharf will this month launch its International Food Safari, a two-week-long celebration of global food that kicks off on June 25.

Global stroll

“Each of our venues has its own regional offering,” says marketing manager Maria Panson.

“So the idea of the Safari was that you could turn up at the wharf and walk around the world without leaving Sydney.

“You could start at Bungalow 8 for a suckling pig and a taste of the South Pacific, or go to Casa di Nico for a pizza-making and dough-spinning class and tasting session.

“You could have a South American tasting plate at La Cita or a beef tasting plate at Steersons Steak House. Then you can finish off the night with cocktails of the world at The Loft.”

Many of the 13 participating venues will also stage cultural events during the Safari. On Wednesdays, Polynesian Luau fire dancers will thrill customers at Bungalow 8.

On Thursdays and Fridays, Thai dancers will perform at I Thai, while Greek dancers will be strutting their stuff at Georges Mediterranean Bar & Grill.

“We’re going to make things as lively as possible,” says owner George Vardis. “Will there be plate smashing? You never know.”

European angle

Festivalgoers will also have the opportunity to taste wines from every corner of the planet, not just Australian vintages.

Nick’s Bar and Grill will run cellar-door tours, accompanied by a sommelier on Thursdays.

Vessel Italian & Bar, King Street’s newest venue, will serve different regional Italian mains every day, matched to regional wines.

And Georges will be promoting Greek indigenous varietals like Boutari Agiorgitiko, a Cabernet from Peloponnese, and Alpha Estate’s Sauvignon Blanc from Florina.

“Alpha Estate was very well received by ‘International Wine Spectator’ magazine,” Vardis says. “Greek wine is really coming of age.”

For more information and bookings, visit

Sydney International Food SafariThe Sydney International Food Safari runs for two weeks from June 25.

Getting there

Drive: Reduced parking rates will be offered to festivalgoers at 1 Shelley St., across the road from King Street Wharf.

Bus: Sydney Buses operates routes 412 and 413 from George Street in the city to King Street Wharf.

Train: Get off at Wynyard Station and take the York Street Exit, then walk down Erskine Street to Darling Harbour.

Ferry: Sydney Ferries run regularly to Darling Harbour from Circular Quay.

Water taxi: Yellow Water Taxis dock at King Street Wharf.

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Ian Lloyd Neubauer is a Sydney-based freelance journalist specializing in adventure travel. He has reported extensively across East Asia and the South Pacific and is the author of two travel novels, Getafix (2004) and Maquis (2006), which is being turned into a feature film in consultation with Fox Studios.

Read more about Ian Lloyd Neubauer