One of my greatest challenges when eating out is finding a place that serves reasonably-sized portions that won’t break the bank. The reason for this is simple: I am so used to eating smaller portions that anything on the larger size (think a classic pub meal) will result in me a) not finishing the meal or b) leaving the venue with a case of bloating.

During my many years of taking in Sydney’s food scene, I’ve gained an understanding of what my body can handle and, as a result, I now have a handful of places that I will return to time and time again.

Four Ate Five

Cafes, in general, are a safe bet when it comes to light meals. One of my favourites is the Crown St stalwart Four Ate Five, cleverly named for its street address number. My favourite orders are usually poached eggs or avocado on toast with a side. If I’m feeling peckish, I will usually go for the former. But, in most cases, the latter is sufficient to tide me over until dinner time. Drinks wise, I will go for a masala chai with soy milk. I find dairy milk a little too filling for my liking.

Sake (any of the venues)

If I feel like treating myself, Sake is my go to venue. What I love about Sake is that the dishes aren’t overly filling (which has been a problem when it comes to fine dining). When I dine there, a typical order will consist of:

  • 1 serve of nigiri sushi. This consists of 2 pieces and serves as the starter to my meal. My favourite topping is the saikou salmon.
  • Karaage chicken. Easily the best fried chicken in the city! This is the main I find myself going for every time I come to any of the Sake venues. Technically, it’s listed as a starter. But for someone who prefers lighter meals, it works perfectly as a main dish.
  • 1 glass of wine. My favourites are a dry red or a glass of bubbles.

Commodore Hotel

For a pub, Commodore Hotel’s serving sizes a a tad more reasonable than most. Having said that, my usual order (as of the writing of this post) is their Poke Bowl with Katsu Chicken and a glass of wine. Chicken schnitzels, while nostalgic and delicious, are too filling.

Three Williams

This was my post-Knitters Guild meeting lunch venue of choice during pre-COVID times. Three Williams differs from many of Sydney cafes in the sense that its menu features items that would be categorised as “unconventional breakfast/brunch fare”.

Similar to Four Ate Five, a typical order will involve poached eggs on toast with a side. But if the menu currently features a variation of avocado toast, that is what I will go for. (I am still waiting for the smashed peas on toast to return to the menu) To wash down my lunch, my usual drink will be either a glass of wine or masala chai brewed on soy milk.

The Grounds Of The City

The CBD answer to the original venue in Alexandria is my favourite place to have lunch after a morning of shopping. My usual orders will come from the Small Plates section of the menu, and ocassionally the Salads section. Even if I’m feeling ravenous, these smaller dishes are enough to quell the hunger pangs. As with Three Williams, wine is my go to drink here.

If there are any venues that I’ve left off this list (that you want everyone to know about), share them in the comments below. Remember to include any dishes you think people should try.

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