12 February 2015

20 years ago today - Glebe in the 1994 Cheap Eats in Sydney Guide

Look back at what was in the 1994 Cheap Eats Guide for Glebe, with only three restaurants hanging in there twenty years later.

Glebe and surrounds seems stagnant compared to 20 years ago. While there's a big development happening at the old Harold Park trots, the main strip hasn't seen a lot of renewal and there are a number of closed stores. The main changes have been closures of the wholesale health food store, Gladys and Albert Vintage clothes, Valhalla cinema,  Da Capo music store, Cornstalk Books and the post office. Vinnies has moved up the road and Gleebooks has halved it's original store size. The only constants seem to be the markets on every Saturday and the annual street fair.

John Newton gave a talk at the Glebe Society in 2010 reminiscing about the strip, he talks about many of the places on this list. You can listen to it here.

Some of the more interesting openings of recent years have been the small bars, but there hasn't really been a big shake up of the main road's eating options for a long time. There are only three places left on the original list of Glebe eateries published back in 1994 when the area was considered a main eat street.

The map has a few errors in where restaurants were located, so we corrected it to the right store where we could.

1. Rose Blue's - 23 Glebe Point Road
Now Almustafa Lebanese restaurant complete with Sultan's Lounge. Rose Blues was described as 'Modern Australian', which intriguingly includes focaccia and italian sausage, soup bowls of coffee and sticky date and pear pudding. I wonder how you would define it now?

2. Iku Wholefoods - 25a Glebe Point Road
Grabbing a paper bag of left over Iku patties, conveniently left on the front doorstep late at night, was a great treat for some penniless students like me in the late eighties. Still going strong with stores in other locations, it has survived food trends and fads.

Iku Wholefood on Urbanspoon

3. Tanjore - 34 Glebe Point Road
Briefly Spice Aroma Indian Restaurant and now a mix of record store and cafe, The Record Crate. Sit and drink a beer and remember the music of 1994 as well, that strange period of musical history where CDs were just taking over from vinyl.

Spice Aroma Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

4. Badde Manors - 37 Glebe Point Road

There are some photos of Badde Manors from 1986 in this Flickr gallery, as well as the long gone Demeter bakery on Mitchell Street. The outside of the cafe has just had a bright makeover. This is one vegetarian place where you never feel like you miss the meat, and sitting outside with a coffee is pole position on a sunny day.

Badde Manors on Urbanspoon

5. Niki - 91 Glebe Point Road
Looks like something new is afoot at this building which has been empty for a while. Has been a few different venues since Niki closed (Home Dot Cafe). Niki was a cafe known for it's 'Breathless Chocolate Speed Cake', sounds too good to be gone.

6. BJ's - 99 Glebe Point Road
Now Mexican bar and garage Cantina Movil. Was Athens Cafe and A'Mews briefly. A long time stalwart on Glebe Point Road and owned by Steve Stavro at the time of publication, this cafe offered homestyle cooking at cheap prices.

7. Glebe Garden Thai - 123 Glebe Point Road
This spot was briefly David Trees Asian Eatery which was very good, for the last few years it has been Tommy's Beer House. This Thai eatery was a round for many years, the leafy courtyard at the back made it a popular spot.

8. Kim-Van - 147 Glebe Point Road
Now Japanese/Korean Sushi Garden. One of the first Vietnamese restaurants to open in Sydney, Kim-Van appeared in the early 1980's. This place was later Asian King before it became a sushi joint.

9. Caffe Troppo - 175 Glebe Point Road

There are som inside shots of Cafe Troppo from the same Flickr gallery as Badde Manors. This Sun Herald article from 1995 describes the food and the upstairs rooms. Whatever happened to that Neighbours star? The spot was briefly Elizabeth's Cafe and is now Mori Japanese. Ahead of it's time for the 'insects as gourmet food' trend, it is mentioned in an article in the 1990 'Food Insects Newsletter' as having bugs on the menu.

10. Thai Intra - 207-209 Glebe Point Road (219 on map).
This was once part of a larger chain of Thai Intra's across Sydney in Darlinghurst, Neutral Bay (still open) and Bondi. A stalwart of the Glebe dining scene until just only a few years ago, it was replaced by the Guerilla Bar and now Alfie and Hetty.

11. Le Chocoreve - 219 Glebe Point Road
This was a favourite spot for a quick sweet fix of truffles, tortes and florentines for some time, now they can be found in Stanmore. A similar style cafe, La Petite Tart Cafe, is in the spot now.

12. Flavour of India - 142 Glebe Point Road
Now with the extra prefix Nawaz Flavour of India. This was one of the first Indian restaurants I ever went to, and the first time I ever paid for a 'proper' meal out with my own hard earned cash!

Nawaz Flavour of India on Urbanspoon

The map in the guide doesn't go any further that Bridge Road, the rest of Glebe Point Road must have been seen as a food wasteland in the 90's.

Thanks for the memories, Glebe. Map reproduced with permission of Universal Magazines.

See also our look back of Newtown Cheap Eats in 1994.


  1. further up the road, where ombretta is now, used to be La Tavolaccia

    funnily enough, the La Tavolaccia recipes feature heavily in the Women's Weekly Italian Cookbook of the mid-80s, well worth having a gander at if you want to reminisce about strayan italian of yesteryear, your skeetti bologonaysays and the like

    thanks for the article!!!! really enjoyed it

  2. wow had no idea that Iku's has been around for that long!


Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

Our ethics: We pay for all our own meals and travel (though sometimes Mum shouts us).