31 December 2019

Gone but not forgotten 2019 - a sad goodbye to some old favourites

Our annual goodbye to places closed and some we will truly madly and deeply miss.

This year has been an interesting one for our usual haunts around Chinatown and our local Newtown neighbourhood. The impact of the brand spanking new Darling Square creates a challenge to the older Chinatown area, offering a sparkly new space to eat. The strip along King St moves and grooves along with changing trends, with higher end moving in to the upper King and vegan land in SoKi.

We are most saddened this year with three closures - Ching Yip Coffee Lounge closes on 31 Dec, Fajar Chinese Indonesian in Kingsford closed mid year and Ashfield Cafe recently turned into a hot pot restaurant. The loss of these old style places weighs heavily on us, they are getting rarer as Sydney moves along developing, churning and renovating. Folks retire and their families might have no interest in carrying on the business, its just how it goes. 

As always, doing this list every year is a reminder to appreciate what you have, get back and see old favourites and to remember to not be too distracted by the new and shiny trends dangled in front of you. Our early tip for next year will be the yoghurt x purple rice franchises and hot pot restaurants that have popped up lately will be mostly closed by the end of 2020.

So, starting from the centre of our food universe...


Starting at the top of Haymarket in the wonderfully named Bijou Lane, Kusuka Cafe closed (still have their store on Sussex St) and Krispy Roll is now Gao Kitchen. Krispy Roll have a new store underneath Town Hall. Koh Samet under Subway on George St closed and El Pinoy Grill food truck and EasyWay Tea in Paddy’s Markets closed. The build of the new light rail claimed some scalps on George St, namely Petaling Street, Subway, Jaipur Sweets and Tom Tom Cafe. The Coco bubble tea franchise saw their stores on George and Goulburn Sts either under renovation or closed. Along Ultimo Rd Chinatown BBQ Kitchen and Noodle Pot have been replaced by a malatang and a spicy spot and upstairs on Ultimo Chaao Thai Siam closed in the early part of the year. Around the corner Spring Yunnan closed.

On Sussex St H Tea is now Dodo Soufflé and the Shun Fai Modern Ave Co all things Chinese shop closed. This store closing really signifies a shift in the changing nature of Chinatown, the end of a store that supplied all sorts of cultural goods to the Chinese community.

Dixon St is just hanging in there but the sale of major buidlings along the Market City end has created a quieter scene, the one bright spark the redeveloped East Ocean restaurant and arcade. Lady Iron Chef, the invite only and briefly famous in the NSW Labor Party scandal Master Ken's Seafood Restaurant, Chong Qing Chinese Restaurant and Yin Li Sichuan Restaurant. Around on Harbour St The Dessert Kitchen shaved one last ice and Wagaya became Borgna.

Along the paved walking top end of Dixon St we saw closed Crazy Wings, the glorious Beijing Style Taste of Beijing, N2 Extreme Gelato and Chongqing Ji Gong Bao. Close by on Goulburn St Jiangnan Kitchen closed and moved to the old Papa Rich site on Liverpool St and the Pablo Baked Cheese Tarts franchise closed. In Thainatown Cheng Kitchen closed and is now Krua Thai, we will miss their nam ngiao.

In the food courts, the slow decline of Dixon House brings us great sadness. It was when Sizzling Hot Pot and Kitchen and the bar closed up we knew the jig was up. Through the year Penang Hawker Street Food and Big Red Pot opened and quickly closed again.

Eating World had a couple of closures, it's not looking too healthy there either with closed up stalls.  Liu Lao Lao Burger closed up and is now a Taiwanese place, and Tiger Cave closed and has reopened as a mix'n'match slashie Thai / burgers / noodles. Chi Fong closed and briefly resurfaced as another Vietnamese but this has also closed.

In the Sussex Centre Food Court it was a bad year for the Japanese joints with Ramen Ikkyu closed then Ichizen Ramen briefly opened and is now a Japanese curry specialist. The tiny Ajisai Japanese stall also closed.

In the CBD the mass of closures from the new Metro Line has settled down. Mizuya pumped out its last soft serve, Pak Eats in Foodbase Park St closed. Over in Hunter Connection Mr Rice Noodle Bar closed, we really need to spend more time in this food court there's a couple of good places we haven't been to.

In East Central Juicy Lucy became Royal Chook and is now closed. Destination Roll on Wentworth St closed.

Heading down Broadway, in Chippendale Coco Cubano in Central Park closed, and in Ultimo Oporto Chicken closed, One Rice One Noodles became Chuan Town and Papa Rich closed and moved to the new UTS food court. Fast Pho has become Sapa Modern Vietnamese.

Up Glebe Point Rd there were a number of changes. No 7 BBQ House, Fundamental Food Flammin, Subway, Mr Falconers and the Golden Grapes Vegan Cafe all closed. Yuga Cafe and Florist on St John's Road closed.

Heading down King St we take the closures from the top: Kurachee is now the very good Xei Bay Noodle House, Vegans Choice next door to Green Gourmet, Holy Pho is now Hanoi on King, Halong Vietnamese is gone, Rice Paper Vietnamese is now Cafe Paci. Around the corner on Missenden Rd Old Town Middle Eastern closed and further down Cafe Missi closed as well. Instanbul on King closed with a major building renovation underway. Fruit @ King St, the last remaining independent fruit store in Newtown closed its roller shutter.

Closed are Sherpa Kitchen, Twelve, Stochastic Tea, Cooked on King is now Aziz Shawarma, Boost Juice, Pizza Pasta Please now Alba, the poke joint behind the post office, Grumpy Baker and the fine diner Oscillate Wildly. Varga Bar Espresso, Kerasma Souvlaki Merchants, Thai Chanok bakery became Boonchu, White Angel Cafe is now Indian Butter Chicken House (busting the 'Vegan Mile'), Greek Mission Bakery is now Suzy Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher and Mekong Fusion is now Vegan Mile. Cafe 2042 and Lou Jacks closed. Solo Indonesian is now Fast Fusion Hub, Falafel on King is now Hot Box, Nefeli Greek Restaurant is now Grandma’s Kitchen Indian Cuisine.

Over on Enmore Rd Bon Appetite Malaysian is now a Curry and Burger joint, long lived restaurant Banks Thai is now Chinese Dumpling Master second store, Macaroni is now Colorful Bun but we think that has closed as well. At Lat Dior the landlord has taken possession. Mr Roboto is a new bar called Fortunate Son, the hat themed cafe Lidz closed and 3 Mangoes Thai is now Vibarium. The Enmore Newsagency also closed, another example of small business change.

We are getting close to the end now folks, hang in there!

In Marrickville the Whole Food Deli, Cafe 249 and Burrow Cafe closed. Cornersmith in Marrickville closed up, with their picklery still going up the road. In Wolli Creek Sydney Best Tastes has become Hot Pot and BBQ House. In Leichhardt Damda Modern Korean is now The Twisted Indian.

In the mystical far east, both us and our postman were sad when we saw Kingsford Chinese closed but we were really sad when Fajar Chinese Indonesian closed a week or so after we last visited.

Up Oxford St in Darlinghurst we were very sad to see Singapura Eating House close. It had moved from the Oxford shopping centre and served a mean chicken rice to the gym junkies. The awesomely named Twinko Cafe under the Connaught and Oxford Sweet Mix also closed. Up in Paddington Max Brenner closed after the chain ran into difficulty. In Potts Point Billy Kwong and the 45 year old French restaurant Mere Catherine closed. Along the beaches in Clovelly the Hungarian Sweet Kiss Cake Shop closed.

Our sources on closures are limited out west and north, any notable closures let us know in the comments below. The only Parramatta closure we know of is Burger Project. In the north, in Neutral Bay Cafe de Social and the Japanese Cafe Porco closed. Up in Chatswood Hurricanes Grill closed.

In fine(er) diners there was ACME, Billy Kwong, The Bridge Room, Longrain, Sotto Sopra, est and LP Quality Meats.

Lastly, people we will miss in food and music and elsewhere: Roky Erikson, Bob Hawke, Dr John, Margaret Fulton, Doris Goddard (owner of the Hollywood Hotel), Damien Lovelock, Ric Ocasek, Clive James, Martin Arminger and Greedy Smith.

Thanks to everyone who has fed us and read us in 2019.


  1. So many closures! I live near King St and the turnover is just crazy. sad to see the old school places go as well since they have such nostalgia and no nonsense good food :(

  2. Oh boy. That was sad. One bit of good news - Noodle Pot have opened another place called Nanjing Dumpling. On Hay Street I think.

    1. Oh boy thanks for the tip, I'll be there with bells.

    2. Lemme know if you want a date! If you do though, don't reply here, cause I may never see it.

  3. The closure of Mr Rice Noodle Bar really hit me (and my lunchtime meals) BUT it was brightened by the opening of Peninsula Canteen which is EXCELLENT and super authentic HK food. What a sad ride of a post :(

  4. Thanks for the tip on Peninsula Canteen, great menu, I'll be there baby.

  5. Fajar closing was biggest sad news last year for me.

  6. I was sad to see Blue Elephant (Sri Lankan) go in Pennant Hills. Finished either 2019 or late 2018. Had my first child and didn't get a chance to go in 2019 😭

    If you get a chance go to Dosa Hut in Waitara - imo best South Indian run by the nicest lady ever.


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).