Quaint, quiet and quirky – the postcard-worthy peninsula of Balmain feels a world away from the city, yet you’ll catch glimpses of it, and the harbour, as you meander the main thoroughfare of Darling Road. It’s a patchwork village of gorgeous sandstone cottages, quirky cafés and galleries, and specialty restaurants that are well worth exploring. (Nikki Wallman)
If you’re after a grab’n’go start to the day, they do fantastic coffee at The Little Marionette (1A Booth St). However, if you want a serious breakfast (and it’s the weekend) go for the famous Kazbah (379 Darling St) breakfast feast, a degustation tour of sweet and savoury Middle Eastern dishes.
Darling Street boasts a bunch of boutiques including Alfie’s Store (264 Darling St) for men’s, women’s, and kids’ clothing and sweet accessories from the likes of Paul Smith, Kate Sylvester, and Converse; duck egg BLUE (489 Darling St) for marshmallow-coloured J Brand denims and soft knits from Jac + Jak; and Leona Edmiston’s (483 Darling St) vintage boutique.
Grab a whimsical sweet treat from Adriano Zumbo’s original pâtisserie (296 Darling St, Balmain) – we like his ‘Eric is Bananaman’ cake, an orgasmic cacophony of choc banana mousse, lemon banana crème, flourless chocolate cake and more.
If it’s visual delights you’re after, browse the galleries and homewares stores – Breathing Colours (446 Darling St) hosts talented Australian artists and a retail space filled with gorgeous trinkets; while Quintessential duckeggBLUE (497 Darling St) is full of unique antique and industrial finds salvaged from Europe and the UK.
Drink time? Look out for The Lodge (3/415 Darling St), a new small, underground wine bar with a fern-draped mezzanine; or visit The Riverview Hotel (29 Birchgrove Rd) for a beer with the locals.
Move on to settle in at The Cottage (342 Darling St) – a cute sandstone dwelling with sunny front courtyard and cosy, colourful lounges upstairs – for drinks and tasty share plates like pancetta-wrapped haloumi with sweetly tangy fig confit. The cocktails could very well send you to heaven, should you be partial to a Peanut Buttercup Martini.