Category Archives: Darlinghurst

Food Society, Darlinghurst

The unfortunate and obvious downside of eating out frequently is that you end up spending quite a bit of money. This may be unnoticed at the time while you’re happily gobbling down your food, but at the end of the month, the budget feels undeniably… tight.

A few days ago I estimated a budget for eating out per month. Typically I’ll eat out 3 times a week – the weekend and probably once during the working week. Let’s say the weekend brunch is $20, followed by dinner $30, and add on another $20 for perhaps afternoon tea, dessert or whatnot. Multiply by 2 for the weekend and that’s $140. Then add on another $30 for weekday dinner and its $170 per week. Multiply by 4 weeks in the month and it comes to… let’s round it up – $700 per month.

Is that a lot? Certainly for some; maybe not for others.

Food Society
Food Society

We’re not exactly rich as kings (can’t afford a big pigeon pie like Joffrey…), so we somehow combine eating out with bargain hunting at times.

For example, just before Easter, we visited The Food Society, having pre-booked when they had advertised a 50% off deal:

Food Society

  • Website:
  • Address: 91 Riley Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010 (near corner of William Street and Riley St). Note, Google Maps shows it as being close to Oxford Street, but it is NOT.
  • Open: Tues – Sun (6pm onwards), vodka high tea (Sat and Sun 12 – 4.30pm)
  • Book: online via Dimmi
Back to colonial days
Back to colonial days

As you can see, The Food Society is a throwback to the colonial era with lots of vintage charm and warmth. Almost all the waiters are men, sporting cool bow ties.

We’d been keen to go to Food Society since walking past it on the way to Cafe Paci, one of our very first posts. And when the 50% off food offer came up, we were quick to jump on it and book!

The bar tables
The bar tables

Initially empty at 6.30pm, the place got super busy pretty quick!

A quick guide to cheap eats

1. Check out Eatability’s special offers.

The 50% off the food bill was advertised on Eatability’s special offers, which you can also see here. Some of the offers are always there, and some are only there for a limited time (like The Food Society offer). The permanent offers are often special sets or deals that the restaurant runs. This can be good way to find them, rather than looking at individual restaurant websites!

2. Book via Dimmi

The 50% off appears to have been originally the Dimmi deal. What is Dimmi? It’s a restaurant booking website, which advertises ‘flash’ 50% off food sales every week for different restaurants. We also use Dimmi a lot to book because you earn points by booking, reviewing and social media sharing. These points accumulate quickly and can be redeemed for a $50 voucher at a number of restaurants.

3. Eat on the quieter nights

Many restaurants also feature cheaper set menus for the quieter nights of the week. I quite like doing this because not only is it cheaper, but you still get to try what the restaurant has to offer, BUT you also get to enjoy the food and restaurant on a night when it’s not crammed full of people, shouting to hear each other across the dinner table. Just a few examples of places that have this: Bishop Sessa (Mon and Tues), Baroque (Tues)…

The menu
The menu

Okay back to The Food Society and the food! Essentially the food here is all sharing plates, with small and big shares.

Complimentary bread sticks and pickles
Complimentary bread sticks and pickles

We make our orders and get some free bread sticks and pickles. I didn’t eat any, which is probably good because the food was very filling…

Our signature fried cauliflower with paprika, parsley, watercress and reduced red wine vinegar (v) $12
Our signature fried cauliflower with paprika, parsley, watercress and reduced red wine vinegar (v) $12

This is their signature fried cauliflower. We had dinner with JL tonight and it was his favourite. It’s a good vegetarian option and a massive size for something that is a ‘small’ share.

Watermelon drink
Watermelon drink

Here is my watermelon drink – a bit too sweet for my liking, but the frozen watermelon popsicle was cool. The cocktails average $17 and non-alcoholic drinks are about $8.

Confit duck salad with shredded white cabbage, watercress, mint and char grilled peaches $26
Confit duck salad with shredded white cabbage, watercress, mint and char grilled peaches $26

If the ‘small’ cauliflower was any warning, this duck salad came out in a big bowl! There was a lot of duck in this too.

Warm lamb shoulder, braised spinach and rosemary yoghurt (gf) $25
Warm lamb shoulder, braised spinach and rosemary yoghurt (gf) $25

Another big tray of lamb shoulder – very flavoursome if you like the lamb taste. This was D2D’s favourite.

Unfortunately my favourite, the Crispy skin pork belly, shaved cabbage, fresh cherries, chervil and white vinegar (gf) $28, is missing  a photo! But it was very yummy and came on a big bed of cabbage (they really like cabbage here I think).

Despite the three of us struggling to finish the food, we still were keen to share this:

'Snickerdoodle sundae' - chocolate and walnut brownie, housemade salted peanut ice cream, dark chocolate mousse, butterscotch sauce and hazelnut praline $14
‘Snickerdoodle sundae’ – chocolate and walnut brownie, housemade salted peanut ice cream, dark chocolate mousse, butterscotch sauce and hazelnut praline $14

SNICKERDOODLE! I’m usually not a fan of sundae but this was really delicious and well, it had peanut butter ice cream – yum!

What we ordered was between “too much” and “about right” for the three of us, and with 50% off the food orders – came to about $30 per person, including the drinks.

What else is around:

  • Cafe Paci pop up restaurant is right next door
  • Check out the Australian Museum for new exhibitions
  • Enjoy the sun, trees and grass in Hyde Park

Food Society on Urbanspoon


hello cafe paci


95 riley street, east sydney 
around this block is a home to a number of trendy restaurants 
a portion of this area is up for demolition in 2014
including one pop up restaurant - cafe paci


no smoking


this vague menu looks interesting at first sight
however, it is actually really useless  
nevertheless, it is worth pointing out:
9 things on the menu for $85
each item only $9.45 each 


candles are necessary because this place is so dark 
and you know what they say, 
dark, dim restaurants give off a
romantic ambiance ‚ô•
darkness, coupled with grey tables 
grey walls and grey floors 
takes this romance and kills it


hello, snacks course 
a tasty bacon bite sized appetizer and
whole baby carrot vegetable plant (grass included)
can it be more balanced?


pancake burrito
part of snacks (part 2) 
I remember this one, 
soft and slightly warm,
less flavoursome than what its colours suggest 

 - bland


soft homemade butter 
dense bread
sweet overcoat
funky yeasty taste 
this is a special house baked bread, 

if only truffle butter...


this one comes on a large plate
butter bean (corn) with seafood pieces of calamari
surprisingly good combination

food was only placed on a small portion of the large plate
there was plenty of plate left for more of this...


my favorite, lamb meat
plated artistically 
with each bite,
the smoked capsicum and togarashi delvered a corn flake crunch


my least favorite (coincidentally tt's most favorite)

it's a leaf.


my other favourite, 
a western take on an asian street food
without the soup,
without the bean sprouts,
without the squatting 

interesting note - the noodle was made purely from
very finely chopped up potato


dessert time - licorice cake with soft carroty, yogurty foam


tastes like it looks -
this is melted banana (sauce) and 
malt chocolate lump and 
a parsley leaf


petite four (part 1)
rice cracker covered in chocolate
sprinkled with fennel


petite four (part 2)
yummy! fairy floss 
lots of butter

Cafe Paci on Urbanspoon