Best food and drink in Sydney, London, Tokyo and Milan | Monocle

thumbnail text

Trattoria del Ciumbia

Located on a narrow street in Brera, Trattoria del Ciumbia is old Milan and new Milan combined. Its red lacquer drop ceiling, white tablecloths and weighty crockery nod to the quarter’s bohemian osterie of the 1960s and 1970s – there’s even a hint of disco. But look again and you’ll see that this is also a thoroughly contemporary spot – and one bearing the signature of Milanese interior maestros Dimorestudio. The tiled floor is a modern interpretation, as are the low-backed chairs and neon lights near the entrance, made by the design team’s furnishing label, Dimoremilano. 

The tight menu follows the same new-meets-old ethos. Executive chef Paolo Rollini dubs it “Lombard cuisine revisited”. You’ll find all the classics here – including cotoletta (thick breaded veal cutlet) and ossobuco (veal shanks) – but dishes are never overbearing. Instead, they’re somehow always delicate, the neat Russian salad being a case in point.


“The idea is that you rediscover typical products that you don’t find any more,” Rollini tells Monocle. Keep an eye out for the delicious risotto dish from Monza featuring luganega sausage, as well as a rice-and-vanilla pudding that has been turned into a slice of cake and is served with a dollop of saffron cream. Ready to party on? Grab a cocktail and head to the intimate dancing room downstairs, where DJs play most nights.

Flatbread with chorizo and broccoli


If you find the idea of making pizza dough daunting, try these flatbreads, which offer a simple alternative way to achieve the same signature crispy texture. May we suggest topping yours with chunks of chorizo and tenderstem broccoli?

Serves 2


250g jar of passata
2½ tbsps olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
¼ tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp anchovy paste
125g tenderstem broccoli
2 flatbreads
150g fresh mozzarella, torn
100g cooking chorizo, skin removed, crumbled into pieces


1. Preheat oven to 200C.
2. Place 1½ tbsps of olive oil, garlic, chilli flakes and anchovy paste in a small pan. Cook over medium-low heat until garlic turns golden. Add passata and cook for another 15 minutes, allowing sauce to thicken a little.
3. In a medium-sized pan, bring water to a boil and add salt. Cook broccoli for 1-2 minutes until it’s bright green but still has bite. Drain.
4. Divide sauce between the flatbreads and spread up to 1cm from the edges. Arrange mozzarella, cooked broccoli and crumbled chorizo on top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
5. Bake flatbreads in the oven for 13-15 minutes until the sausage browns and the cheese melts. Serve warm.

The Caterpillar Club

Since the end of Sydney’s infamous lockout laws, a small group of dedicated hospitality operators have fought to restore the town’s former reputation for excellence in late-night drinking, dining and all-around fun. Much of the hard work has been done by Swillhouse, the collective behind some of Sydney’s finest bars and restaurants.

The Caterpillar Club might just be Swillhouse’s most audacious accomplishment yet. This multifarious and adaptable subterranean space can on any given night feel like it’s Sydney’s absolute best bar, restaurant and dance floor – sometimes all at once. And thanks to its daily opening hours, late closure times (an unfortunate rarity in Sydney) and astonishing private record collection, this is also one of the most dependable good times you can have in the centre of town.



“We wanted to create a place where guests can come in the pursuit of the best in life: food, art, love,” says Bobe’s founder and chef, Bo Bech, whose menu blends Nordic fare with global flavours. “The space is meant to spark conversation,” he adds. Dishes of greens, fish and meat done well (not well-done) only add to the allure. 

Copenhagen-based studio Atelier Axo supplied bespoke furnishings that contribute to the venue’s warmth and sense of intimacy, with integrated seating and wooden features.

Wasted Wine Club


The Wasted Wine Club began as a solution to a little-known issue: winemakers sometimes dump finished wine because it’s not worth bottling and selling it. Angelo van Dyk, a South African winemaker living in London, has been selling surplus wine under the Wasted label since 2021. Part of the brand’s charm is its playfulness, which comes via designer Andrew Wren and illustrator Ty Williams. The first two Wasted collaborations have come courtesy of South African producers Alex McFarlane and Angus Paul, respectively – the latter’s wines balance each other out, with a light, fruity pinotage and its syrah counterpart. The next, however, will stray further from Van Dyk’s roots, with the forthcoming 2024 release from Sonoma-based winemakers Jenny and Scott Schultz.


Freshly baked goods are at the heart of Parklet, an all-day bakery and café nestled in Nihonbashi-Kobunacho, near the Horidome Children’s Park. Full-height windows overlook an adjacent play area, while families and friends gather around communal tables during the day, contributing to the lively atmosphere. Prepared in-house, the sourdough bread is a highlight, while the rosemary scones and pastries go well with the single-origin brews roasted by Overview Coffee. Looking for take-home treats? The pantry is lined with granola, condiments and seasonings, while merchandise draws on Parklet’s roster of lovably doughy characters. It’s fun (and buns) for all the family. Watch this space for evening events too.


Share on:






Go back: Contents


sign in to monocle

new to monocle?

Subscriptions start from £120.

Subscribe now





Monocle Radio


  • The Entrepreneurs