“The sauce is quite good,” I say, gesturing at the Burnt Cabbage ($18) with fish sauce butter. “It is. What do you think about Kiss,” my dining companion snarks, “it’s Chinese Ester, but at least Ester gives you the full half cauliflower.” The eclectic (and often inappropriate) music is not solely responsible for his mood.
Gone are the eccentric lamps and mismatched antiques that made The Victoria Room so endearing when it burst onto the Sydney bar scene around eight years ago. The new quartet of owners - The Lobo Plantation’s Michael Hwang and Eddie Levy, and The Island's Adam Abrams and Julian Tobias – have redone the spacious loft with an L.A. country club in mind.
"You're always welcome here, to do your shopping, it is safe, like any suburb of Sydney," our Egyptian guide Sahar says encouragingly. It’s hard not to cringe a bit when Sahar explains Greenacre “is a beautiful village, the people here try as hard as they can to undo the perceptions people have of them from the media.”
Chef Chun Man Lau (Rio) makes a powerful case for fusion at this new Surry Hills sushi train, using methods he honed endearing Yukiguni to Cabramatta’s diverse locals. "We have to use the local ingredients - local fish or local ingredients - to make something new," says Rio.
The holidays are almost upon us, and like many Australians, if you use your time off to eat, drink and be merry, you’ve likely been caught needing to visit a bottle shop whilst a little on the side of merry. Throw in NSW Police’s current MDT campaign (no it’s not a hip new drug, they mean Mobile Drug Testing) and you start to amass a powerful number of disincentives to driving under the influence of anything.
I’m surprised to find Braised Mushrooms Bibimbap ($24) on the menu at Walsh Bay Kitchen. With charred vegetables, pine nuts, brown rice and abundant slippery oyster mushrooms, it’s a bibimbap that warrants being eaten piecemeal, rather than mixed.
Lured by the promise of poolside Frozen Margaritas ($15) and High Tea ($45/person) I parked myself under one of the swishing hula-skirt umbrellas for the afternoon. It’s a very modern high tea rendition with the customary cucumber sangers switched out for sliders, Reuben sandwiches and grilled cheese toasties.
Yes, beer matching is a thing. Beer Bites [RRP $45] by Christian DeBenedetti and Andrea Slonecker is pitched at the home beer enthusiast, with plenty of beer consumption tips. Trust me when I say: you won’t ask for a pub-chilled schooner glass after reading this book.
Lit up cherry blossom trees and vibrant washes of colour turned the 100-year old Woolloomooloo Wharf into a magical fairyland for the launch party of Ovolo Woolloomooloo last week. Alongside celebrity guests like Marcia and Deni Hines, and Jessica Mauboy, I wove my way through the clever interiors that have transformed the cavernous warehouse style-space into something surprisingly intimate, all without losing sight of those soaring ceiling heights.
More than just a menu change, this year Chef Gallery have changed their logo, livery and launched a unique art initiative showcasing Chinese (or Chinese-inspired) art, curated by Simon Chan. Responsible for the gleaming red chair, artist Laurens Tan explained that China is “the nation or the culture that underwent the most change in the last two decades.”