"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.”
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.
Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art has rolled out the Astroturf, popped the pink umbrellas and created a truly whimsical fairy-lit pop-up leafy oasis called the Gin Garden, that had me feeling like I'd time travelled and gatecrashed a 1950s backyard tea party.
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.”
Alongside the Consul-General of Korea, Whie Jin Le, and a host of chefs and food media personalities from Danny Russo to Lyndey Milan, I attended the Korean Cultural Centre for a fabulous multi-course Korean Banquet Showcase. We were treated to an array of dishes, including seasonal hwe (Korean-style sashimi) of abalone, salmon, kingfish and cuttlefish, and Korean pancakes (jun) with flavourings like zucchini, mung beans and oysters.
When I want to drink Japanese whisky I head to Tokyo Bird. And this Surry Hills small bar is making it hard not to want to drink whisky on Tuesday 22 December with their inaugural Christmas Whisky Dinner ($135/person).
Nutritionist and cattle farmer, James Bjorksten, is producing some of the best grass-fed beef I’ve eaten under the name of Hereford Red Beef. The cream coloured fat is simply magnificent, leading to a super-tasty steak that literally melts in your mouth.
The rugged slate of canvas that is Cockatoo Island has an energy that's unique to such an iconic piece of Sydney history. Mixing industry with creativity, the island has been home to convicts and shipbuilders alike, but these days it's a space for artists, day-trippers and urban campers.
The Powder Keg has so far been my favourite bar of the last twelve months, mostly for the cooking of Elijah Holland. His foraging for edible flowers and beach plants even prompted René Redzepi to meet with him on his recent trip to Australia.