Some restaurants manage to slide effortlessly into the fabric of the Sydney dining scene, simply by encapsulating the type of food we want to be eating right now. One Ford Street, tucked in behind the Cricketers Arms, is one such restaurant, serving up fresh and unfussy, modern Italian food.
“It’s like meat butter,” my dining companion exclaims, gesturing with half a two-bite Cannolo alla Mortadella ($4/each) in her hand. It’s crude, but apt: the balsamic cannoli come rolled in pistachio and filled with imported Italian mortadella that has been fashioned into pâté.
Last week I took some time out of my busy weekend to check out the much-lauded ACME. And yes, while the Macaroni, Pig’s Head, Egg Yolk ($18) is undeniably delicious, you might be left wondering: where’s the rest of it?
La Scala is very old meets new. While we wait for a table, somebody’s ‘Nonna’ arrives with a basket of heirloom tomatoes and is greeted by a handsome young waiter in a denim apron.
Some people have pubs in their blood; fourth generation hotelier Kim Maloney is a prime example. The first pub he bought was the Student Prince, which has morphed into Sydney’s most glamorous bordello: Stiletto.
Wine is stored everywhere in this narrow Paddington terrace – on walls, under banquettes, and above on exposed wooden beams. Having a 209-strong wine list in a tiny wine bar/restaurant might have disadvantages, but as a leather-apron clad cutie leans over me apologizing because “the wines are not in any order”, I’m not feeling them. Besides, the chalkboard by-the-glass list is so interesting, you can get drunk before you get bored!
As a feminist, I am keen to see women aiming for high-level jobs, including those in professional kitchens, so I was disappointed to miss the launch of this year’s Tasting Success, a mentoring program for female apprentice chefs. The program’s co-founder and patron, Lyndey Milan, enjoys watching “the transformation and growth in confidence in our girls between their first interview and graduation”. The nine women involved in this years program will each receive 35 hours of mentoring by some of Sydney’s top chefs, including Sean Moran (Sean’s Panorama) and Peter Gilmore (Quay).
Ensconced near the windows, I’m barely able to suppress my grin as two Darlo designer-hipsters enter. With sharply cropped hair, asymmetric black clothing and post-Birkenstock footwear technology, they could have been lifted directly from Unhappy Hipsters. Their aesthetic is perfect for Mauro Marcucci’s new café-come-restaurant, a minimalist Mecca of smooth concrete, shiny metal and exposed soundproofing.
I landed at this slickly fitted out new Crown Street entry straight on the back of a trip to Orange, where Union Bank Wine Bar’s duck and porcini lasagne had me enthralled. So I was understandably hesitant to try this spot’s version of the same dish, Lasagna D’Anatra ($28), lest it fail to reach those lofty heights.
Dreary weather and a home game makes the surfside suburb of Cronulla into a ghost town. Not that I’m complaining as I cosy up to a gloriously Autumnal bowl of Fettuccine, Pine Mushrooms, Smoked Quail and Almonds ($28). When you add a glass or two of toasty oak in the form of a 2009 Lethbridge Chardonnay ($16/glass), I’m sorely tempted to kick off my shoes, curl up by a fireplace and purr like a kitten.