The highlight of my working week was meeting fetish icon (well I do run The Hellfire Club) and Cointreau ambassador Dita Von Teese at The Victoria Room. While Dita mixed her own favourite Cointreau cocktail to a barrage of camera-wielding journalists and food bloggers, I was most taken with Head Bartender Luke Hanzlicek’s tribute drink, Dita’s Fizz. It’s an infinitely quaffable blend of ruby red grapefruit, mint, rose water, soda and Cointreau. If hearing about this has given you a thirst for some Cointreau of your own, head to the Cointreau Fizz Lounge at the 2013 Taste of Sydney Festival which runs from Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th March.
The New Year is best seen in with great food. There’s heaps on offer, so here are a couple of events that caught my eye. After a ripper meal (review forthcoming) at Keystone’s latest - Sweethearts Rooftop BBQ – I’m betting their four-hour free flowing beverage party with BBQ canapés will be a hoot ($150/head). Kick on to the other new jewel in their crown, The Newtown Hotel, to recover (and break all your resolutions) for free. Or avoid the crowds completely with One Moncur’s Champagne, supper and fireworks on the screens for $50/head. If you must dive into the harbourside throng, consider an oyster pit stop at The Morrison Bar and Oyster Room.
The end of the year is so close I can practically taste it. I’m keeping my eye on the prize by booking in some summer fun. The pretty, heritage-listed Dunbar House is offering up three hot January nights (9th, 17th and 23rd) of summer dining. We’re talking two ($55) or three ($70) courses with choices like a carpaccio of jamon iberico with sherry roasted baby beetroot and buffalo mozzarella.
With identification scanning looking likely for neighbouring Kings Cross, it’s little wonder small bar Owl House tried out a prohibition theme last month! I popped in for dinner, and was delighted with my silver teapot bearing an Aviation Cocktail. It’s a devilishly light gin-based concoction that went down a treat against warm salad of quinoa, broad beans, zucchini flowers, Boston Bay mussels surrounded by a foamed mussel sauce.
With events season gearing up, if (like me) you decide whether you’ll attend events based on who is catering them, this year’s caterer to watch out for is Forte Catering. They recently won the national award for Best Caterer at an Event at the 2012 Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Awards.
All signs are pointing to some scorching summer days ahead, so right now I’m road-testing beverages to find my perfect summer drink. I’m pretty taken with the new Bulmers Ginger (RRP $6.50/500ml) – it’s got a hefty ginger bite, a hint of lemon, and goes down very easy over ice. It screams barbeque to me, particularly if you like Asian flavours on your barramundi. I’ve also been getting into the start of the seafood season accompanied by light, citrusy Cascade Blonde (RRP $15.99/6-pack); and I’ve even given Strongbow Summer Fruit Ciders (RRP $14.99/4-pack) a whirl. They’re fruity and fun – the Mango and Passionfruit was my favourite – and they're nothing like the Strongbow of old that might have you turning your nose up...
Just when I thought I was getting too old for music festivals, Big Day Out, goes and hires Porteno/Bodega boys Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz. They’re the ambassadors for Chow Town, a ‘Hawkers Market’ of pop-up mini-versions of Australia’s finest and most acclaimed restaurants.
Eat The Street
Local area festivals are my kind of events. For a relatively small amount of money, you can sample the wares of all the local restaurants in one place. Usually I earmark any standout restaurants for a return visit at a later date. The more multicultural the area, the more I like the event.