EAT & DRINK
Taste of Shanghai
The empire has landed in World Square, giving shoppers a step up from the usual food court fare. Here you can have a bottle of wine - the T'Gallant Juliet Pinot Grigio ($36/bottle, $7.50/glass) goes down swimmingly - and gorge on dumplings all day and night.
Food News – Xmas Books
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.
Bar Fly – Gin Garden
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.
Food News – Ovolo Woolloomooloo
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.”
Descending the stairs of the CBD’s go-to French bistro Le Pub, this seemingly trendy, tardis-like, Parisian-style establishment opens up to reveal an odd mix of the after work drinks’ crowd, family diners, and girls’ night victims. Nonetheless, the tastefully decorated venue is quite comfortable, albeit a little raucous on the evening I dined.
Newtown Sushi Train
The words ‘sushi train’ don’t always fill me with the greatest of confidence. Too often I’ve been burned with boring, lack-lustre offerings. The first clue that this Newtown stalwart (opened in 2004) is different, is a glass cabinet featuring beautiful batons of sashimi-grade fish.
Food News – Korean Banquet
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.
Bar Fly: Woolpack Hotel
My approach to cooking steak usually involves buying whatever's on special, overcooking it until it resembles old carpet, and then failing to rescue the taste by drowning it in tomato sauce. Since discovering this cool Redfern gastropub, my approach has changed... now I leave it to the professionals at The Woolpack to fulfil my meat cravings with a grilled slab of what I'm convinced is Sydney's best steak.
Tantalising glimpses of working chefs through a George Street window box; a well-dressed hostess highlighting the way into the basement off Angel Place… restaurateur Sam Prince sure knows how to generate excitement and intrigue. Switching out guacamole for Tableside Coconut Sambol ($14) and milk buns, Prince harnesses what he did for Mexican at Méjico to give South Indian a much-needed face-lift.