EAT & DRINK
Kansas City Shuffle
Down the business end of The Rocks you’ll find a hole in the wall café that looks like it has been plucked straight from Surry Hills. Outside you can order from the ‘Little City Window’, from stuff like P. B. & J. Toasted Sandwiches ($7.50) and House-made Doughnuts ($4.50) but it’s worth getting cosy inside on the recycled oak furniture.
Entering Sydney's latest fine dining hotspot made me feel more like James Bond than a food writer. Buzzing through the entrance, we're ushered through a passageway of the fully restored yet still antiquated Old Clare Hotel, and placed in an elevator bound for the floors above.
Bar Fly: Zanzibar
veryone knows that getting drunk during the day is one of the best things about summer, and Zanzibar's recently relaunched rooftop bar provides the ideal setting for daytime drinking. While the 1950s backyard Australia-styled rooftop is the star of the show, Zanzibar is essentially three bars in one.
Our understated country waitress is effortlessly beautiful. She gestures casually out one window to show where the 2014 Logan Sauvignon Blanc ($12/glass) comes from, then the other to indicate the origins of the Pressed Duck ($36) with lentils and heirloom carrots.
Diving into an established all-male Italian kitchen as the new head chef could be daunting (especially as a half-English, half-Welsh woman) but Naomi Lowry has taken it in her stride. She’s maintained the menu’s confident Southern Italian focus, notching it up with Sardinian Fregola ($27/$35) resplendent with perfectly cooked cuttlefish, calamari, prawns and mussels, and topped with a generous helping of bottarga.
La Puerta Latino Flavours
Taking someone who has just arrived back from Peru to a South American restaurant is a double-edged sword. They’re full of helpful advice, but they’re also a little, well, full of it. Luckily La Puerta’s Colombian owner Catherine Espinosa was there to step in: “We’ve taken our favourite dishes from the whole of South America and adapted them to the Australian palate.”
Bar Fly: Blu Bar
As the lift zoomed up to Level 36 of the swanky Shangri-la and I set foot into the New York-inspired Blu Bar, I was greeted by the image of the man who designed the 2014 official Oscars cocktail giving a fellow bartender a bollocking over a mishap with a whipped cream canister.