While much ado has already been made about this new Crown Street entry being owned by a (multinational) steakhouse chain, I’ve already been back three times. Rather than bemoaning the expensive fittings, get stuck into a chewy Neapolitan style pizza from the dome shaped oven, while watching the pizzaiolo work.
The Ivanhoe Hotel
With alcohol-fuelled violence plaguing Manly, this pub took a clever way out. It started with a total renovation by Paul Kelly, the man responsible for The Bourbon and The Oaks. The resulting airy, modern hotel has a whitewashed and gently weathered Hamptons feel, with multiple spaces to enjoy, including The Pines, a nautical level fitted out by another big name - Sibella Court.
It’s the original small bar in town, and unlike its inner-city counterparts, this one isn’t hidden away. Mrs Sippy spills out into Bay Street for ample opportunity of being seen. Très Double Bay. Aptly, we commence with cocktails; mine combining watermelon, mint, vodka, pinot noir and my favourite fairytale – the Red Riding Hood ($18) is big and bad (in the best possible way).
Just before Xmas I took in the Moss Vale Farmers’ and Flea Market in the spacious surrounds of Moss Vale Showground in the Southern Highlands. It’s a not-for-profit market, with a focus on producers and growers from the local district. My favourite stall had to be Beefalicious who raise Ausline and Lowline cattle in neighbouring Suttons Forest. Their beef is grass-fed, tender, fine-grained and juicy; and they make a mean snag-on-a-stick too – the wild mushroom and garlic were a particular favourite. You’ll also find Pepe Saya’s excellent butter and a range of local truffle products at their stall. Other market must-haves include
HAPPY DAYS: the switch on the neon has been flicked. Enter: red and white checked table cloths, clear plastic table covers, framed old photos lining the walls, trailing plastic ivy. The brand new basement bar is a retro world of old Sydney Italian. Pizza by the slice is five bucks, but this spot is so much more than the pizza implied by its name.
Forget Paul Hogan, it’s the southern states of the US that know their BBQ. Pizza Capers have taken this on board with their Bourbon Chicken and Bacon Pizza ($15.95/regular) encapsulating the smoky BBQ flavours of classic American street food. They also throw some Tassie blue cheese on for good measure and load it up with sizzling bacon.