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