Grab your picnic blankets and bag your favourite fig tree, because the James Street Food and Wine Trail is back – and for the first time, a section of the promenade is being closed off on the Sunday, transforming it into an urban picnic ground.
Now in its fifth year, the two-day event will present a variety of food experiences and entertainment, from tastings and chef demonstrations to live music and an interactive camp for kids.
Scrumptious Reads bookstore owner Julie Tjiandra says the Trail works so well because of the community of local businesses that take part. This year she herself is teaming up with co-tenant Sinmei Cheung of Sinmei Tea Room to offer Hong Kong-style street food alongside the usual selection of cakes and sandwiches, tea rice and vegetarian bibimbap. “It will be quite different because we’ve never had anything like what she’s doing before,” Tijandra says. “Good Asian street food – we should do more of it on James Street.”
We asked for Tjiandra for her edit of what else to see, do and eat at this year’s event. Here are her picks.
ILVE Pop-Up Kitchen
“This is a really casual affair on Sunday in Harveys’ car park. Chefs from Jocelyn’s Provisions, Bucci and Taya Meeikeaw from Taya Kitchen Culinary School are all presenting. Scrumptious Reads is kicking off some [Thai cooking] classes with Taya in August, so it will be an introduction for her to the precinct. There’s a nice variety of cuisines that people can try or watch being prepared by different chefs.”
OzHarvest Gourmet Sausage Sizzle
“This is just a really straightforward gourmet sausage sizzle, but OzHarvest is a great charity for us to support. They’re all about cutting down on food waste and helping out the homeless. The sausages are going to be created by Gerard’s Bistro, Chow House, Bucci and The Standard Market Co.”
James Street Urban Picnic
“This year on the Sunday they’re closing off part of James Street for the first time. So all of the restaurants and food businesses will be out on the street. Not having to worry about traffic and actually being able to sit down under the fig trees and enjoy some food in the picnic area is going to be something completely different. It’ll be a great way to spend a Sunday.”
“Danielle Dixon and Josie Wyatt from Bucci are doing a cannoli stand outside the restaurant. Holy Cannoli’s is simply about cannoli in fantastic different flavours, all made by Bucci. They’re also doing Meatball Madness, with Bucci’s chef Shaun Malone creating traditional Italian meatballs for the James Street Urban Picnic. You can probably forget your diet for a day.”
“You’ve got Bucci, Chow House, Cru Bar, Gerard’s Bar, Gerard’s Bistro, Harveys, At Sixes and Sevens, King Arthur and Tinderbox all involved in the Signature Series, creating special pairings of food and drink especially for the Trail. Bucci is matching Franciacorta [an Italian sparkling wine] with freshly shucked oysters, and Gerard’s is serving charcuterie with a glass of Tempranillo.”