Before we give in to summer holidays and slow down a little, we thought it to be a good time to revisit some of the highlights of 2013. It’s electric to see all that has occurred since this time last year. We’ve achieved a lot, seen a lot, eaten some fantastic food and immersed ourselves in this city, which seems to be changing and evolving every single day.
We've rounded up some of the most significant openings, places, people and events that we've covered this year on Broadsheet and that have had a big impact on us and Sydney as a whole. Most importantly, these are the things that you have enjoyed the most - the cafes and bars you’ve lined up for, the explosive food and fashion trends we’ve spotted and the festivals, exhibitions, gigs and people we’ve chatted to along the way that make this city what it is at its core. Here's to an incredible 2014.
If there’s one single thing we can point our finger at to blame Sydney’s hangovers on, it’s without a doubt the frozen margaritas at Frankie’s Pizza, the boisterous offering from those who brought us Shady Pines Saloon. With pizza and craft beer out the front and rock ’n’ roll till very, very late out the back, this bar has struck a match to the CBD’s nightlife scene, and we’re not complaining one bit.
Rockpool's New Locale on Bridge Street
Neil Perry's fine-dining stalwart, Rockpool, moved down the road into fresh new digs this year, and reopened with a bang. The menu has been loosened up a little by head chef Phil Wood, though none of the glamour has been lost in the process. Fine dining, it seems, is here to stay.
Paramount Coffee Project
Sydneysiders love Reuben Hills. It’s boasted about to friends from Melbourne (those coffee nerds!) on a regular basis, and the lines snaking around the corner each weekend are testament to that fierce loyalty. So when Reuben Hills’ Russell Beard and Seven Seeds Coffee’s Mark Dundon banded together to open PCP, the people were ready and willing to jump on board. One section of the re-imagining of the Paramount Building in Surry Hills, which incorporates Golden Age Cinema & Bar and Tokyo Bike’s new store, PCP has us sitting in for waffles with a fried egg, bacon and pico de gallo and their finest brews, roasted by local roasters.
A corner of the old-school French Riviera in Circular Quay, there’s something about Café Nice that we just can’t shake. Owned and operated by Barry McDonald of the Fratelli Fresh team, this mid-year opening was so significant because of the stark contrast it presented to what the Fratelli team have done before – which has been up until now solely Italian. Though, that being said, with a crab omelette topped with foie gras butter in front of us, all thoughts of Italy are tossed out the window into the harbour below.
The Stables Co-Op
Gracing the cover of our newly released summer print issue in 2013, fashion distribution company We Are The Stables have made huge strides in the retail stakes this year, with their success culminating in the opening of their concept store on Bourke Street in November. The space incorporates a retail space, cafe, London Talent Management and a rooftop restaurant and bar to be opened shortly. Does this mark a new dawn for bricks and mortar retail? We think it might.
Ester Restaurant & Bar
What? A wood-fired oven with no pizza in sight? Chippendale’s Ester Restaurant & Bar, opened by chef Mat Lindsay, was a huge tick for the area and for Sydney. Head chef Nic Wong is cooking lamb shoulders, chicken with charred lemon and garlic, seafood and a whole raft of delicious things in this fiery beast, and we can’t stop going back for more.
Earl’s Juke Joint
These days it seems that anything out of the camp of Shady Pines alumnus is an instant hit, and Earl’s Juke Joint, opened in an old butcher’s shop on King Street in Newtown, is no exception to that rule. Opening in the latter half of this year, the long-reaching bar, affordable drinks and New Orleans influence have struck a chord with both the inner-west crowd and the rest of town.
EVENTS AND EXHIBITIONS
Sydney Contemporary Art Fair
This year has been huge for Sydney’s contemporary art scene, and this fact was no more prominent than at the much anticipated Sydney Contemporary, Sydney’s first ever art fair held at Carriageworks. The fair signalled a city on the brink of becoming an international art force, especially in the field of contemporary art. Since its huge debut, Sydney Contemporary will now return every two years, in tandem with the Melbourne Art Fair. Didn’t make it? Here’s our gallery.
Underbelly Arts Festival
Down the weird and wonderful end of the arts spectrum, the offbeat Underbelly Arts festival which incorporated the performance, digital and installation work of 100 artists, was a riot this year, setting up shop on Cockatoo Island for a weekend. The festival's various installations covered various themes, such as surveillance and intimacy and even some of the darker history of the island itself.
13 Rooms by Kaldor Public Arts Projects
The ever electrifying Kaldor Public Arts Projects delivered an incredibly intimate piece, 13 Rooms, over 11 days in April, in which white rooms served as canvases for performances pieces shaped by individual artists. Visitors were intrigued, some were bemused, almost all were curious and the piece cemented KPAP’s ability to engage and draw an audience in from the second they step into the space, until the moment they walk out the door.
Yoko Ono’s War is Over! (if you want it) at the MCA
Just having recently opened, the MCA’s survey of the work of artist and activist Yoko Ono, curated by Rachel Kent, has already proved to be one of the year’s artistic highlights, and is proof that the relationship between art and activism is as poignant as ever. Displaying eight participatory works each involving the viewer, Wish Tree for Sydney is one of the most touching, inviting viewers to record their deepest wishes and display them on the native tree.
Anish Kapoor at the MCA
Who could forget the Instagram frenzy that was Anish Kapoor’s visceral, arresting exhibition at the MCA early in the year? As you moved closer to each work, they appeared to change and morph, showing a slow unfurling of perception and space. The exhibition was powerful and piercingly engaging, especially for the younger Sydney audience, proving themselves as a bold new appreciative market of contemporary art.
Rootstock Artisan Wine Festival
The one-day sustainable, artisan wine and food festival was one hot and dusty good time back in February, where small producers gathered to teach, sell and of course taste a hell of a lot of funky booze. A focus on orange wine, where the juice is kept on skins for an extended period resulting in an interesting taste and texture, was a highlight – in fact, a whole bar was dedicated to the varietal. We’re excited for the return of the festival next year, which is slated for a Carriageworks debut.
2013 has been a great year for all sorts of festivals, to the offbeat Secret Garden festival in Camden in March, where magic infused the bush, to FBi Radio's 10th birthday bash at Carriageworks, and Laneway Festival - always a firm favourite of ours. We've had a ball.
Doris Goddard of the Hollywood Hotel
This gal’s got guts, that’s one thing we learned when we interviewed the unflappable Doris Goddard, landlady of Surry Hills’ Hollywood Hotel for our winter print issue. She charmed us with her tales of being onstage next to Katherine Hepburn and Bob Hope in Europe in the 1950s, and singing in Peking when Peking was closed to the world. Back home in Sydney she’s made her mark on a number of well-known establishments, and you can still catch her of an evening talking the ears off patrons at the Hollywood.
Fratelli Paradiso 12 Years On
A Sydney institution, which has been bending the rules of Sydney dining for over a decade now, the Italians behind Potts Point’s Fratelli Paradiso and Paddington’s 10 William Street spoke to us about life in the business, and what it means to do things differently in the Sydney dining scene, and how important it is to have no regrets.
Doug Purdie of Urban Beehives
A huge part of the local and sustainable food movement in Sydney is Doug Purdie, who has championed the introduction of beehives into our restaurants and cafes. With minimal interference and little effect on space or resources, Purdie taught us how to give back to the space we take so much from every day, and in turn we’ll be given sweet, sweet pots of liquid gold.
Porteño’s Sarah Doyle
As Porteño’s impeccably dressed maître d’, Sarah Doyle has become something of a local pin-up for her unique style. We took a look inside her bursting wardrobe, full of tulle skirts, printed dresses and pieces she’ll always remember, and found that fashion is about so, so much more than just the clothes you wear.
Apart from being both backstage and front row at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, which stormed into Carriageworks this year in a flurry of colours, smart tailoring and innovative construction. Off the runway, we’ve had fun this year dissecting the best of Sydney’s fashion scene to narrow it all down to editorial shoots focusing on beanies, bold prints every which way, leather, denim and sleek coats in winter. The Design Files Open House opened in Sydney for the first time this year, filling a huge Surry Hills converted warehouse into an impeccably styled dream home, just in time for Christmas shopping.
We've seen interesting collections and collaborations from ManiaMania, POMS, Roopa Pemmaraju and a huge response to ethical clothing label YEVU, which sold out almost as quickly as word got out. It's been the year of the pop-up, especially in the final half of the year, but we're really loving this smart use of small spaces in lesser-known parts of the city.
In less positive news we saw some of our leading designers fall from grace - Kit Willow was dismissed from her own line, Collette Dinnigan closed her label in October after failing to sell, Bettina Liano and Lisa Ho’s businesses both went into liquidation. As international giants like Topshop, Zara, Gap and H&M continue to move in, we can expect more local designers to be inevitably pushed out of the market.
We feel torn when jumping on board with flash-in-the-pan food trends, which can come and go like lightning, or sometimes hang around a while longer. But all in all we love the creativity that comes with making a trend our own, whether it’s the cronut buzz imported from the USA and adapted by Adriano Zumbo, or the lighter, healthier focus on wholefoods and raw fare. This year we’ve seen an explosion of lunch delivery services – ready-packed boxes of salads and healthy things ridden to us on bikes. Cold-pressed juice has overtaken this city like wildfire, and it’s been tough not to notice the improvement in our coffee offering, with locations like Paramount Coffee Project, Sensory Lab and Gumption by Cafe Alchemy stepping things up a notch in the caffeine department.
We’ve eaten more burgers than we care to admit, and most have been washed down with milkshakes (malt and house-made syrup were our top picks), and peanut butter has been turning up on menus all over town. Oh, and how could we forget crisp, hot waffles?
Whatever this year has brought for you, we hope it’s been a good one, and that you’ve loved diving into Sydney’s subculture as much as we have. It’s a ball, and next year? Ease up on the doughnuts.