Life at home during coronavirus has turned out to be vastly more tasty than we’d anticipated. Sydney’s restaurants, bars and cafes have spectacularly pirouetted to takeaway and introduced cook-at-home dinners – it’s all so tasty we hope its doesn’t disappear. Read on for recommendations by Broadsheet Sydney editor Sarah Norris and assistant editor Che-Marie Trigg, who have tried a number of them (for research purposes, of course). Plus the books you should be reading now; a new nude-photography project by Spencer Tunick (you can participate at home); and a film shot in western Sydney staring Hugo Weaving.
And of course, our constantly updated live list of Sydney's best takeaway.
You can now order and get delivery from Darlinghurst’s Lankan Filling Station
In case you haven’t seen these fabulous Broadsheet billboards around town (if we may say so ourselves): Lankan Filling Station has introduced takeaway, just in time for the cooler autumn weather. And just in (announced Tuesday May 5) from next week, staff will also be delivering (there aren't too many details yet, so watch the Instagram account.)
What we do know is, “We’re doing hot takeaway, pick-up only, Thursday to Saturday from 5pm to 8pm,” says chef-owner O Tama Carey. “It’s not quite the full menu we used to have, and [there are] no hoppers, but we’re doing two types of roti and pappadums.”
If you’re craving hoppers, you can add a nifty hopper pan ($30) to your order to make your own at home. There are also pantry items such as heirloom red rice, curry powders and sauces, as well as a range of sambols and a weekly selection of frozen curries and sides.
If you’re after ready-to-go food, our pick is the choose-your-own adventure banquets for one ($60) and the curries (from $15). There’s also lamprais, a curry pack that comes wrapped in banana leaves (Carey calls it “the perfect TV dinner”).
You can also get specials, hot snacks and booze from the front window of the restaurant during the day Friday to Sunday. “It’s almost like a restaurant but not quite,” says Carey. More info here.
Fancy Sydney restaurants that are now weekend bakeries
Both Pasi Petanen (of Newtown’s innovative Cafe Paci) and Flavio Carnevale (owner-chef of popular Roman-inspired Rushcutters Bay restaurant Marta) have been wanting to get into the baking game, but didn’t have the opportunity until coronavirus forced them to diversify. Now both restaurants are serving exciting baked goods, breads and pastries each weekend.
Cafe Paci is serving up one of Sydney’s best breads: limppu, a molasses-glazed sourdough that’s a highlight of any Cafe Paci meal and takes three days to make. It has a savoury, nutty flavour and a crisp, sweet-ish crust. Petanen recommends having it with butter, pickles and cheese (“comté if you have it, but Coon tasty is fine”). And there’s so much more to get besides.
There’s lots of good stuff at Marta, but the crunchy shell-shaped sfogliatelle are our pick. “One day we made a baker’s mistake: we made too many sflogliatelle,” Carnevale says. “So, we thought we’d try a new filling of prosciutto and house-made ricotta – and it’s so popular. It disappears as soon as we put it on the shelf.”
Assistant editor Che-Marie Trigg’s four takeaway picks
If there’s one thing I’m thankful for during isolation, it’s the opportunity to catch up on the long list of local diners I’ve been meaning to try. At the top was Petersham’s Noi, an Italian joint that opened late last year. It’s doing takeaway each Friday to Sunday – my pick is the Noi Feeds You menu, which is an absolute bargain at $70 for two people (and four courses). My meal included arancini; lasagne; trout and zucchini polpettone (meatloaf); and a choice of carrot cake or chocolate tart. It was an ideal Saturday dinner, and I’m kind of hoping it sticks around for post-lockdown nights in.
On my weekend walks I’ve been detouring past Stanmore’s Sixpenny, which has gracefully transformed into a general store. There’s always a (socially distanced) queue snaking down the street, but now you can pre-order your goods, so call ahead for a layered carrot cake, a loaf of sourdough, tarts or a cheese and bacon roll (or all of the above). You can also get a take-home set menu for pick-up or delivery on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Broadsheet Sydney editor Sarah Norris got one a couple weeks ago (the osso buco with parmesan polenta, a side of focaccia, a radicchio-and-pear salad and tiramisu) and said it was a delightful, comforting meal.
One of the best pizza-makers in the inner west, Marrickville’s Pizza Madre, has just joined the takeaway game (Thursday to Sunday from 5pm to 9pm). You can get its woodfired sourdough pizzas; salads; and this lush dessert made from layered zabaglione, Mr Black-soaked savoiardi biscuits, chocolate mousse, hazelnuts and toasted wattleseeds. And while you wait for your hot pie, you can sip on a Negroni priced nicely at $10.
Colder weather means we’re coming into Sunday roast season, and I’ve been getting mine from Petersham’s Oxford Tavern, which was one of my favourite pubs in the before times. The Tav smokes up the meat (choose from brisket or pork belly, or pumpkin if you’re veggo) and serves it with veggies, Yorkshire puddings (a must) and really, really good gravy.
Plus more takeaway to try
Bondi’s sophisticated but casual Italian eatery Cicciabella has reopened and is now serving Porta Via Per La Casa, or “takeaway for the home” packs. The almost-ready meals just require you to cook the pasta, and includes things such as ricotta, prosciutto, focaccia, hand-rolled strozzapreti with an osso buco ragu and tiramisu (it’s $80 for two people). The menu will change regularly and is available for pick up Friday, Saturday and Sunday (3pm to 7pm), along with fresh pasta, vino and produce from its premium suppliers.
Its sister fine diner Icebergs is also now in on the takeaway action. We're loving the Icebergs x Drinks Pouch, which is, as it sounds, pre-batched signature cocktails that come in a seal-locked pouch. Even the ice and garnish is included (cute). It's serving a generous three-course Mother's Day meal for four ($110) and its monthly full moon-and-spaghetti night (May 7) will have to be at your place this time round. Italia's Tuscany is being highlighted, with food and drinks from the region. You can pre-order everything here.
For cheese enthusiasts
Darlinghurst’s Buffalo Dining Club, perhaps best known for making cacio e pepe in wheels of cheese, has started delivering 1.5-kilogram wheels of cheese to households across Sydney. It’ll also send you a bunch of recommendations for what to do with your wheel once you’re sick of peppery, parmesan-y pasta. “It’s not like, ‘Here’s your cheese wheel,’ and that’s the end of it,” says co-owner Marcelo Garrao. “We want to take people on a journey.”
Cheese is also central to what the Sydney Bastille Festival team has planned this year. It’s sending out boxes with wheels of raclette so people can scrape the gooey, melt-y fromage onto potatoes, pickles and charcuterie. Boxes come with a bottle of wine, and there’s also the option to get fondue and 1.5-kilo cheese wheels.
Get nude at home for Spencer Tunick’s latest project
American photographer Spencer Tunick wants to take a photo of you naked for his new project, Stay Apart Together. He’s known for getting volunteers – often thousands of them – to pose naked together en masse in public spaces, but this time all you have to do is email Tunick to register your interest, and if your application is successful, he’ll take a photo of you online, which will then be compiled into a digital collage. More info here.
Merivale is now doing takeaway
After the success of Totti’s takeaway, and cook-at-home meal boxes from Mr Wong, Totti’s, Bert’s and Vinnie’s Pizza, Sydney hospo group Merivale has added more. You can now also get full-menu takeaway from Mr Wong, The Paddington (and its poultry-leaning sidekick The Chicken Shop), and Coogee Pavilion. As with Totti’s takeaway menu, you’ll be able to get signature dishes and weekly specials. And starting May 6, Merivale will deliver from all four restaurants if you live within a 10-kilometre radius.
Need a new book to read?
We asked Sydney Writers’ Festival director Michaela McGuire to name the authors we should be reading right now, and it’s a stellar list. We’ve got The Adversary by Melbourne’s Ronnie Scott on order now. “I’m calling it early: this wildly funny, clever and tender novel is the Australian literary debut of the year,” says McGuire.
We also asked a bunch of writers and creatives – including Benjamin Law, Archibald Prize-winner Yvette Coppersmith, and a bunch of Broadsheet staffers – what they’re reading for comfort right now. The responses are diverse, entertaining and unexpected.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer to let an expert choose your next reads for you, Hornsby bookseller Tanya Kurukulasuriya will mail you a stack of books. All you have to do is fill out a questionnaire – tell her a few of your favourite titles, whether you like or loathe olives, and if you’re a cat person or a dog person – and wait for the postman.
Watch this film shot in western Sydney
Actor Hugo Weaving, known for his roles in The Matrix trilogy, Lord of the Rings, and The Dressmaker, worked with a couple of novices on the engrossing new feature Hearts and Bones.
Filmed and set in western Sydney, it portrays an unlikely friendship that develops when a Sudanese taxi driver, Amad, tracks down acclaimed photojournalist, Daniel (played by Weaving), and begs him not to go ahead with an exhibition featuring images from a massacre that took place in Amad’s town in Sudan 15 years earlier. The film was well-received at the Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne film festivals and was slated for national and international cinematic release, but it will now be released digitally due to coronavirus.
Order in vegan goods
Market visits are out for now, so Sydney Vegan Market has taken its stallholders online. Get a bunch of plant-based foods delivered, including the national crisis dish, lasagne, spanakopita and croissants. There are also cosmetics, household products, and a whole section devoted to gifts (just in time for Mother’s Day).
Looking for cool threads for the kids in your life?
It doesn’t get cuter than this: Goldie & Ace is a Melbourne kids’ label inspired by ’80s and ’90s Australia. Think tiny acid-wash mum jeans, mini chinos, Uluru and cockatoo-print jumpers, and retro colour-blocked parkas that transform into little vests, all designed for frosty winter days ahead.
Need exercise inspiration?
If you’re bored of your routine, check out our comprehensive live list here. Find yoga and Pilates classes, living-room-friendly workouts, and free apps to take you round the park. And if you want a little glam fun in your active life, seek out Retrosweat.