We live the highs and lows in Sydney. One day an exciting and nuanced venue opens, and then the next a veteran restaurant calls it a day. Read on for places you should visit before they disappear and other events and venues you should add to your busy schedule. This is what I’ll be up to – follow my adventures here.
Have an Italiano disco
Turn it on this June long weekend with round eight of the Italo Dining & Disco Club. It’s happening at The Dolphin in Surry Hills and the theme is “disgraziato”, which we’re told by Gio Paradiso (Fratelli Paradiso, 10 William St) is a “scoundrel, rogue, good for nothing and a disgrace”. He and Maurice Terzini (Icebergs, Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta) are throwing the party. There’s a long lunch of New York-style Italian dishes in the dining room at midday, cocktails at 2pm in Scout bar, snacks by Mitch Orr of ACME (see below) as part of the weekly Delfino Aperitivo between 5pm and 7pm in the wine room, and then at 7pm a dance floor with music by Mike Simonetti (co-founder of record label Italians Do It Better).
Italo Dining & Disco Club #8 starts at 12pm on Sunday June 9 at The Dolphin Hotel, Surry Hills. Book for the long lunch here and Scout here. Delfino Aperitivo and the disco are first in, best dressed.
ACME is closing, book a table quick
Genre-pushing Rushcutters Bay restaurant ACME has announced it will shut at the end of the month, ahead of its fifth birthday. Co-owners Mitch Orr and Cam Fairbairn didn’t give a reason but it’ll be sad to see the end of the fun Italian noodle joint, which triumphantly meshed Italian dishes with Asian ingredients and served it alongside a very progressive, exciting and energetic wine list.
Before joining Fairbairn, and Andy Emerson and Ed Loveday (who are about to open Prince of York in the CBD), Orr spent time in some excellent Sydney Italian restaurants, such as 10 William St and the now-closed Buzo and 121 BC, but grew up eating stacks of Asian food. That backstory has resulted in dishes such as spaghetti with lao gan-ma (Chinese chilli paste); wakame (seaweed)-dusted lumache (shell-shaped pasta) with vongole (clams) and preserved lemon; and macaroni with pig's-head pork stirred through with raw egg yolk. The latter has been on the menu from the beginning and was inspired by the Filipino sisig dish.
ACME will serve its classic dishes until the end of June.
And while you’re at it, book a table at The Fish Shop
Sad! Another long-running Sydney restaurant calls it a day.
The Fish Shop is one of my fave places to eat seafood – a hassle-free restaurant (read: it’s easy to get a table) that for seven years has been serving a succinct menu of sustainable seafood. For five of those years it was headed by the late Jeremy Strode, one of Australia’s most respected chefs, and its last service will be on Sunday June 16.
And while that’s sad, it’s not all bad news. Before the Potts Point eatery was about the food of the sea, it was Lotus – a happening bistro and hidden speakeasy bar as famous for its superb drinks as its flocked Florence Broadhurst wallpaper. It was the place to go, and over the years a number of hospo people made their mark there, including Anton Forte, who went onto set up the Swillhouse Group (Restaurant Hubert, The Baxter Inn), and much-loved Sydney chef Dan Hong (Ms Gs, Mr Wong).
Hong will return to the kitchen where he made his name for a Lotus 2.0 pop-up. It’s happening in spring and he’ll serve his lauded cheeseburger, along with his tuna with sweet wasabai, and the hot-fudge sundae.
The Fish Shop will close on Sunday June 16, and the Lotus 2.0 pop-up will roll out in spring.
Dinner and show
Mary’s Underground is the most ambitious project to date by the fun-loving burger purveyors at Mary’s (who also brought us The Unicorn and The Lansdowne. It’s in the space of the shuttered live-music venue The Basement, and the underground band room, kitchen and bar have only been slightly rejigged for the new venture. The opening and the venue itself signify a confident and exciting evolution for a group that introduced Sydneysiders to really bloody good burgers (which you can eat at Mary’s Circular Quay upstairs).
Music is on every night of the week (except Sunday when it’s shut), which I reckon is a great addition to Sydney’s nightlife. In fact, there is nowhere else in the city offering this sort of experience: an eclectic music roster that complements everything else that’s going on, namely a European bistro-style restaurant with table service, a clam bar and lobster, and a spirited wine list by group sommelier Caitlyn Ress.
It’s not as grand as, say, nearby Hubert, which has similar aspirations, but it’s definitely travelling along that same bold road, and Broadsheet reckons that’s excellent. The venue is now taking bookings – you should go and check it out.
There are still tickets to some great movies at the Sydney Film Festival
The 66th Sydney Film Festival opens on Wednesday June 5 and it’s showing an impressive 307 films from more than 55 countries, including 33 world premieres and 79 documentaries. While a lot of tickets have been snapped up already, there are some still available for the free conversation between festival director Nashen Moodley and renowned Korean filmmaker and director Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer, Okja), who just won the top Cannes Film Festival prize, the Palme d'Or, for his new film, Parasite (screenings of this are sold out). You can still get in to see Mystify: Michael Hutchence on June 6, the highly anticipated doco on the INXS lead singer featuring rarely seen footage and Hutchence’s home videos. The closing-night film gala is also still an option. It includes the awards ceremony and a screening of Yesterday by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later, Trainspotting).
And finally, if you’re not like me and can keep your eyes open during a late-night screening, you’ll like the all-night Cine-Love In. Programmer Jenny Neighbour has been working at the Sydney Film Festival since 1989, and to celebrate her 30th anniversary has curated a mini festival of provocative, erotic, weird, boundary-pushing films. Head to the Dendy Newtown at 10pm on Saturday June 8 for the wild ride, which will finish at 7am on Sunday morning.
Sydney Film Festival runs from June 5 to 16 at venues across the city. Find the full program here.
Laugh at Demetri Martin
You might have caught comedian Demetri Martin on the Netflix comedy special The Overthinker, or on Late Night with Conan O’Brien or theThe Daily Show, or read his fiction writing for the New Yorker and the New York Times. This month he’ll be in Sydney at the Enmore Theatre on Saturday June 8 delivering a stand-up routine of stories and wry observations delivered in his deadpan manner. He’ll be aided by drawings and multiple musical instruments.
Revive that winter skin
Everyone who has experienced an Onda Beauty facial says they are amazing and unlike any other. They’re not cheap, but maybe you could save up and treat yourself. I’m currently doing just that.