The weather is warm, it finally feels as though spring has arrived, and this weekend the clocks switch over to Daylight Saving Time – which means more daylight hours to enjoy the sunshine. Plus, we’ve got a long weekend coming up to tick off everything on this list – so get cracking.
Spring in the city
Sydney is well and truly in the throes of spring (sorry hayfever-sufferers). The city is a riot of colour and blooms at the moment. The City of Sydney has installed more than 24,000 plants around the city – including a floral pyramid in front of St Mary’s Cathedral – so no matter where you are, you’re bound to run into a blossom or two.
Sydney’s botanic gardens are looking their blooming best, too. The Royal Botanic Garden’s Spring Walk – first planted back in 1856 – has just begun to blossom. The Australian Botanic Garden up at Mount Annan is blanketed in more than one million paper daisies covering almost 2000 square metres. It’s a spectacular sight, and well worth the drive.
Casula Powerhouse turns 25
For 25 years, Casula Powerhouse in Sydney’s west has been pushing boundaries with thought-provoking exhibitions and events. (One recent favourite was Soft Centre, an immersive Dark Mofo-esque music festival with large-scale installations and electronic music.)
This month, Casula Powerhouse is celebrating a quarter-century of diverse programming not with cake, but with a series of exhibitions and installations from up-and-coming and established artists. The clusters of golden fungi at the nearby Casula Parklands inform one exhibition, and Tracey Moffatt – one of the country’s most successful contemporary artists – will explore the legacy of colonisation in Australia. The Powerhouse has also given 25 young artists free reign to use the collection to create a final product that dives into the story, location and purpose of the institution.
The birthday celebrations run until November 10, and there’ll be a huge, free anniversary party on October 26.
A new Aesop
If you’re anything like me, your skin is looking a little worse for wear after months of being plonked in front of heaters, covered by woollen jumpers. The opening of the huge new Aesop store on Pitt Street – the brand’s biggest outpost in the world – is a pretty good excuse to stock up on nourishing ointments and creams in a fetching, peaceful location. Wrapped in vast slabs of granite (to mirror Sydney’s granite footpaths), the striking store has been inspired by the enormous Wrapped Coast artwork of 1969, when 2.4 kilometres of Sydney’s coastline was wrapped in fabric.
Sydney’s best almond croissants … part one
When Broadsheet writer Emily Taliangis proposed a list of the best almond croissants in Sydney, it prompted plenty of heated discussion in the office. Who knew people felt so passionately about a treat invented purely to use up stale pastry? We decided it’d be best to make this list the first in a series. (Yes, you can expect more articles about almond croissants.) There’s one that’s made with brandy and cinnamon, and another that stands almost as tall as it is long. But it’s a little number that’s twice-baked, soaked in syrup and crammed with almond cream that’s been pronounced the favourite … this time around.
Speaking of croissants, Tini is a new Chippendale bakery from some of the team behind Koi Dessert Bar. Tini by name and tiny in size, it’s devoted entirely to pastries and coffee. There are croissants made to taste like bubble tea, others that are tiramisu-flavoured, and an extra-crunchy take on a pain au chocolate that’s filled with a combination of dark and milk chocolate.
Eat a world-famous dish
If you tend to eat out late at night, love Cantonese seafood or work in hospitality (or all of the above), there’s a very good chance you’ve tried the dish Momofuku founder David Chang has described as “the best in the world”. Golden Century’s XO pippis is as close to iconic as a dish in Sydney can get – and now there’s an entire restaurant named after it.
XOPP is situated on the mezzanine level of the wondrous, wood-wrapped Exchange building at the Darling Square precinct – and, of course, it serves the dish it takes its name from. But you can also get fresh seafood finished with your choice of sauce (I’ll be sticking with the theme and going with the house-made XO), or a slow-cooked beef rib coated in a spicy chilli sauce.
Pasta from the master
Cicciabella, the new collaboration between Acme’s Mitch Orr and restaurateur Maurice Terzini (The Dolphin, Bondi Beach Public Bar, Icebergs) will be opening in Bondi any day now. It’ll be serving tiny pizzas (meaning you can try more than one), and Orr will be putting his innovative stamp on the pasta dishes. The exact open date hasn’t been confirmed, but as soon as it is we’ll be lining up to taste what comes out of the 2.7-tonne woodfired oven.
Middle Eastern mash-up
We’ve been loving what’s coming out of the kitchen at Surry Hills Levantine eatery Nour since Ben Williamson (Gerard’s Bistro) took over the kitchen earlier this year. Now he’s collaborating with two other acclaimed chefs with regional expertise on two special dinners.
First up behind the pans tomorrow is Tom Sarafian from Melbourne Middle Eastern diner Bar Saracen, who’ll be serving up Mexican-Lebanese cuisine (which evolved when a wave of Lebanese migrants made their way to Mexico in the late 19th century) in collaboration with Williamson. Then on November 27, Spanish-Australian chef Frank Camorra of MoVida fame will explore the relationship between Spanish and Middle Eastern cuisines for a Moorish feast.