As we publish this story, Sydney has just found out some Covid-19 restrictions have been reinstated for the first time in several months. It feels like a bit of a blow as things finally begin to return to a sense of normalcy, but here’s hoping with a bit of hard work (masks on public transport, staying home if you feel unwell) we’ll get through it okay. In anticipation of that, here’s what I’ll be getting up to during the last days of autumn: dining on some of the city’s best Mexican food; drinking at a groundbreaking world-first bar; and channelling my inner Wes Anderson at a whimsical new store in Newtown. You can follow my adventures here.
A new spot to enjoy Mexican
We’re not joking when we say Rosa Cienfuegos makes some of the best Mexican food in town; she’s been collecting fans for years now, first at market stalls and then at her Dulwich Hill deli and diner, where she dished up her famous tamales and sold pantry items imported from her birthplace. Now she’s opened Itacate in Redfern – it’s bigger and offers a more extensive menu than its Dulwich Hill predecessor.
For breakfast grab the comforting eggs with minced Mexican chorizo, or go for gold with a tamale. Come lunch and dinner there are five types of tacos and tlacoyos (tortillas filled with beans, meat and pork crackling). And if you feel like tackling some Mexican cooking at home (say, using Cienfuegos’s cookbook, which she published last year), there’s a host of hard-to-find goods lining the shelves, including tinned tomatillos, chilli seasonings and jars of nopales (cactus).
No matter what anyone says, we reckon gelato is a season-agnostic food. Show the autumnal rain and wind what for, and head for Newtown favourite Mapo Gelato’s new Bondi shop. Like the original it’s turning market-fresh ingredients into punchy scoops of gelato, sans preservatives and artificial colours and flavours. We’re about to hit citrus season, which means the likes of pink-grapefruit sorbetto will be making a beeline for our mouths.
A new world order
When Matt Whiley landed in Australia to open an outpost of his internationally respected bar Scout, who would have thought that two years later he’d launch Re–, the world’s first permanent no waste bar? Well, he has – and it’s spectacular. Visit the former South Eveleigh train workshop for his typically creative drinks – spritzes contain salted plum, Martinis feature white truffle and the Everything Milk Bar cocktail has piqued our interest with ingredients simply listed as “cake”, “oak moss” and “caramelised white chocolate”. And the menu tastes all the better for the ethos behind it. The drinks generate as little waste as possible and use ingredients that would otherwise go to landfill. The bar also uses up waste in other ways too: the fabric covering the seats is made from pineapple husks, some of the furnishing from milk bottles. It’s a world first, and we’re pretty stoked that Sydney is its birth place.
Up the whimsy factor
Outlet, a glorious new store on south King Street in Newtown is channelling the whimsy of Wes Anderson into shelves of nostalgia-inducing outdoor gear (including tents, camp stoves, Swiss-army knives and waterproof matches); wooden outdoor games; and books on tying knots and making catapults. It might sound kitsch, but it’s stuff that’s sure to serve you well on your next adventure into the wild – an increasingly attractive option as state borders swing open and shut seemingly willy-nilly. If city-slicker is more your speed, there’s still plenty to please: vintage barware, new and second-hand cookbooks, instruction manuals for keeping houseplants alive and vintage workwear.
We may not be able to dance the next several days (May 6–10) – but here at Broadsheet, we’re optimists and we hope the dance ban will be lifted by next week. If and when that happens, you’ll find us attending a 24-hour party that starts at 8am on May 15 and finishes up at 8am the following morning. It’s being held at some of hospo group Solotel’s funnest venues, including Kings Cross Hotel, Goros, The Golden Sheaf and Tokyo Sing Song. We’re particularly keen on the car park party at Public House Petersham, which will run till 1am and involve I Know Leopard and Caitlin Medcalf, and the multi-level party at The Marly in Newtown. Plan your morning, noon and night here.
Channel your inner Ottolenghi
If you happen to have missed this killer recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi we published last month, you, well, missed out. The earthy lasagne can be made vegan, and because it’s by one of the world’s most beloved celebrity chefs, it will impress when you serve it to friends. The Jerusalem-born, London-based chef, author and restaurateur even reckons it works if you can’t be bothered with the layers – jut serve it with pasta or polenta.
Looking for a gift?
While we curated this gift guide for Mother’s Day, you could buy something for yourself too. The Aeyre Gordo candlestick will look stunning at your place.
We’re almost into Sunday-roast season. And while the roast at Chippendale’s Ester isn’t your classic beef-Yorkshire-pudding-veggies scenario, it’s well worth setting aside a few hours for. When we visited recently we enjoyed several courses that involved highlights such as its beloved fermented potato bread, served with dashi jelly and trout roe; a meaty cured mackerel with macadamia cream; and duck done two ways: woodfired and roasted. Throw in the restaurant’s marvellous wine list, and you’ll be wishing you booked for dinner, too.