It’s long been said in Sydney that chefs are the new rock stars. Take Acme’s Mitch Orr, for example. He models sunglasses. Kids used to want to be “Bang Gang DJs”, now they want to dress like Maurice Terzini.
This is the brave new world Laneway Festival now finds itself in. As the beloved music institution has aged, so too has its demographic, which increasingly chooses to spend its disposable income on food. In 2018, the Laneway organisers heeded the call, and handed the reins of an entire hospitality area to Franklin and Longsong chef David Moyle.
The Royal Moyle, as it’s named, is here to prove you can eat like a king at a music festival. You just need to believe – and David Moyle believes. He’s got that rock-and-roll spirit, with the long, Jimmy Page hair to match. When I meet him, he’s rubbing his eyes after smoking aged beef over an open coal fire. You know, standard festival fare.
I saw a stack of bands at on Sunday, but frankly, the food and drinks were the real headliners. Here’s what they don’t tell you about music festivals: if you’re well fed, the whole day is much easier. And whether you opted for Messina or Mary’s, Sapporo or Brooklyn Lager, there was just no excuse to stick with a vodka mixer and hot chips.
With that in mind, here are the best things I devoured at Laneway, when I probably should have been listening to the music.
10 William St: Local squid bruschetta ft. “flavours of puttanesca”
10 William St’s cosy, home-cooked vibe is not an easy one to translate into a outdoor setting but let me tell you, if you wander through the grounds holding a mouth-watering brioche stuffed with squid, people are going to pay attention. It was saucy, crunchy, and swimming in herbs and flavour. It dropped all over my jeans and I didn’t even care. I can’t believe it only cost ten bucks. It was a delicacy deserving of a far bigger audience.
Best paired with: Anderson Paak, obviously. Crowd favourite, exceptionally animated and literally sweats passion. The man performs like the Paradisos make snacks: con gusto.
Ginger-tea spritz (Longsong) and B2B mango-and-coconut lassi (Hubert)
Each of Moyle’s vendors were asked to put together special cocktails to go with its food offering. Here’s what I know: I have never had a mango-and-coconut lassi laced with tabasco (Hubert) or a spritz made from ice tea with actual ginger (Longsong), but now I will never drink anything else.
Best paired with: B Wise and Wiki at the Red Bull Block Party Tent. Totally unexpected, smashed full of charisma and utterly engaging.
Longsong’s grilled aged beef over coals ft. salt bush and horseradish
On paper, Longsong’s beef skewer situation wasn’t that appealing; no carbs, nothing fried and served on dangerous pointy sticks. And yet, after couple of bites, and I spent a whole day convincing punters to give it a go.
In one day, I ate four serves. Words could describe the way the horseradish and salt infused into the chunky, juicy meat slabs, but just know I watched Wolf Alice munching on skewers and don’t remember a single thing they played. Out of this world.
Best paired with: Odesza, who were an unexpected highlight of the evening set. They’ve leapfrogged a number of their contemporaries and their show now includes a chorus line of hooded drummers, which is serendipitous when you’re wielding two sticks of beef.
Hubert’s Cafe De Paris butter chicken and roti ft. French fries
In perfect French style, this Restaurant Hubert winner is classically undersold. It’s basically the best kebab of the year – a giant Indian roti rolled around enough chicken to feed a family of four. It’s then topped with a garlic-infused butter sauce and French fries. It was so audacious and almost impossible to finish, I regretted eating that Mary’s burger five minutes before; this is the kind of meal you get on presales for.
Best paired with: War on Drugs. If you’re going to stumble around in a food-induced daze, you may as well do it to a band that can only fit six songs into an hour and their shimmering haze of ’70s guitar belters.