What’s on around town
• Marrickville distillery Ester Spirits has taken home the silver at this year’s World Gin Awards for the Old Tom. The latest drop from head distiller Felix Clark, it’s naturally sweet, with citrusy notes of mandarin, orange and lemon. Head into the tasting room to try it, or nab a bottle online.
• Make lunch great again with Lox in a Box’s weekday special. From midday till 3pm, pick any bagel and enjoy with pickles, chips and an Arnold Palmer (a thirst-quenching muddle of iced tea and lemonade) for $26.
• Clean Up Australia is adding a little sweetener to the garbage collection. Find the Drumstrick van in Martin Place today, and on Bondi Beach tomorrow, for a sweet trade: the just-released iced-latte or choc-raspberry brownie cones for your rubbish.
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• Here’s our pick of the Lunar New Year menus to savour around town right now.
• Market Price Mondays have hit Raja, the excellent Indian joint with a kitchen helmed by ex-Firedoor chef Ahana Dutt. Select live seafood for the same prices you’d get on a morning run to Pyrmont – a stellar way to start your week.
• It’s all about chardonnay at Bistro Moncur on Monday February 19. Head into the Woollahra institution to try over 80 drops from both legacy and emerging vintners. The $50 tickets include a Plumm wine glass to keep and unlimited tastings from 5pm till 8.30pm – and it’s redeemable on any case bought on the night. Edit: event sold out.
• Sydney Fish Market is celebrating Lunar New Year with (obviously) stellar seafood. Head to Pyrmont on Saturday February 10, from 10.30am, for a traditional lion dance performance, then shop the fishmongers in a market festooned with lanterns.
• The live-music roster at our favourite new underground bar is in full swing – DJs from open till close (that’s 4am), plus live bands on the stage. Keep your eyes on The Caterpillar Club’s Instagram stories for updates.
• Head to Ricos this week for a week-long collaboration with its neighbour, Good Ways Deli. The taco special brings chipotle-braised roo tail, wild-oregano crema and leek oil to the mix.
• Hey Romeo, these local treats are the top way to spoil your Sydney sweetie. A bouquet of petalled tarts from a star bakery? Custard tarts left on their doorstep? All good ideas.
• Run to Industry Beans on York Street today for your chance to nab a free iced-coffee cup from Frank Green. Available to the first 30 people to order the Fitzroy Iced Coffee.
What we covered this week
• First look: Sydney Common is the luxurious new restaurant making a very strong case for hotel dining rooms. There’s a view of Hyde Park, a fire-powered open kitchen and stunning mortadella-filled agnolotti.
• The Cantina OK team’s underground bar is here: Centro 86. Look for the sign on Pitt Street, and then make a move up the laneway to find five Margaritas and 100 hand-selected tequilas until 2am every night.
• Rockpool’s former culinary director Corey Costelloe was let go from Hunter St Hospitality last week. But he moves swiftly, announcing his luxe next move this week.
• First look: Ona’s new flagship is unlike any cafe we’ve been to. Writer Callum McDermott headed in last week and left feeling “like a noob, but more excited about coffee” than he’s been in a long time.
• Soul Dining’s head somm Liz Dodd chats unravelling the story behind a vino, the art of pairing and her top drop.
• First look: The duo behind Paddington institution Buon Ricordo just opened a chippie a few doors down. Paddington Fish & Chips is a suburban corner joint for Sicilian granita – plus salt-and-pepper calamari, classic prawn rolls and the usual takeaway fodder done nicely.
• First look: An ex-Brickfields pastry chef is on the tools at Yello, the CBD bakery delivering matcha-cream croissants and kimchi-topped sourdough pizzas.
• Chase summer’s tail at Martinez, where the French Riviera and a knockout bouillabaisse await. The Hinchcliff House team’s breezy venue boasts a terrace bar with Harbour Bridge views, and an ace duo of happy hours.
You might’ve missed
• First look: Poketto, a new Japanese-inspired cafe from the Kurumac team, is open now in Chippendale. Head in for cod-roe toasties and confit-fish-topped shokupan – plus a succinct cocktail menu.
• Now open: Find a pretty line-up of Japan-made cheesecakes at Letao’s first Sydney store. One silky treat – stocked up with rich Hokkaido milk and sent to Australia monthly – sells every 10 seconds in Japan. Now it’s our turn.
• Now open: Bei Bar & Bistro, from the team behind Darling Point institution Bei Amici, is the spot to stop at in Taylor Square. There’s a hibachi grill, a China Doll alum on drinks, and a bowl of pasta that’s already adored.