sydney, new south wales, australia
No doubt about it, Sydney is one of those cities in the world that have the ‘wow’ factor. From one side of the harbor to the other you can travel through time, across several socio-economic brackets and walk past some of the country’s greatest architecture. If Uluru is Australia’s ancient beating heart, Sydney is where we find the dawn of our industrial era. It has all the icons: Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Government House. Now there is the incredible Contemporary Art Museum to add to the mix on Circular Quay.
Anyone who grew up in the ‘80s will remember Playing Beattie Bow, a young woman’s journey to adulthood set against the back drop of Sydney’s Rocks, and travelling from present to our colonial past. You can’t walk through Sydney and not picture the city as it once was; it is a city that captures the imagination.
As a Melburnian, I can say with certainty that I love Sydney, it is endlessly entertaining and I am continually awestruck whenever I go. But just to visit – I couldn’t live there… yes, that old rivalry! Given our long-standing competitiveness I may outrage a few Sydney-siders but there are a few places about town that remind me of home. Just a few; Sydney has a flavour all of it’s own but there a couple of things that a Melburnian can’t do without.
If in Sydney Mon-Fri, crash post-work drinks at The Lemon Tree; here I ordered the top of their list, a Lemon Tree Martini but earlier in the evening there was a Prosecco that gave a hint of sweetness to a monsoon-like evening. Certainly test out the Italian cuisine, pasta is made fresh daily.
Melburnians love a good culture sesh: joining an Opera House tour is one of the most enjoyable things you can do while in town. I'm in love with the earrings inspired by the arrowhead tile design - timeless Danish-style, absolutely souvenirs worth duking it out with the crowd at the gift shop!
Excellent North Sydney breakfast to be had at Pottery Green and a nice cool escape from the humidity in Gordon. Fantastic coffee, single origin Toby's Estate; the only cafe I have come across that has extracted the most robust flavour from Toby's roast, even Toby's Estate cafe itself.
Metro St James is delightfully embedded in Hyde Park and enjoys a roaring trade through it's ability to channel a city dweller's need for green spaces and provide them with cool drinks and tasty Mediterranean fare at the same time. Mobile workers, this is the spot to plonk your laptop, work for the afternoon and refuel with a few rounds of iced coffee.
This gem is in a small shopping complex in The Rocks surrounded by Australiana tourist traps, so any hipster worthy of the name could be forgiven for walking on by. But stop at The Fine Food Store and pick up a latte because it. is. good. Their coffee gets an 8.0 on Beanhunter and the comments are an indication of how seriously TFFS take their coffee.
Melburnians are spoilt with such a multi-cultural community and the culinary benefits this provides. We have good Italian, some of the best pizza chefs in the world; D.O.C. is a personal favourite for fresh pasta. We know quality when we see it and Fratelli Fresh certainly fits the bill. While we went to Bridge Street, the restaurant has expanded to several locations, including one in Melbourne's Alfred Place. We were celebrating running a massive conference at The Sheraton, we were exhausted and, looking at the map now, I don’t know how we managed to walk that far, but walk we did. Cutting through a few alleyways certainly gets a Melburnian interested; throw in an amazing old building, rustic décor, fabulous food and we feel right at home.
I struggled through my hotel butchering Di Bella before I found this espresso haven. Reminiscent of Mister Mister and De Clieu, if you weren’t taking advantage of the people watching opportunities you could be forgiven for thinking Pablo and Rusty’s was an inner urban coffee paradise instead of right in the centre of it all on Castlereagh Street. Settle in for a couple of coffees and some eggs before work.
I’m not sure if I can review a whole suburb… let’s say ‘yes’. Surry Hills is a little suburb on the fringes of the CBD that made me feel like I was on High St Northcote, with the bonus of the Fitzroy backstreets that hide little bars and cafés amongst the flats and houses. We made a stop at Gelato Messina, and then travelled on up to Crown Street’s brilliant book/film/music store TITLE (think Readings), stopping off at boutique Vivid for that retro, Gormon feel; then to the gardens so our young charge could run around. It is a high street that has all your favourite places to play!