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This Week's Column - Dining With Altitude


Published in the City Hub and City News.



If you’ve traveled internationally since 2007, you’ve probably experienced being shunted down long, boring makeshift tunnels. You might have looked for something tasty to pass the time between check-in and checking out, only to give in to the golden arches due to a lack of decent, conveniently placed eating options. You can now put those experiences out of your mind completely. The newly refurbished Sydney International Airport has a lot to offer the discerning diner! They haven’t just added more food and beverage outlets, they’ve created a dining precinct; and it’s one where you won’t mind sitting down and staying a while!

Those fond of the tear-jerking goodbyes would be well placed to have a final meal with their non-traveling paramour at the new Danks Street Depot, conveniently placed after check-in but before Customs. Owner and executive chef, Jared Ingersoll tends toward seasonal and sustainable cuisine, so while you may shed a tear about those you leave behind, you won’t have thoughts of sow stalls and battery farmed chook adding to your woes. Jared’s Toasted Ruben Sandwich with corned wagyu beef, Heidi Tilsit and sauerkraut is just the sort of simple, tasty food that I’d want in my belly before a long flight too.



If you’d prefer the atmosphere to be lighter, perhaps make your final Sydney-side snack a stop at the first Montreux Jazz Café outside of Switzerland! It’s hard to be sad watching your favourite artist tear up the floor on their high-resolution screens. With the festival having just completed its 44th year, they have ten thousand odd audio and video recordings to choose from – anyone from Miles Davis to Ray Charles through to Bowie and Prince, with Aussie artists like Crowded House making an appearance too! As far as your stomach goes, you’ll be eating Swiss inspired dishes like Potato Rosti topped with Veal Sausage, or Rainbow Trout stuffed with Cheese. Speaking of cheese, if you thought that Switzerland’s biggest food export was the holey stuff, you’re wrong – it’s now Red Bull!

Frankly these days, it’s best to shake off any hangers-on as quickly as possible and dive through those yellow doors. A glistening, multicultural food paradise awaits! If you’re honeymooning, might I suggest you begin your adventure at the new Caviar House and Prunier Seafood Bar? Nothing beats licking roe off your hand (it brings out the flavour), or the hand of your dearly beloved before you cleanse your palate with a matched vodka – well nothing legal you can do in the airport anyway! This is as close to sex as you’ll get before you’re miles er… away. You might want to keep your fiancé’s eyes pointing toward the bar though as they’ve stuck a few top end outlets opposite. I’m guessing going into Versace on a honeymoon might be quite costly…

A more family friendly option is the Trattoria Prego who offer up the atmosphere and cuisine of a rustic Italian trattoria. Smiling lads hand-stretch pizza dough as I tuck into my antipasti with nostrils flaring as freshly made bowls of gnocchi, ravioli and fettuccine go wafting by. By the time I roll up at Itacho Sushi, I’m stuffed to the gills, but it’s pretty hard to pass up the sushi and sashimi of one of the few Fugu (blowfish) licensed Japanese chefs in Australia! Yoshifumi Tanimoto is a chef I dearly wish was cooking before Customs, because the few morsels I managed to stuff in were worth the trip alone! There’s not a dish on his menu over twenty dollars either; considering the options include live shrimp, surf clams, fatty tuna, soft-shell crab and jumbo scallops, that’s enough to put a smile on any Nippon-o-phile!

A pot of Farm-House Style Chicken Liver Pate at the Bambini Wine Room is the way to wind down. Team it with a glass of Monredon’s quaffable Cotes du Rhone and you’ll be well on your way toward some quality sleep on the plane. The décor in this space should feel familiar to fans of their popular Elizabeth Street venue. You'll even hear their trademark style of tunes - a far cry from the usual garbled and annoying airport announcements, and enough to make me almost wish I didn’t have to fly...