With 2020 changing the way we work, live and play, it of course had an impact on the way we eat. The depression era bread queue made a resurgence at popular sourdough bakeries, like my local, Penny Fours, as well as at restaurants like Café Paci, who made an agile pivot to selling their wonderful potato and molasses bread by the loaf to the socially distanced faithful. New restaurants seemed less vital to visit than old favourites (who you wanted to support to stay around); and hygiene and location became much stronger considerations.
As a writer, long form blogging started to seem unjust when the hospitality industry was struggling to stay afloat. Over the course of the pandemic I switched to writing short form posts and put the camera down to just use iPhone snaps across my various social media channels, noting where I observed strong COVIDSafe procedures in place. In this manner, across 2020, Does My Bomb Look Big In This? covered 136 different venues (down 40% on 2019) in 45 different Sydney suburbs (down 38% on 2019) with 32 regional visits (down 40% on 2019). These meals involved 30 different cuisines (down 19% on 2019).
Paste Thai Food Australia got me reinvigorated about Thai food, so I ate it more often, with other notable meals at Soi 25 and Long Chim. This bumped Thai cuisine up into my year’s most eaten list alongside modern Australian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean. Two cuisines I ate a lot that didn’t quite make the top five were Sri Lankan (check out Colombo Social or The Fold) and Filipino (Sydney Cebu Lechon was an easy favourite).
While I didn’t eat a huge amount of Italian this year, not one but three restaurants delivered meals that join Paste Thai in my top ten.
They are Capriccio, La Disfidia (with the famous Danny Russo in the kitchen on the night I dined) and Osteria di Russo & Russo.
In the regions I had three great experiences this year. Yellowtail in Terrigal delivered the best bang for buck with a $49 Asian-inspired multi-course feast.
Burnt Honey Bakery set opposite Copacabana beach demonstrated just how creative you can get with the breakfast pastry; while Melba’s Bakehouse and Eatery in Wagga Wagga revolutionised baked beans.
At the fancy end of town, Kuro’s Bar & Dining won battle omakase for me, edging out Tetsuya’s and Kuon Omakase by their use of innovation.
Mid-range, it was Restaurant Plage who cooked at the top of their game on the night I visited, with a notable mention to Beijing Impression for their duck.
Finally, in terms of comfort food, Polish Place in Glebe produced a bang-up dinner centred around the bounty of the pig, which seems an appropriate way to round out my 2020 - Best of Does My Bomb Look Big In This? as we enter ham season.
Thanks for your readership