Published in the City Hub and City News.
In Matthew 4:4 it was said that one cannot survive upon bread alone. After eating the stellar loaves of Sonoma Bakery, Brasserie Bread, Iggy’s, and yes, even the newly relocated Arras Restaurant, I beg to differ. What I will concede is that after countless dinners out with the same (unnamed) dining companion, one also needs to be able to make good dinner conversation. So here’s some art, literature and culture to include in your diet…
Dine with Picasso
The Art Gallery of NSW is a great place to get a little culture, so why is it I’ve not returned in the few decades since High School? Luckily the folk at Trippas White sent me an invitation I couldn’t resist – the chance to see Picasso’s masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso in Paris. Sydney’s boon comes because they're closed for renovations, so you have until the 25th March, 2012 to see this incredible collection.
The works span seventy years of Picasso’s life starting from age twelve. My esteemed and knowledgeable companion, Rebecca Varidel from Inside Cuisine bemoaned that the exhibition was curated disjointedly, with works arranged by colour, style and size, rather than in order as the pages of Picasso’s lifelong diary. Whilst I defer to Rebecca who has travelled to see his work in situ in both Paris and Barcelona, it was a revelation for me regardless. I felt like I was seeing the birthplace of so many styles of contemporary art, fresh off the back of admiring where we are today at Outpost on Cockatoo Island.
If you need more urging, combine the art with a little nourishment in The Restaurant. What it lacks in naming originality, it certainly makes up for in view. They’re offering Picasso entry with either a two-course Spanish inspired lunch ($75), or a high tea ($55). I’d do lunch; as a little Spanish wine - like the 2009 Garnacha Tinta ‘De Casta’ Torres from Catalunya - helps unlock your brain nicely for Surrealism.
Recently I picked up a copy of Eat Streets: A Culinary Adventure Through 150 Years of Marrickville Council [RRP $20/LGA residents, $25/non-residents]. If you’ve just moved into this multicultural haven, you should probably own a copy (pick it up from your local library at Marrickville, St Peters, Dulwich Hill or Stanmore). Not only will it give you some local and historic recipes to try out on your family, it will also fill you in on the multicultural flavour of the area. You’re likely to uncover Greeks and Vietnamese in Marrickville, Portuguese in Petersham, Italians in Stanmore and Arabic speakers in Dulwich Hill which also boasts one of Sydney’s few Egyptian restaurants. You’ll even find not one, but two things to do with chokoes if they happen to grow in your backyard! My life is now complete…
While we’re talking of things that grow on (or just over) your back fence, Somer Sivrioglu invited me back to Efendy to try the loquat kebabs of Antep. He struck a bargain with his neighbour who happened to have a loquat tree, and the resulting masterpiece was quite unlike any Turkish dish I’ve had to date. As loquat season is over for another year, the closest you can get to my experience is Somer’s traditional Turkish barbeque on every Saturday afternoon between 12pm and 3pm. His charcoal cooked kebab is a far cry from the usual greasy Sydney special. It’s made with the perfect combination of lamb shoulder and belly, veal backstrap and tail fat! With the aroma wafting halfway down the street, I thank the stars for his lovely, loquat lending neighbours. The barbie will set you back around twenty bucks.
For The Love of Bread
Taking my cue from the humble sanger, what starts with bread should end with bread. My last bit of on-couch reading this week was Yoke Mardewi’s Sourdough [RRP $35.00]. Frankly I’ve been obsessed with sourdough ever since I heard the story of a Danish friend’s mother who was so hell-bent on getting her ‘mother’ starter through Australian Customs, she pinched her daughter to make her cry, distracting the bewildered officer. Yoke fleshes out why a good starter is vital, and provides a buffer against failing to feed yours at regular intervals – buying hers online! You’ll love her clear explanations and golden, crusty photos. The only thing missing is the aroma of freshly baked bread wafting as you read. I’m sure you can fix that…