Published in the City Hub and City News.
Last week I made time to pop in on Tony Bilson at his thriving Number One Wine Bar & Bistro in Circular Quay. My mission was to taste his new Winter Menu, and after one mouthful of his Boudin of Crab with Pine Mushrooms, I was hooked! I enjoyed my taste of the lusty, rich Cassoulet of Ham Hock, Duck Confit and Toulouse Sausage too. As well as tweaking the menu, Tony has been nurturing talent of a more musical nature. Emerging from a darkened corner of the wine bar you’ll hear the husky, soulful voice and moody piano style of the talented Charles Smith. He’ll be playing the songs of Nina Simone, David Bowie and Glen Campbell every Friday evening in May. The combination of sumptuous French food, mood music, great wines and flickering candlelight really do make this space an attractive winter date night proposition. If you need more convincing, I have a full review coming…
Montreux Jazz Café
Music and menu sampling was also on the cards at the launch of the first Montreux Jazz Café outside of Switzerland. Katie Noonan’s crystal clear voice never wavered as she sang her heart out live in the slightly disconcerting surrounds of the Departures area of Sydney International Airport. After a few Caprioskas I started to enjoy the funky space; particular the café’s play box library of rare archival footage from the Montreux Jazz Festival four thousand odd performances. Michelin starred Chef Gilles Dupont has simplified the Swiss menu for Australian tastes, so we dined on miniature BB (King) Burgers and baby brioche steak sandwiches, before a dessert of tiny strudels and Ella (Fitgerald) Cheesecakes with blueberries. Certainly worth a look next time you’re waiting to depart…
Traditional Italian tunes from Claudio Sandrella, known locally as the ‘Voice of Naples’ cooking alla Nonna will be just some of the highlights at Domenica Italiana, Marrickville Council’s free community celebration of all things Italian. Italians, by the way, represent nearly five percent of Australian’s population. The free event, held on Sunday 23rd May, will have a ‘World Cup’ flavour. Mayor of Marrickville Sam Iskandar invites all residents to come “sample local artisan-crafted gelato or sip a cappuccino while taking in the village piazza atmosphere” at Marrickville Town Hall between 11.30am and 2.30pm.
Rebel With A Cause
Music, laughter and clink of wine glasses rang out the length of King Street Wharf last week at the inaugural ‘Dine for Kids’ event. We were all eating and drinking for a good cause though – all monies raised went directly to Variety, the Children’s Charity, who support disadvantaged Aussie kids. I was delighted to be dining with celebrity gardener Costa Georgiadis from Costa’s Garden Odyssey at George’s Bar and Grill. As well as eating my fill of golden haloumi and barbequed octopus, I got to hear about the man behind the foliage. I’m pleased to report that Costa is all about sustainability, and saving the planet; so if these issues worry you too, check out his show on SBS!
Lunch for Less
If you have champagne tastes on a beer budget, all the great winter lunch specials popping up around town must be music to your ears! Restaurant Arras in Walsh Bay are the latest to offer a deal that sees a three course lunch with a cider, wine or beer for $65/person; or a lunch main with a drink for $38/person. Options include wintery modern British favourites like a Lancashire Hotpot (cooked by a Yorkshire man); Bubble and Squeak Soup with Bacon and Chestnuts; and Bread and Butter Pudding. Chefs Adam Humphreys and Lovaine Allen make everything in-house including ten breads, chutneys and what I’m told is Sydney’s best petits fours selection. I might have to get along there myself to test that claim…