Watsons Bay, Hayman’s gin supper & My Favorite Murder Sydney

What a wild and wonderful week it’s been. We’ve got all sorts this IG Edition: sunny walks along the Sydney coast, gin-filled evenings with 5th-generation distillers, visitors from interstate, murder fanatics, cigars, bars and pizzas!

I love weeks like these; when you never really know what’s coming up next. We hope this IG Ed keeps you as entertained as it has us, and we’ll chat again soon.


Jim & Christina x

With the weather warming up, we’ve decided to take a trip out to Watsons Bay on Sydney Harbour today. The water at the bay is absolutely stunning – though I think it’s still a bit too chilly to swim in spite of the sun.

The views out from South Head over the harbour and west towards Sydney city are stunning. The little park is a popular picnic spot, and it’s perfect for watching the NYE fireworks too – though it gets pretty packed.

A bit further round from the park are the cliffs that look out over the Pacific. Mrs Romance doesn’t usually like getting this close to the edge of cliffs, but she’ll always take things a bit further for a photo op!

The Hornby Lighthouse on the southern entrance to Port Jackson and Sydney Harbour is so cute. It was the third lighthouse to be built in New South Wales and has stood here since 1858.

This point is a popular spot for whale watching the winter and for seeing the sunrise too.

On our walk back to Watsons Bay, lunch and the ferry home, it’s my turn for a photo. Love the views out from the coast here down from South Head Heritage Trail and Camp Cove.

Camp Cove itself is a beautiful protected beach popular with locals. There are some that are brave enough to face the chilly spring water. I think I’ll stick with enjoying the view from solid ground!

Back at Circular Quay, the rally for marriage equality has arrived from Town Hall. Love this girl’s banner!

We’ve got everything crossed that this ridiculous plebiscite makes the government see how stupid the law is. And why there even needs to be this poll that’s costing so much money to run when the government just needs to have the courage to make a decision on its own.

We try not to involve politics in the things we talk about here on our site; I don’t think it’s the right platform for it. But this marriage equality issue really needs to change. Here’s to a yes majority and a government that will act accordingly.

This evening, Mrs Romance and I are going our separate ways! I’m hopping in this very cool London taxi for an evening of gin, while she’s off to a live podcast with our friend Carly from Smaggle and Crochet Coach.

If you’re in Sydney, you’ve probably seen a few of these black cabs driving around recently. London Taxis AU is a relatively new taxi firm who have a couple of hundred of these cabs already here and are set to get more out on the streets soon.

There are few things I love about this new brand – apart from the nostalgia of getting into a good old London cab. These cars fit 5 people, they’re much more spacious than regular cabs and they’ve got killer turning circles, perfect for getting out of tight spaces.

You can also book them through lots of different ways. You can go through their own booking site or with this new taxi app Rydo, or you can hail them on the street like a normal taxi. They also run the same rates as other taxis – they’re not more expensive, which I thought they were.

Well worth checking out – especially if you need to fit 5 people.

Now to the main event: I’m in Woollahra at the Lord Dudley Hotel – a pub that’s about as English as the London taxi that brought me here – to explore the realm of Hayman’s Gin – another English icon.

I’ll be tasting 5 different gins from Hayman’s tonight – but I think this one’s going to be my favourite: the Family Reserve is slightly oaked, which gives the gin a slightly creamy flavour and texture, and a lightly golden colour.

This evening is the launch party of a new event that’ll run throughout October ’17 called the Hayman’s Supper Club here at the Dudley.

Here’s what’s on offer:
$25 for entrée and a cocktail
$40 for main and a cocktail
$60 for entrée, main and 2 cocktails

This evening though, things start with a gin tasting with Hayman’s Gin’s own James Hayman – a 5th-generation master distiller and whose great great grandfather started the brand. This makes Hayman’s the longest running family-owned gin distillery in England.

As we work our way through the different gins laid out in front of us, James takes us through the history and process of each drink. All the way from where Old Tom gin gets its name to why Navy Strength gin is always over 57%abv.

It’s a fascinating (and delicious) way to spend an evening, and the room upstairs here at the Lord Dudley is stunning.

After the gin tasting, we move downstairs to the Dudley’s Garden Restaurant, which is where the Hayman’s Supper Club will be held too.

This room has a much more Australian feel to it with the sandstone walls and greenery. I’m looking forward to trying the food and cocktails. The cocktails, by the way, are all made using Hayman’s gins and overseen by the eminent Mike Enright – owner of Sydney’s best gin bar The Barbershop. What a lovely guy.

The first dish to come out is and entrée of cured salmon with crème fraiche, black grapes, strawberries and toasted brioche, which is superb.

We also get to try the entrée of pork, veal and pistachio terrine with pickles – also delicious. The paired cocktail with this dish is a negroni using Hayman’s classic gin, which is excellent.

However, James mentioned earlier that the Hayman’s sloe gin makes a great negroni too… I think I sense a new cocktail recipe and some experimentation coming up. Watch this space!

This is my favourite cocktail from this evening: the Hayman’s Mediterranean Spritz. The sprig of thyme takes the sweetness out of the Old Tom gin and Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic to balance things perfectly.

This cocktail is paired with some pan-fried sand whiting, which don’t last long enough for a photo!

The piece de resistance arrives: the Morrool Creek lamb rump on bed of crushed peas and rich gravy. This is absolutely incredible – and paired with a Hayman’s sloe gin and lime tonic.

Finally to finish the meal (and me) off, a cheese board! It’s been a wonderful evening – even though Mrs Romance isn’t here to join in (her loss by the way).

If this is evening has been even the slightest indication of what the Hayman’s Supper Club is going to be, I’ll be heading over to the Lord Dudley on a regular basis throughout October.

While I’m sipping on delicious gins from the old country, Mrs Romance and Carly are at the other end of town at Circular Quay getting a couple of drinks in before their show.

They’re at Hacienda Sydney, a very cool bar with a Miami/Cuban vibe. This bar is part of the Pullman Hotel that overlooks Circular Quay and has some of the most amazing views of the Harbour Bridge.

It’s the perfect setting for a glass of wine or a margarita before a show in the Opera House – which is exactly the plan tonight.

Mrs Romance and Carly are at the Sydney live showof the podcast series My Favorite Murder. They’ve been following Georgia and Karen through their broadcasts of stories about true crimes and psychopaths for ages – Carly even went to one of the Melbourne shows earlier in the month.

Carly has flown up to stay with us specifically so she can be here tonight.

They’re big fans… I just hope Mrs Romance isn’t using this show as research for a more practical application!

After the show, Mrs Romance and Carly are so excited that they get to go backstage to meet Karen (right) and Georgia (left). Carly’s even put her crochet skills to good use and has ‘knitted’ (she’ll hate me for that) little figures of the My Favorite Murder ladies for them.

Later, when I get home, Mrs R and Carly can’t stop talking about meeting them and also how they somehow ended up at the front of the queue to meet Georgia and Karen. As I said: they’ve big fans.

Tonight, I’m out with my mate Pete for a much-anticipated catch-up. We haven’t seen each other in months and months, and we’re excited about a new cigar-friendly venue we’ve found in Darlinghurst.

As it turns out, the one we initially meant to go to was shut, but by happy chance Stanley’s Bar is open and super friendly.

We sit down with a bottle of Fat Bastard Malbec and spark up in the outdoor area at the back.

They only serve snacks here at Stanley’s but as our new mate Andrew explained from behind the bar, we can go and grab some takeaway and bring it back here. That’s exactly what we want to here. What a fantastic place!

We pop down the road to Bar Reggio – a pizza institution here in Darlinghurst – and bring back a flat-n-round each. This is perfect!

After an excellent pizza, a superb Montecristo No.2, some excellent cocktails thanks to Andrew and a lot of laughs with Pete, it’s time to hit the road.

Andrew’s final farewell before he locks the doors for the night is quite special! I hope he sees this pic!

Stanley’s hasn’t been open long, but both Peter and I are sure it’ll be a regular destination for us for years to come. Here’s to Stanley’s!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s IG Edition. See you again soon!

Jim & Christina x

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