So somehow it’s got to November. Not that I’m complaining – this year’s been appalling.
But as we stare down the barrel of the Christmas gun, things seem to finally look a little more settled – at least in Australia. We’ve been so lucky with Covid-19 that restaurants are opening back up, bar hops are possible once more, and there are even events and awards nights happening again.
This Weekly Edition is testament to that – we’ve got a great new (well it was supposed to open in March) restaurant to tell you about, an impromptu pub crawl with our mate Kath and the AHFAs have come back at last – that’s the Australian Hair and Fashion Awards by the way.
We hope you enjoy this Edition.
Cheers – Jim & Christina xx
Tucked away in Sydney’s World Square shopping and entertainment precinct is a restaurant we never thought we’d see open. Amber, which is connected to the Rydges World Square, flung its doors open in March… for just six nights before it all closed thanks to the pandemic.
But now, things are looking up and this beautiful Aussie-focused eatery is now up and running.
Tonight we’re being treated to a feast by Amber’s head chef, Chef Parveen Prasad. He has put together a mastermind of delicacies for us to try – a five-course feast showcasing some of the kitchen’s best work.
As Parveen pours house-made lemonade onto the dry ice chips under my Pacific oysters with lime foam, lime granita, compressed pear and avrua caviar, the plate fills with smoke and the culinary theatre begins its first act.
Chef Parveen’s focus – through intention and through problematic logistics – has turned to New South Wales ingredients for his menus.
It means everything is wonderfully fresh and proudly local. It also means he can champion the best of what we can find within the state.
These are some of the other dishes we’re lucky enough to try, but you’ll have to head over to our full review to find out more about them.
And to make sure we stick to a NSW theme, we’re drinking Ross Hill wines tonight too. This winery from Orange has an delicious Pinot Gris and a sumptuous Shiraz, but the Pinnacle Series Cabernet is the best of them.
Before we leave feeling not only full but suitably impressed with Mr Prasad’s skills, he brings out one of the strangest steaks we’ve ever seen.
This is a tomahawk, which I’m only too familiar with, but this one is wagyu! Not only that, but Paveen decided to age it in Tajima wagyu beef fat.
A bit like creating a candle, Paveen has coated the meat in layer upon layer of the fat and is leaving it to age for another eight weeks. The meat by then will be incredibly juicy, but also rich from soaking up the flavours from the fat.
See you in a couple of months, Chef.
You may remember last month we were lucky enough to have a virtual tasting of some of Hardys’ beautiful wines with the winery’s head wine-maker Nic Bowen.
We tried two from the Hardys Tintara range – the 2018 McLaren Vale GSM and the 2017 McLaren Vale Shiraz (both RRP at $28.00). We also enjoyed the beautifully made 2020 HRB Riesling ($35.00 RRP) and also the magnificent 2016 Eileen Hardys Shiraz – $154.00 RRP.
We knew the wines would be good, but when Nic explained that through October, November and into mid-December 2020, you can buy any of these – any Hardys wines at all in fact – and if you don’t like the wine, you can get a full refund guaranteed.
Now that’s confidence… and well-founded it is too.
There’s no way I could say any of these weren’t up to muster. But if you’re looking at branching out in your wine buying habits, this is a risk-free way to try from one of Australia’s finest.
Today we’re out with our awesome mate Kathleen for what we thought was going to be a couple of social drinks at an interesting mash-up event in Paddington. It’s turned into much more than that.
To kick things off, we’ve made our way to ‘Rack Off’ – a collab between clothing gurus Sorry Thanks I Love You, P+V Wine Merchants and the Fish Butchery.
Past the funky racks of clothes and through a secret (but well-signed) doorway, we find this…
We grab a glass of wine each from the bar that P+V Wine and Liquor Merchants have set up (though we’re also tempted by the offer of BYO from their shelves) and find a seat.
Meanwhile, the Fish Butchery is cooking us up a very interesting snack…
Our bellies full of pretty creative wines (I have a chilled red, Christina’s sporting a savoury rosé and Kath has a rather yeasty white) and a sea urchin roe muffin, we sit back and soak up the vibe.
Next stop, we decide it’s time for rum. We make our way to Brix Distillery’s bar and kitchen in Surry Hills.
We decide to make it easy on our hosts and order a rum flight each. The flight features Brix’ new-make ‘white rum’, their golden rum, which is excellent, and their spiced rum.
To make sure we don’t fall over too quickly, we also hook into some delicious fish tacos and the last portion of their spicy chicken wings. Both highly recommended.
It’s time for a change of scenery (especially as there are no more chicken wings left at Brix) so we wander over to The Horse on Crown Street. It’s so good to be out and about again – almost like those good ol’ days before March.
It’s also awesome to be out with Kathleen. She’s so much fun and a bloody genius – she owns Aussie craft spirits distributor Nip of Courage, where she champions some of the very best small-batch whisky, gin and rum distillers around the country.
If you’re wondering what real Aussie rum, whisky and gin tastes like, choose from any of the guys that Kath represents. They’re all brilliant.
Next, we change gears a bit and travel over to Kings Cross. We’ve never been to this bar before, but Kath, who knows everyone, speaks very highly of it.
This is Dulcie’s – an old cabaret club that now also does some beautiful cocktails made with Australian craft spirits (no wonder Kath likes it here) and has the coolest vibe of any bar we’ve been in.
We kick off with some a few drinks – I have no idea what the ladies are having, but my Corpse Reviver No.2 is on point.
Soon our drinks are joined by a delicious charcuterie board that keeps us going.
I think I’ve found my new favourite speak-easy style bar though. Love Dulcie’s.
Tonight, Christina is out on her own! In her Hair Romance capacity, she’s at Luna Park’s Crystal Palace Ballroom for this year’s Australian Hair Fashion Awards – the height of accolades for this country’s hair industry.
I don’t feel too bad about Christina being out solo though. She knows pretty much everybody in the room, and we’ve got some amazing friends here too.
Case in point, Ewelina, who co-owns Sustainable Salons with her partner Paul. These guys are amazing – and not just because they’re close friends of ours!
Sustainable Salons has created methods for hair salons to not only be environmentally positive, but that actually has the ability to turn the industry into something that’s good for the environment.
In fact the only time Christina finds herself on her own is when the table she’s on has to go up on stage. This is the Dyson Ambassador team – and the reason Christina’s on this table is because she’s working closely with them at the moment, which is really exciting.
Also up on stage is Sheldon Riley, keeping everyone entertained with his remarkable singing voice between award categories.
Then it’s a quiet ferry ride home for Christina after what’s been a pretty busy weekend.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this Edition. Speak to you again soon.
Cheers – Jim & Christina xx