Chantel (they/them) is a queer, non-binary, neurodivergent, disabled, vegan human who studies sociology and power structures. They enjoy writing about the lighter side of life – ie. theatre, arts, and good food – with a distinctive viewpoint.
The best vegan restaurants in Sydney
People are choosing plant-based eating for its softer step on the Earth, concerns about animal cruelty, and the health benefits of vegetable-rich diets. Plus, there's been a rise in flexitarian diets – you might not be a full-time vegan, but where you can, you opt for more plants on your plate. Only a few years ago, vegan dining meant a whole lot of pulses and sprouts, but now Sydney is home to plant-based burger shops, classic Italian pizzerias that showcase cheese and meat alternatives, gelato shops that favour coconut bases, and a growing contingent of fine diners offering fancy degustations for vegans. Below, we've rounded up the best vegan restaurants in Sydney. Cool with eggs and dairy? Check out the best vegetarian restaurants in Sydney. Got a mixed group? Head to one of the best restaurants in Sydney. On a budget? Have a look at the best cheap eats in Sydney. Want to shop sustainably? Check out our guide to ethical shopping in Sydney here.
The 22 best vegetarian restaurants in Sydney
Long gone are the days when mushroom risotto was the only option on Sydney menus for vegetarians. Okay, so a few places are still championing that veggo staple, but if you know where to go you need never set eyes on it again. Not all of these restaurants are exclusively vegetarian, but everyone on this list is serving the kind of exciting, delicious vegetable-based fare that will make you reconsider meat in favour of a whole head of cauliflower, a perfect pizza or a totally plant-based degustation. If you're a dedicated herbivore, you can find Sydney's best vegan restaurants.
Our biggest takeaways from All About Women 2023
This year the Sydney Opera House dropped what they called the biggest All About Women festival yet. Some 22 talks and workshops took place under the iconic building’s white sails on Sunday, March 12 – bookmarked by an Opening Night Gala headlined by Eryn-Jean Norvill (star of STC’s The Picture of Dorian Gray) on Saturday, March 11, and a concert by feminist punk pioneers Bikini Kill on Monday, March 13. An annual festival of ideas like this can often operate as a compass that illuminates the biggest social conversations of the past year, and points towards where we’re heading next. In 2023, the festival continued to push the envelope of more inclusive representation, welcoming trans and non-binary people onto panels to join in on discussions about gender and power. Two talks that drew the biggest crowds were Actually Autistic, a panel prompted by the rising awareness of how autism presents in women and non-binary people, and Jennette McCurdy: I’m Glad My Mom Died, an Australian exclusive conversation with the best-selling author and former child star. The Opera House was a bustling and invigorating place to be on Sunday, with the conversations that you’d strike up with strangers in the lift or while waiting for coffee being some of the best moments. It was inspiring to participate in, also a privilege – and, also, kinda overwhelming! Many of the talks clashed and overlapped. If you were able to afford the admission fee (which, after the booking fee, added up to nearly $40 pe
Chloé Hayden: “You start thinking… Am I a mistake? Am I a glitch?”
Award-winning Australian actor and advocate Chloé Hayden is no stranger to speaking up and standing out. She is best known for her role as Quinni Gallagher-Jones on the 2022 Netflix reboot of Heartbreak High. However, her contributions extend far beyond the entertainment industry. She is also a disability rights activist, author, and a prominent social media personality. Recently, Hayden sparked a national conversation around accessibility in public spaces – she made headlines for calling out Melbourne's Marvel Stadium after being denied entry to the stadium’s sensory room at the Harry Styles concert because she didn’t appear “Autistic enough”. She has also given testimony at the Disability Royal Commission, and has recently released her debut novel Different, Not Less: A Neurodivergent’s Guide to Embracing Your True Self and Finding Your Happily Ever After. Question what you're not seeing. Question what you don't naturally believe to be the truth. At the 2023 All About Women Festival (Mar 10-13) at the Sydney Opera House, Hayden is a panellist on Actually Autistic: Women and Non-Binary People on the Spectrum, a talk that also features Grace Tame, Dr Jac Den Houting and Dr Amy Thunig. We caught up with Hayden ahead of the festival to talk about representation, sensory spaces, TikTok and her love of sharks. Chloé, you give so much of your time and energy to answering other people's questions about Autism accessibility and equity. What questions do you wish other people would
Listings and reviews (4)
Beef carpaccio sprinkled with horseradish, anchovy, figs, fried capers, parmesan and grissini; morcilla blood sausage on creamy pomme de purée with a buttery soubise sauce; and slow-braised meatballs in creamy and fragrant salsa de almendras – these aren't the types of dishes that come to mind when you imagine an entirely plant-based menu. However, the mastermind behind Melbourne's beloved Smith & Daughters, Shannon Martinez, has yet again brought innovation and adventure to vegan dining. It's no secret that Sydney's plant-based dining options have diminished since the pandemic, with more than ten vegan eateries closing over the past 18 months (including ramen haven Lonely Mouth in June 2022 and beloved yum cha joint Bhodi in August of the same year). Alibi (inside the Ovolo Hotel at Woolloomooloo) didn’t go untouched. Regulars may have noticed the absence of celebrity chef Matthew Kenney’s signature Los Angeles style from their menu, which left a giant eight-course chef’s tasting menu-sized hole in our stomachs that needed to be filled. So Martinez's first foray in Sydney couldn’t have come sooner. Despite the fact that she isn’t vegan herself, she’s Australia’s poster girl for plant-based eating. She’s published three vegan cookbooks, is at the helm of three Melbourne plant-based eateries – Lona Misa, Smith & Deli, and the aforementioned Smith & Daughters, and has rolled out pop-ups and restaurant takeovers across Australia, including at some of Sydney's most popular spot
I Want It That Gay
There is no denying the power of nostalgia. This complex emotion enables us to reflect on the past and contextualise where we are today. Lately, the zeitgeist has been inundated with millennial nostalgia. We’re dreading the return of low-rise jeans and squealing with excitement at the resurgence of groups like The Sugababes and My Chemical Romance. But what happens when you reflect on the past and struggle to see the person that you are now? Luckily, comedian Cara Whitehouse and sometimes drag king Anna Gambrill are here to take you on a sentimental pop culture journey that has been rewritten the way it should have been: queer. Part trauma therapy and part educational satire, I Want It That Gay explores the deeply relatable (and deeply queer) lived experiences of Cara and Anna via pop bangers. Destiny's Child’s ‘Say My Name’ is reappropriated to explore the disappointment of being misgendered with the parody spin ‘Say My Pronouns’. The Backstreet Boys’ 'I Want It That Way' is used to convey the exploration and celebration of one's sexuality. An interpretation of 'The Rainbow Connection', famously sung by Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Movie, highlights that truly everything is gay if you try hard enough to connect the dots. Gambrill looks at home behind the white grand piano, delivering powerful vocals with ease. But this isn't a totally stripped back set – wigs, pride flags, and a variety of hats are deployed – and Cara, in all their self-awareness, even pulls out a ukule
Jamila Main is many things – an actor, an award-winning playwright and disability advocate. But they are not a sporty person. When Main imagined their life as a child, they didn't imagine their twenties would be filled with doctors and Tupperware crammed with medication. No one imagines what a life of disability and chronic illness is like, but when have we seen an adequate representation of all that it could be? In Benched, an innovative new theatre show created by and starring Main, they aim to open up our perspectives. The latest addition to the Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s ground-breaking access, equity and inclusion work, Benched provides us with an intimate look into the life of someone living with a disability and the battle that exists both externally with society and internally with their body. As you walk into the theatre, you are transported to a sporting oval in the late hours of a cold winter's night. Fog lingers in the air.The Eternity Playhouse stage, covered in astroturf, features a single wooden bench with Main sprawled across it. Next to them is a container full of orange quarters – something that anyone who spent their childhood on a field in the Australian summer would appreciate. The traditional barriers of the theatre don't exist here. The piece is temporal, interactive, and immersive, with a rotating roster of special guests joining Jamila on the bench throughout the season. Special guests are invited to the bench for a conversation and asked to c
We all have those little things that get us through the mundane and sometimes uncomfortable motions of life. But choosing to ignore the things that eat away at the fibre of our being comes at a cost. Triple X is a profound and commanding new Australian play that asks us to question how much of ourselves we are willing to sacrifice for the pursuit of happiness and the people we love. It’s been a long time between works for the two-time award-winning playwright, comedian and proud trans woman Glace Chase. After a pandemic-induced hiatus from Brisbane’s Queensland Theatre and multiple delays in 2021 for its Sydney opening, Triple X is on a mission to provide audiences with a trans love story that’s actually told from the trans perspective. It is, of course, absurd that providing a trans person with the opportunity to create work around their lived experience is somehow groundbreaking. Transness has been in the public eye a lot lately, from J.K Rowling’s senior moments on Twitter to Mark Latham’s Parental Primacy and Religious Discrimination Bill, but the voices of trans people themselves are also missing from public discussions. It seems like now is the perfect time for Glace to retake the spotlight. Triple X was developed through Sydney Theatre Company’s Rough Draft program, which allowed Glace to reveal a deep level of vulnerability in the public arena, drawing on her own experience of working in the New York drag scene and the challenges of pursuing love as a trans woman.
Sam Smith’s Gloria tour reaches its euphoric peak in Sydney ★★★★★
The evolution of Sam Smith has reached its euphoric peak through the Gloria tour. This curated three-part experience of Sam’s discography takes you from their early days of stripped-back soulful songs of heartbreak, starting with ‘Stay With Me’, through the uncomfortable growing pains of learning to love themself, and to a celebratory round of queer discotheque, ending on a high with ‘Unholy’. Smith kicked off the two-date Sydney leg of their world tour at the Qudos Bank Arena on Friday, November 3. Featuring Australian-grown Meg Mac as their supporting act – who provided a suitable warm-up with her soulful and emotive music which speaks to Smith’s early work. Sam is an artist who has lived out much of their personal and professional journey in the scrutinising glow of the public spotlight. A nod to the non-binary singer’s growth and commitment to personal truth in spite of this comes early on, when the lyrics “cause I’m just a man” in ‘Stay With Me’ are updated to “please baby understand”. Meanwhile, their vocal performance is as strong as ever. As crystal clear as a mastered studio recording, their voice is like brown butter – it goes down smooth, but you can feel every tangy grain of grit and pain. A beacon of megawatt stage presence, Sam simultaneously has a relaxed charm. View this post on Instagram A post shared by SAM SMITH (@samsmith) The Sydney dates fall towards the tail end of the Gloria world tour. Despite this, the stage is full of energy. As
Opinion: If Sydney is 'dead', who signed the death sentence?
Last week the Sydney Morning Herald published an opinion piece with a bold statement declaring “Sydney has died”. The author, stuck on a train for two hours between North Sydney and Central, was inspired to declare the city “cancelled”. He goes on to outline that Sydney no longer offers nice weather, public transport is in tatters, pubs are being bought by Merivale, Oxford Street is still a bit quiet, and a popular late-night Indian takeaway almost got shut down. Ergo: “What is the point of the city any more?” OK, so being stuck on a stalled train is no fun. And to be fair, the author admits upfront that his is an emotional argument – “you should never make a decision when you’re angry”. But if we accept the conceit that Sydney has indeed died, it begs the question: who or what killed it? Because to me, the piece actually reads as an angry commuter taking out his frustration on a city battered by climate change, government miststeps, and a growing class divide. While many of the SMH article’s points are valid, they don’t acknowledge that the inconveniences suffered here are symptoms of much broader issues. He’s complaining about flooded train lines instead of worker conditions and climate change. Dying retail districts are angrily decried, rather than gentrification that prices local residents and business owners out of rental markets (not to mention a rising cost of living that leaves many with little to spend within their local economy). ‘Over-regulation’ is listed as a vi