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Jessica Teas

Jessica Teas

Articles (4)

The best sushi trains in Sydney

The best sushi trains in Sydney

You don’t need to top up your Opal for these trains. Kaiten-zushi (literal translation: rotation sushi, aka sushi trains) is a Japanese fast food trend that once looked to be just a blip on the Harajuku-obsessed radar of the 1990s. Instead, it grew roots in the Australian dining scene, as demand for fast, quality sushi continued to grow. And while there are some things that are ubiquitous across all track-based food delivery venues, there are also gems, if you know what to look for. All aboard! Not feeling like sushi? Try Sydney's best ramen or dumplings instead.

Mini-breaks in brewery towns

Mini-breaks in brewery towns

Maybe you like to head out into wilds on a holiday? Or perhaps urban adventurea are more your cup of tea. Either way surely we can all agree on the need for some excellent beverages when you're taking time off, which is why heading to a brewery town is such a good idea when planning a mini-break.

The legacy of German brewing

The legacy of German brewing

Want to know how long Germans have been obsessed with making good beer? A very long time. So long that they had a beer purity law – the Reinheitsgebot – in place for centuries before Captain Cook first laid eyes on Botany Bay, or the Lord Nelson – Sydney’s oldest brewery – ever fermented its first batch of beer. Bavaria’s Duke Wilhelm IV enacted the law 500 years ago this year, setting a beer-brewing standard for brewers creating quality drops across the globe. According to the BBC, as the world’s oldest consumer protection law “had three aims: to protect drinkers from high prices; to ban the use of wheat in beer so more bread could be made; and to stop unscrupulous brewers from adding dubious toxic and even hallucinogenic ingredients as preservatives or flavourings.” The original Bavarian law decreed beer could only be made with barley, hops and water, later amended to include yeast (when they realised what yeast was and its role in the beer-making process) and then further refined to read as it does today, replacing barley with malted grains more generally to give German brewers (just a little) more wiggle room. Nina Anika Klotz, editor of German craft beer magazine Hopfenhelden, says the law really came back into fashion in the last century when “German politicians saw it as a sort of unique selling point. Germans started to say ‘Well, you should buy our beer, because it’s special. It’s been brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot.’” The law only legally applies to German

Walking the hop line

Walking the hop line

Craft beer is hitting peak hop. Lip-puckering, teeth-sucking Double IPAs and their ilke are crowding out mellower offerings as brewers one-up each other in IBUs (International Bitterness Units) to prove who is the hoppiest of them all. And beer lovers are voting with their dollars and buying up the heavily-hopped stuff as fast as breweries can bottle it. But did you know it wasn’t until the 1950s that hops were farmed systematically? Editor of German craft beer magazine Hopfenhelden, Nina Anika Klotz, says that “people in the Hallertau, Bavaria started cultivating hops on a big scale. Until then, hops just grew.” Whether farmed or grown wild, hops have been crucial to brewing tasty, safe beer for centuries. Modern Times Beer assistant production manager (and former hop chemist for HopUnion) Rachel Hotchko says, “the first documentation of hops usage in brewing was in Germany around 736 AD, but other archaeological evidence suggests they were possibly utilised in areas in ancient Babylon, Greece and Rome for its herbal and medicinal properties. It was later determined that hops also provided a low level of increased microbiological stability, which meant the brews would last longer and ship farther.” The fact that hops are great preservatives is ironic when you consider just how bad they are at self-preservation. Hops need conditions to be just right to flourish. They need ample light (but not the hardcore Australian heat of a Queensland summer), lots of water and good drainag

Listings and reviews (9)

La Panchina

La Panchina

4 out of 5 stars

You can’t blink without seeing an autentico pizzeria in Surry Hills these days. There are more than a dozen within the 1km squared zone bordered by Elizabeth, Oxford, South Dowling and Cleveland. That makes pretty much one pizza parlour per thousand people in Surry Hills. It’s Sydney’s crust capital. The latest pizzaiolo to take up residence in the 2010 is longtime Sydney doughslinger Luca Mochi, whose first solo act, La Panchina (‘park bench’ in Italian) is next to Arthur Street Reserve, behind longtime pasta favourite Il Baretto. It’s a tiny space kitted out with a half dozen tables and stools squeezed next to a serious wood-burning pizza oven and an open prep kitchen. It’s small, to be sure, but the park next door is the unofficial outdoor dining area – picnic blankets covering the grass when the weather’s good, mozzies be damned. An outdoor terrace has sadly not yet materialised, but fingers crossed it happens one day, because it would double seating capacity and bring a proper Italian vibe off the main drag. Even though it’s a tight squeeze, La Panchina is inviting in a laidback way: Italian pop playing in the background, Vespa parked out front, locals sipping espressos while kids play in the park. Small tables can be pushed together for large groups, which is so much better than, say, a birthday dinner in an empty, cavernous restaurant. The simple, single-page menu is artisan rather than paint-by-numbers pizza. Where La Panchina really shines, though, is the dough. The

Verd Surry Hills

Verd Surry Hills

4 out of 5 stars

Remember the salad bar, the favoured takeaway food of the Mirandas of the world circa 1998? Don’t get that reference? That’s how long ago salad bars were cool. But with 2018 shaping up to be the Year of Self Care, it’s no wonder that the newest kid on Sydney’s clean-eating block is reinventing the concept with a menu that’ll make your vegan and macrobiotic mates weep with joy. The small Surry Hills space (there are outposts in Barangaroo and Manly as well) cleverly uses recycled wood for a wall-length bench and pastel-pink stools and tables designed to take up limited real estate. They’re great for solo diners (no more feeling like sally no-mates at a giant table) or a cosy bite for two, with an airy and relaxed eat-in atmosphere. The wooden sculpture that wends its way from the ceiling down the walls pulls together the space, as does the verdant mural winding around the entrance, to make it feel like more than just a prep counter. The shop’s billed as online only, which is a bit confusing as you can order in person. It might refer to the fact that they don’t take cash, so put away the bills and have your plastic or smartphone at the ready. Crunched for time? A few clicks via the website or app will also have your food ready and waiting for you exactly when you need to grab it and dash. With just a few bowls (aka salads) to choose from  ($12.90-$13.90), ordering in person is as streamlined as online. Overall, the food is macrobiotic-ish, and fully vegan, with lots of shredded

Lizë + Bath

Lizë + Bath

When you think about it, the CBD is really just a warren of underground food courts disguised by a cityscape. Wander around during the lunch rush and you’ll see the human inhabitants of the high rises empty into the belly of the city, making a mad dash to the hundreds of subterranean food outlets before their cubicle comrades snake their spot in the queue. But, it has to be said that there’s only so much kale one can choke down before the warm glow of white carbs beckons. That’s where Lizë + Bath comes in. It’s named for the intersection it lives under (though there’s a shinier new outlet over on Bridge Street, too). And while you won’t be visiting for the decor, this purveyor of palatable nutrition boasts a vast kitchen and an air-conditioned, bare-bones former shop space next door where you can sit and eat. Less-than dazzling digs aside, ordering from the super-short, clean-eating menu is a snap for the time and nutrient starved. Plus it’s good food that doesn't necessarily taste good for you. Fill a recyclable box of protein, veg or protein and three veg. A single protein is a scrimpers delight at $7.50 and the standard protein-and-three-veg option still comes in at a cheap and cheerful $12.50. They can’t slap marinated Petuna Atlantic salmon on the grill fast enough to quiet the hunger pangs of the midday hordes. Same goes for the gargantuan grilled chicken thighs and meatballs swimming in marinara. A panoply of vegetable-heavy sides lets you pad out your plate with every

Tap Rooms

Tap Rooms

4 out of 5 stars

Sometimes going to the Rocks really can feel like a penal colony, where punishment is meted out at soulless tourist traps amidst a chain gang of shuffling hordes from the latest cruise ship. But your pardon has arrived, and with it a peace offering of craft beers and barbecue at the Endeavour Tap Rooms. The site bears all the historic colonial markers – snug window, dark wood trim, Federation fireplaces, a warren-ish layout as befits the former British Seamens Hotel – and the aesthetic reads like an homage to HMS Endeavour’s botanist-heavy manifest with floral-leaning flair. It’s beautifully designed, polished and thoughtful, but feels a mite incongruous against a menu laden with a hearty smoked meat and beer. Then again, the more beers we down, the more sense it makes. After all, there’s probably nothing tougher than circumnavigating the globe in a wooden boat before sat nav and motors, and a lots of those guys drew flowers for a living. The most anticipated aspect of the launch – the brewery and tap room – rides sidecar to the main building, where anyone keen to work through a tasting paddle can do so without having to leg it out west. Though cocktails (including an Australian Negroni mixed with local gin) and an all-Aussie wine list at the fabulously art deco main bar have their charms, beer is the best order here. They’re sporting an infinitely sessionable in-house line-up, though just four are brewed in the 600-litre facility. Highlights are a moody smoked rauchbier that

The Lansdowne Hotel

The Lansdowne Hotel

5 out of 5 stars

Prime position in Sydney pub folklore couldn't save rock’n’roll dive the Lansdowne Hotel from shuttering in 2015. But Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham (the duo behind Mary's and the Unicorn) could, raising the dead just two years on and proving some heroes swap capes for flanno. The result of their hard work is a study in beautiful decay – like an architectural Keith Richards – honouring the building’s old bones without veering into rose-tinted nostalgia. The dead wood of shitty pub fare and the dreaded pokies have been picked clean for the choice bits, like the bar, which now fronts an open kitchen sending out classed-up junk food good enough to lure in punters on its own merits. (Read our review of Mary's Pizzeria here.) Giant rugs and real candles give you that Seattle-grunge-in-the-'90s vibe, with a black-felt pool table for extra-strength late-night vibes and a tiny square of a disco-lit dance floor. The rock-chic lovefest continues in Jess Cochrane’s sexy Playboy mod-podge pop art murals outside where indie kids are smoking ciggies like it's still 2007.  The first floor bandroom gives breath to Sydney's oxygen-deprived live-music scene - a few bucks and a wrist band get you upstairs access to the velvet banquette-lined, 250-person venue that manages to feel intimate for a folky show, but gives you room to cut loose when King Tide or You Am I are on the stage. VB and Melbourne Bitter for the old timers are tapped next to craft beers like Young Henrys and Grifter pale ale. Coc

Regiment CBD

Regiment CBD

4 out of 5 stars

Our CBD has long lived in the shadows of Melbourne’s and its warren of European laneways, but Sydney city is no longer a workaday café backwater. It’s rocking a newfound comestible cool thanks to places like the newly opened Regiment. Sure, the location is designed to suit the commuter crowd, but that doesn’t mean they’re not smashing out a surprisingly elevated menu from Lisa Northmore (ex-Plunge No. 46). Even their condiment game is impressive – typical toast-toppers like avo and Vegemite share menu space with wattle macadamia peanut butter, eucalyptus honey, dukkah, tequila jalapeño relish and bisque mayo – this is not a house of pallid paninis. Inside it’s a warm hug of a place, but we’re not talking nana comfort here - regulars at Artificer or Neighbourhood should get ready to feel café-ja vu thanks to Porter and Maple’s trademark blonde timber finishes and diffused warm light, marble countertops and coppery mirrors. Even the chevron-striped takeaway cups have style. Five Senses beans become skilfully pulled espresso shots on two shiny, white Synesso machines – the chocolatey, roasty Dark Horse Blend for your flattie, a rich, fruity, acid-forward Colombia Popayan Cincuenta for your doppio, and single-origin Ethiopia Ardi for filter orders. White coffees are balanced – no excessive milkiness – and black coffees are smooth with a nice bite to finish. The turmeric chai – a hybrid golden latte and house-made chai – has an airy, marshmallow-y texture and a sprinkle of spice,

The Midnight Special

The Midnight Special

4 out of 5 stars

By the look of this dive you’d expect peanut shells crunching under foot. Regulars – like birds on a wire – perch at the bar and a middle-American accent comes from behind it. The worn-in, down-home atmosphere, though, belies expert cocktail, beer and wine chops and sophisticated bar bites. Beers – Grifter tinnies, Feral smoked porter, Sierra Nevada pale ale – are few and good. The whiskey sour is cherry-topped cocktail perfection, and the Uptown Fat Boy (brisket-infused rye, maple syrup, bitters) is dangerously drinkable. You can also summon your inner rocker with daily half-priced happy-hour whiskey. Eat big with the deconstructed ploughman’s or a hefty croque monsieur or graze on deep-fried mushroom croquettes and briny pickled mussels. When the DJ isn’t spinning a set in the corner, live acts fill the air with rockabilly, blues and indie tunes.  Time Out Awards 2013Best Entertainment View this year's Time Out Bar Award winners 

Crooked Tailor

Crooked Tailor

3 out of 5 stars

It was a serious good news week when the Crooked Tailor opened up a small bar in the Hills District. It’s by the same crew as Pocket, Stitch and Button (see what they did there) and they’ve done a bang-up job of transplanting the invitingly shoehorned-in feel of so many inner-city bars to Castle Hill. The glass-fronted bar packs out nightly with a local crowd looking for an offline gathering place for a catch-up and round of drinks that isn’t at an unflatteringly lit, carpeted hotel. Ferns and trailing plants green up the white walls of a front room filled with chesterfield lounges. Check out seasonal drink specials scrawled on butcher’s paper next to the bar – Mother’s Ruin (gin, sloe gin, citrus and passionfruit) is a breezy summer drinker. Feeling peckish? Opt for burgers, salads, fries (particularly the polenta variety) and pork crackling from a pub fare menu with an experimental streak    

Knox Street Bar

Knox Street Bar

3 out of 5 stars

Our bartender tells us that the Knox Street Bar is meant to be a local take on a Scandinavian underground bar. We don’t spot any brooding Wallander-esque dudes or hear death metal on our visit, but the Scandidog hot dog and a full complement of akvavit (Scandinavian schnapps) on the menu – not to mention the Nordic pedigree and name of owner Bjørn Godwin – certainly supports the theme.  Happily, Knox Street Bar narrowly – yet successfully – escapes becoming a caricature. The raw, dimly-lit, industrial space peppered with scavenged objects supplys the edginess, and bric-a-brac like fairy lights, a truck grill embedded under the kitchen window (as a shticky symbolic food truck), and a rainbow-coloured cocktail wheel provide the enjoyably kitsch elements. They’re very proud of their hot dogs here, and rightly so. They’re made from a Godwin family recipe with free-range, Victorian pork and finished with Nordic toppings like mayo, sour cream, friend shallots, pickled cucumbers, dill, mustard and apple sauce. They are served from the kitchen by an amiable, attentive bartender with a welcome swiftness – she even brings the drinks directly to our table.  Want hot salty snacks to balance out a night on the tiles? Generous portions of satisfyingly truffled fries with aioli are a good shout, as is airy tempura onion rings that arrive mouth-scaldingly hot. Bafflingly, the olives also arrive piping hot – one to avoid next time. Most of the menu is hygge (cosy) food that’ll line your stoma

News (1)

Natural wine is coming to Surry Hills

Natural wine is coming to Surry Hills

Sydney’s hottest barista turns his hand to natural wines with a farm-to-bottle venture on Buckingham Street. By Jessica Teas. Surry Hills might have a reputation for being where hot young hipsters go for a rowdy evening out, but it’s also home to one of Sydney’s top wine bars – 121 BC – and it looks like bottle shop Clementine’s Natural Wines will soon swell the local wine ranks. Sean McManus – aka Sydney’s hottest barista – has a second calling it seems, and he’s on a mission to get Sydneysiders ripping corks on bottles from Australia’s burgeoning band of natural winemakers. “I want people to taste what wine is supposed to taste like,” says McManus over a bottle of Scary Gully pinot noir in the galley of his new espresso bar Neighbourhood on a recent afternoon. McManus’s ‘ah ha’ moment with natural wine came at the 2014 Australian Brewers Cup Championship in Melbourne. “We went to this bar in Fitzroy... and said bring out the fucking coolest wine that you’ve got. This big, yellow, cloudy bottle came out. It was the most mouth-sucking, gorgeous, lip-smacking bottle of wine I’d ever had… it completely changed my perspective. I was like ‘this is amazing. I need to know why this tastes so amazing.’” Natural wine is defined by the minimal amount of intervention that goes into it on both the vineyard and in the winery. “The best way someone described it to me is that this is how wine was supposed to be made," recalls McManus. “It’s like medieval wine, just crushed up grapes fermen