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Chinese New Year at Aria
A meal at Aria is always a special occasion, but even more so when it features a once-off menu available for just one week. From January 22-29, the fine dining establishment is offering a six-course, Chinese-inspired degustation to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The limited edition menu, designed for the occasion by executive chef Joel Bickford, showcases prestige ingredients to match the dining room’s prestige view of the Opera House. The feast opens with South Australian rock lobster, dressed with smoked apple vinaigrette, oyster emulsion and sterling caviar. This is followed by slow-cooked pork jowl, green lip abalone and king oyster mushroom in XO sauce. Red Emperor from the Great Barrier Reef comes traditionally steamed, accompanied by the untraditional flavours of creamed eggplant, buttermilk, almond and miso. Next up is organic, free range Maremma duck breast, aged in-house for seven days and glazed with cherry, black vinegar and molasses. Dessert is no less spectacular. A sorbet of seasonal blood plums refreshes the palate, served with sorrel, shiso and elderflower jelly. And finally, a showstopping red chocolate square is filled with lychee and mango and finished with gold leaf, resembling a lucky New Year gift. The Chinese New Year menu costs $260 per person; bookings are available now.
Sawasdee Thai Town Festival
There is no substitute for the atmosphere of a Thai marketplace. The heady scent of street food simmering away, stalls brimming with tropical fruits and vegetables, art, fashion, and jewelry. Take a dive into an authentic indoor Thai flea market without leaving Sydney when the Sawasdee Thai Town Festival takes over Sydney’s Thai Town on the weekend of February 8 to 9 as part of the City of Sydney’s Lunar New Year festivities. The hall of the Metro Marlow hotel in the heart of Thai Town will be adorned in traditional street decorations and filled with a bounty of market stalls and flavours from across all the regions of Thailand. Have your pad see ew and eat it too! You can also witness a Thai dance parade featuring entertainers in beautiful traditional Thai costumes, mascots, games, music and shows. In addition to the festivities, some thirty local businesses in Thai Town will be offering complimentary promotions and discounts over the weekend. Restaurants and beer gardens will be offering 10-15 per cent discounts and complimentary dishes, with massage shops, Asian grocery stores and more also offering discounts. Pick up a map with vouchers at the festival or download them from the website and present to claim your offer. You may even be lucky enough to win a trip to Thailand. Thai Airways international and Tourism Authority of Thailand are sponsoring lucky draw prizes including a return ticket to Bangkok and two nights free accommodation at a hotel in Bangkok and Pattaya
What I learned about opening restaurants in Sydney
In January of 2015, Brody Petersen, a Sydney-based restaurateur, walked into a junk shop in Long Beach, 37 kilometres south of downtown Los Angeles. Petersen and a friend were looking for items of Americana to decorate a new Sydney restaurant they planned to open, and were in the process of filling a rented truck with beer posters, artworks, knick-knacks and tchotchkes to ship back across the Pacific. An item in the store immediately caught Petersen’s eye: a big, yellow neon sign flashing a frosty beer mug, a Martini glass with an olive, and an eight ball. Petersen loved it, so he went to unplug it, unthinkingly placing his thumb on the bent earth prong. “I electrocuted myself,” Petersen says with a laugh. “I had a numb arm for about eight hours... I got the neon sign for half price because they thought I was going to sue them. It’s such a funny memory.” Going the extra mile to bring North American things to Sydney is one of the recurrent themes in the life of Petersen, a twinkly-eyed, dark-bearded Canadian in his thirties who owns and runs three Sydney venues: Riley Street Garage (in Woolloomooloo), the Village Inn (in Paddington) and Stanton and Co (in the Cannery building in Rosebery). Born in Vancouver, Petersen first came to our shores as a teenager in the early 1990s when his father, who worked for Pepsi, was transferred here. He went to school at Redlands in Neutral Bay, and on graduating decided to move back to Canada under his own steam. “I wanted to be a ski
The best Filipino restaurants in Sydney
Filipino food is influenced by a variety of culinary cultures from around the world, taking cues from Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish cuisine. But make no mistake, the dishes that are born and bred in the Philippines have a distinct deliciousness all their own. For example, there’s the famous adobo (meaning ‘marinade’ in Spanish), a dish of either chicken or pork, marinated in a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar. And then, of course, there’s halo halo (meaning ‘mixed together’ in Filipino), a cheeky dessert containing ice shavings, evaporated milk and trimmings like sweetened beans, coconut gel and ube ice cream. And don’t even get us started on crispy pata – a perfectly deep-fried pork leg, served with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce – or sinigang, a delicious sour broth of vegetables and meat of your choice. The list truly goes on and on... Luckily, Filipino food seems to be making its way to the mainstream (and rightly so), which means if you haven’t already, it might be time to jump on the jeepney and give these places a try. On the hunt for a bargain? These are the 50 best cheap eats in Sydney.
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Eat and drink your way through Parramatta
Naturally Sydney’s “second CBD” Parramatta has a thriving food and drink scene. Thanks to the delicious cuisines of the many diverse communities who call it home, Parramatta is bursting at the seams with hole-in-the-wall eateries, heaving family restaurants, and a new in-flux of uber cool cocktail bars. But where to start? Never fear, we’ve got some hot food tips under our (expanding) belts for you. Kickstart your Parramatta food trip with robust coffee and memorable brekkie. Circa Espresso has got the breakfast goods with their signature Ottoman Eggs – a Middle Eastern-inspired egg and eggplant dish given that extra zing from garlicky labneh and crispy fried sage and leek. Try a caffeinated brew with a view at the riverside Armory Wharf Café with their Sriracha eggs – a blue swimmer crab laden breakfast of champions. Top it off with a mid-morning sweet treat and ignite your Instagram likes with one of Bay Vista dessert bar and café’s towering desserts. Parramatta (and neighbouring Harris Park) is so rich with fantastic Indian restaurants we devoted an entire feature to it. Head to Billu’s Indian eatery for their signature tandoori chicken and classic thaalis, or hunt down our pick for the best biryani in Sydney from Hyderabad House. Finish your tasty trip into ‘Little India’ with a rainbow-hued treat from Chatkazz sweets or a delightfully sticky gulab jamun from Taj Indian Sweets and Restaurant. As the sun sets take your full belly to one of Parramatta’s fun bars and brew
See the Australian thriller Splinter in Sydney
This thriller by Hillary Bell follows a couple whose missing five-year-old daughter returns after nine months missing – with no scratches and no explanation. They're forced to grapple with the uncertainties of their past and move forward under enormously difficult circumstances. “There was this play that I read before it went into production at Sydney Theatre Company, which I loved but didn’t get to direct, and it stayed with me always,” Griffin Theatre Company's artistic director Lee Lewis says of Bell’s work. The original production played in Sydney in 2012, would usually count a play out of a major revival for at least a few more years, however, Lewis wanted to challenge that expectation during her time at Griffin. “There’ve been extraordinary plays that have been written over the last 20 years which aren’t old enough to be considered classics so we can’t do a ‘classic revival’, but we could just do the damn play again because it’s good.” Starring Hilary Bell’s sister Lucy Bell and Les Miserables star Simon Gleeson, this claustrophobic chamber piece questions how well we know our families. Splinter runs until October 12 at the Griffin Theatre Company. Further details and tickets are available here.