This year The Victoria Room is hosting a lavish celebration of the most loved Horse Racing Event in Australia.
On Tuesday 5th November guests will ascend the staircase with arrival drink in hand, and be transported back to a time of opulence and extravagance.
Canapes including Natural Oysters on arrival will be circulating and the Champagne flowing while we announce the ‘best dressed’, ‘lucky door prize’ and various other sweepstakes winners.
Following the main event on the big screen ‘Sugar Bowl Hokum’ will be entertaining guests with their infectious 1920′s – 1930′s Jazz.
Ticket price include: Glass of Mumm NV on arrival, Canapes, live entertainment.
Bookings essential. Please contact us on 02 9357 4488 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your spot.
One of the best, if not the best websites I’ve ever seen is a popular fashion hub which I’ve recently come across, www.Avenue24.com.au.
This website was launched in 2011 and is a shopping platform which is interactive and cleverly animated, containing all of the fabulous elements of a boutique shopping experience in some of Sydney’s very best locations.
You can browse and purchase quality and luxury items from these boutiques, which make you feel like you are virtually there.
It needs to be seen and experienced to be believed. It really has so much attention to detail, plus awesome products and specials that everyone can be a part of.
Be sure to see for yourself – www.Avenue24.com.au
Artwork by Rod Clifford
I’m really excited to announce that my favourite wine reviewer Stewart Noble is hosting another one of his very fun and popular events, The Odd and Rare Varieties tasting, on Saturday April 28th.
This event is for people willing to try something new and venture out of the comfort zones of Sauvignon Blancs, Shiraz or Cab Merlot’s and enjoy one of the most diverse collections of alternative wine varieties ever assembled into one event! Enjoy a Tinta Molle or Muller Thurgau while discovering plenty of new great Australian wineries, as well as seeing a few familiar names as well.
Stewart has sourced an amazing location that will allow you to soak up a view with your vino in one hand while being treated to a selection of fine cheese’s from Sydney Cheese mongers, McIntosh & Bowman in the other!
When: Saturday April 28th, 1pm til 4pm (As this is a tasting event there is no need to attend for the full three hours and people will be coming and going throughout the afternoon)
Where: Luxe Studio’s Rooftop, 279-283 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst
Cost: $39.95 + Handling fee
I hope to see you all there and please feel free to forward this onto friends and family who may also like to attend. Stewart is a kind and welcoming person and I know I will be in for a treat!
The first of my 10 CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS for 2011 is The Philanthropic Foodie.
The idea was conceived to create a unique Christmas gift, offering the ultimate snap shot of Sydney’s cult culinary elite. Most importantly, while devising something so innately opulent and indulgent, with all profits to be given to Sydney’s homeless charity, Youth Off The Streets.
The Philanthropic Foodie proudly introduces Love Sydney, an inspirational Christmas gift for Sydney-siders with a shared love of fine food, beautiful beverages and great living. Without doubt the coolest hamper this Summer, Love Sydney’s unique offering sources products from only award winning cult Sydney restaurants, delis and bakeries, not traditionally available in hamper format. These brands and personalities include Christine Manfield (Universal, Darlinghurst), Jarod Ingersoll (Danks Street Depot, Cotton Duck), Will Young (Campos), the Palumbo brothers (Gelato Messina), David Mcguinness (Bourke Street Bakery), Simon Johnson, the Harris family (Harris Farm Markets) and more..
Other highlights include “Bvlgari sparkles S.Pellegrino” limited edition mineral water, hand drawn Christmas Card by Sneaky Sound System’s Daimon Downey, and a freshly pressed CD album from über Sydney record label Future Classic.
With 36,000 Australian teenagers homeless this Christmas, The Philanthropic Foodie are hoping to raise $25,000 for Youth Off The Streets via the donation of all hamper profits.
I think this is an amazing gift to give or receive and all profit raised goes to a great cause at this time of the year.
The Philanthropic Foodie is available now, from $150-$250, while stocks last, exclusively from www.foodie.org.au, delivered Australia wide to your door.
MARIA VENUTI TO PERFORM AT SLIDE BAR & CABARET – THURSDAY 12th MAY
“I Am What I Am”
Following the launch of her memoirs ‘A Whole Load of Front’ and the celebration of her LXX birthday, Maria Venuti, will once again grace the stage of Slide Bar & Cabaret on Thursday May 12, 2011.
Maria Venuti’s production I am what I am, will see Venuti centre stage accompanied by her live band. Even the party girl, Venuti will illuminate the stage sharing songs and anecdotes from her glorious fifty year career. With her keen wit, glittering stage presence and exuberant character this extra special performance will keep the audience enraptured and is certain not be dim.
I am what I am performed by the flamboyant Aussie showbiz icon, and her live band will be part singing, part comedy, all entertaining! Thursday May 12 is a marvelous opportunity to witness one of Australia’s most talented and colourful performers up close and personal.
I am what I am at Slide Thursday, May 12, 2011. 41 Oxford St, Darlinghurst.
Two course dinner and show: $70 OR Show only: $30 - Doors open at 7pm for dinner, show to commence at 9pm.
Online at www.ticketek.com.au, phone: (02) 8915 1899, visit www.slide.com.au OR email: email@example.com.
On the 25th January, Sydney’s socialites including Shelly Horton, gorgeous Bianca Venuti, James Duffell, Chloe Duffell (Sabatini), Daniel Sofo (Firefly), amazing Elle Halliwell (The Insider) and many more, gathered in Darlinghurst to celebrate the launch of Lotforty Tapas Restaurant’s “Sangria Club”, sponsored by Square One Organic Vodka & Jed Wines.
“Sangria Club” allows locals to enjoy jugs of sangria for $10 or two tapas plates and a jug of sangria for $30 every Wednesday & Thursday from 5pm-11pm. Ladies and gentlemen, adorned with Spanish fans, mingled over icy jugs of red wine sangria and drooled over the refreshing white wine sangria while the live Spanish guitarist’s smooth tunes surrounded the courtyard, creating a truly festive Spanish vibe .
Two lucky girls gave the piñatas (a chilli and guitar piñata) a good beating, only to be showered with prizes such as a voucher for Lotforty’s “Sangria Club” and fabulous Valentine’s Day bracelets from Santos Wish. The night was a success, and a great way to kick off the Australia Day Eve celebrations.
For a while now I’d been meaning to go to LotForty on Kings Lane, Darlinghurst.
Well finally I went, and enjoyed every moment of this modern Spanish tapas restaurant, with Australian and Asian influences.
Tucked away in it own little nook, it’s one of the only authentic Melbourne style hidden gems of it’s type in Sydney – and it’s what we really needed. The location and the site is a real pleaser. The rustic yet alternative interior set over 2 floors, the industrial forecourt yet with the inclusion of a settlers sandstone staircase from an era long gone. But this is only a small part of the journey.
Owned by Damien Healey who has a long standing history in bars and pubs in Sydney, Lotforty is the culmination of finding the right venue at the right time and launching a well thought out restaurant concept, resulting in a fresh and relaxed approach to dining.
It’s the food that people really come here for time and time again – now myself included, I’ve been here a couple of times!
The menus came over and I looked over the delicious list of tapas dishes. What to choose? They all sound great!
Chef, Kelly has created a menu that was inspired by her experiences in traditional Italian kitchens and her international travels.
So my lovely friend and I chose a range of dishes, because they all sounded so great! Crumbed mixed mushrooms with warm cream of mascarpone topped with Gorgonzola crumble & roasted walnuts, Vegetable & haloumi skewers drizzled with marjoram vinaigrette, Oven baked chilli jam duck crepe with broccolini and tamarind plum sauce (pictured beside), topped with crispy eschalots, Fried pumpkin ricotta balls finished with cream of spinach and one of my favourites – the shallow fried baby squid tossed with lemon sea salt and chilli flakes. Absolutely to die for!
I must make special mention… The mixed fried mushroom dish and duck crepes are a MUST! I’m constantly craving them!
Now tapas dishes are generally smallish, and not a great portion, but one thing I immediately realised when our dishes came out was the portion sizes. They are like large entrees which I was very impressed with.
All of this food can’t just be washed down with Mineral water. It’s all about the Sangria at LotForty. Delicious! Be sure to grab yourself a jug (or 2) made with fresh ingredients and a generous portion of Square One Organic Vodka. Their Sangria compliments our perfect weather Sydney has been having of late. There is also a full wine list, as well as a yummy cocktail list which one day, I will make my way through! The most popular cocktails include the ‘Swedish Passion’ – a blend of fresh passion fruit pulp, caramel, apple juice and Swedish made vanilla vodka and the ‘Chambord Margarita’– Tequila and Chambord with infused sugar syrup shaken over crushed ice.
So do yourself a favour, head to Darlinghurst, get comfortable, kick back and relax with great food, great friends, Sangria and chilled out Spanish tunes – I have no doubt you will thank me.
Pros: Location location location, ambiance, relaxed, away from hustle and bustle, awesome food, great Sangria, friendly staff.
Cons: Not to much to say… I’m pretty pleased all round!
Pricing: From $7.50 to $16 for Tapas which I think is really well priced for what you get. Desserts are $12, Cocktails $15 and Sangria $20. Great prices indeed!
Final say: Great restaurant all round. Well priced, great food, hospitable staff, great location and feel. Very happy and definately coming back again, and again, and again!
40 Kings Lane, Darlinghurst – www.lotforty.com – (02) 9389 2728
Which restaurant did I recently go to for a special first date? Verde in East Sydney.
I wasn’t too sure what to expect for the first date, but when we turned up to Verde, I was impressed.
Authentic Southern Italian cuisine, the décor not so authentic Italian. It was more modernised high-end Australiana with eclectic Italian touches dotted throughout. With a small courtyard on the roof, large private dining room, an intimate booth and wine bar, it caters for any occasion.
From the moment I walked in, I felt warm and comfortable as the lovely lady at the front desk asked us to move upstairs as our table was waiting and ready. The young waiter upstairs guided us to our private little table for two, which was obviously a personal request.
We were handed our menus for food and wine. Authentic Italian food always has plenty of seafood, so I was in the mood for a white wine, and that we got. A bottle of the 2008 Indian Pacific Semillon Sauvignon which was a pleasant drop to start off the tedious task of what food to order of the extensive mouth-watering menu.
Our Head Chef, Antonio Ruggerino, has created a menu based on authentic Italian cuisine with a strong Southern Influence. Some of the recipes have even been passed on by our Nonnas’ from San Giovanni di Gerace – a small village in Southern Italy’s, Calabria.
Knowing we had a wonderful chef with Nonna’s knowledge, we realised we were in for a special treat.
We ordered for entree, the Zucchini flowers filled with ricotta and spinach, fried white bait with garlic aioli and Arancini Balls with Grape Tomato Salsa. Ok, maybe we went a little overboard, but boy was it good!
The Zucchini flowers were a great size, not too big, not to small. They were perfectly filled, not under filled and not over filled. They weren’t oily, they had a delicate taste and the filling wasn’t over powering and dominating the taste of the flower. Arancini balls – delicious! Cooked to absolute perfection. The white bait which is one of my favourite things to eat at Italian/Spanish restaurants was absolutely delicious and really crispy, the garlic aioli not overly garlicy – especially for that first kiss to end the night.
For our mains, I ordered the homemade Linguine Marinara, prawns, Vongole, Barramundi with white wine and my date got the roasted veal cutlet, rosemary potatoes, prosciutto bone marrow Involtini. My linguine was al-dente, the prawns fresh, juicy and succulent and the most delicious part was my Barramundi. The Vongole (Vongole is a tiny clam) was also yummy, although they are small, so the flavour isn’t as intense as anything else on the dish. The roasted veal cutlet was roasted to perfection and the rosemary potatoes were amazing – I’d know because I took some from the plate. What’s your’s is mine – unless it’s already mine!
We also got a small salad of rocket, pear, Pecorino, Lemon and E.V Olive Oil. This has always been one of my favourite salads. It’s super delicious if you use blue vein cheese as an alternative to Pecorino – although Pecorino is just as amazing!
So you think I’m going to spill everything on what was for “dessert” don’t you?! Well I am… Caramel and chocolate liqueur Panna Cotta with Nutella semifreddo – AMAZING! Nutella is one of my most favourite things IN THE WORLD! So I loved this dessert. I also learnt that it’s also my dates favourite too! Nutella has got to be a foundation to a long relationship right? We’ll see about that!
Pros: Pleasant and attentive staff, not too quiet and not too loud – perfect for a date, not too dark and not too bright – perfect for a date, wholesome and flavoursome food, not too expensive.
Cons: There wasn’t really anything negative that stood out.
Pricing: Entrees between $4.50 and $16, Mains from $21 to $30, Desserts all $12. The bottle we had was $39, but they range from $35 to $690.
Final say: Well the date couldn’t have gone better. I can thank some of this on the great food and the venue itself. Great food and great wine is the key to anybodies heart – I think both Italians and my date could agree with that, right?
So are you wondering if there was a second date? … There’s been many more since! (with the same person!)
Corner Stanley St & 115 Riley St, East Sydney – (02) 9380 8877
Falling In Love has never been easier. One look at it and you’re hooked. You are falling and falling and falling in love.
Ok, maybe that’s a little extreme – I didn’t fall in love that much with this light, but I have to say I do like it very much. It’s just so simple. It’s a polished black or silver aluminium sphere, with a black, yellow or red cable and blue or black nest.
Nest? What’s a nest? The next is the little piece of rubber that sits under the sphere to keep it in place and stabilised. No one wants a $649 light rolling off and smashing off the side table do they now?!
It’s a versatile light, you can use it to direct light on a specific item, you can light up a dull wall, a picture or painting, a corner or a shelf. You can use it as mood lighting or as a reading lamp. Point it where you want, because the LED’s light up so perfectly.
It’s easy to use with smooth touch buttons concealed cleanly on the back of the sphere.
Available at ECC in Darlinghurst.
My favourite Mama of all is throwing another party for us to prove that she is “Still Standing”.
Maria Venuti is holding a cabaret show called “I’m Still Standing” at Slide on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst. She is one of the most recognisable Australians with one of the most distinct shows you will ever see!
Make sure you book tickets ASAP to see Maria sing some of her favourtie songs in the live and intimate show with musical director Trevor Ashley and a three piece band.
Slide Bar, 41 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
Wednesday June 16th
- 7pm Dinner & Show $70pp
- 9pm Show Only $30pp
Tickets: (02) 8915 1899 or www.ticketek.com.au
I walked into Bondi Junction clinic, WillandPeta to meet television personality Will Fennell, who owns the clinic with business partner Peta Friend.
Greeted with an enormous smile and strong handshake, the strikingly brawn Will Fennell welcomed me into his clinic with open arms.
Will stands tall, perfect posture, tightly toned and immaculately dressed. He reminds me of a robust Gladiator. He speaks well, so polite and so refined. He has a pleasant and calming nature which is warming and gentle. I felt comfortable talking to him.
As mentioned above, he owns an amazing clinic called WillandPeta which does everything to make you and your skin look and feel it’s best. He is also a prominent television personality, columnist in magazines and also travels the world hosting events. But I’d like him to tell you all about it!
Popping over to the café across the road, I got to have a great chat to him about everything in his life…
Is there anything you are currently working on, or working on in the future that you’d like to tell us about?
Well, ‘hypothetically’, I’d love to do a book. I would love to contribute to a book on my philosophies and my philosophies of skincare. I’ve really changed over the 15 years of doing what I do away from taking my business from just doing fluffy facial treatments to using only cosmosutical products in my skincare clinic, where it is all results orientated, so the concept is that you can change your skin by using skin care and skin treatments.
I’m also working on a skincare range that I’m formulating at the moment. With skincare, you can go in two directions. You can get someone to formulate it for you, so you throw money at them and say you want a skincare range, they will formulate it, but they will own the formulas themselves, and you produce this product. Or you can go the other way, where you develop the formulas and I will own them, and they will be mine. So I can take them anywhere I want and do anything with them because they are mine. It just takes longer. I am working with my chemist to formulate the skincare range.
I have also joined the Mr. Gay World organisation, so I hosted Mr. Gay World in Oslo earlier in the year, and so I am going to Europe in September to host Mr. Gay Europe, I’m excited about doing that!
Last year I did too many things, this year I said I would only do three things. That’s all I will do, just these three things.
Who or what influences you most in fashion?
In fashion, it would be Tom Ford, with out a doubt. The classical thing about Tom Ford is that it is all incredibly simple; it’s just executed beautifully and flawlessly. All the man has to wear is a crisp white shirt and a black suit. Everything about him is incredibly simple, all of his designs are simple, and that’s me. I love that. I would prefer uncluttered and attention to detail.
What is your favourite piece of clothing or accessory?
I love Calibre clothing, Calibre make the best jeans. I love them. I’d sleep in them! When you are getting older, in your mid-thirties, you can’t wear skinny jeans anymore. You still want to wear jeans that fit you nicely, without having that skinny look. My classic look is jeans and loafers, I wear jeans and loafers all the time, that is what I feel comfortable in. Calibre makes beautiful tailored jeans that are nice enough to wear to a business meeting, but comfortable enough to wear and be semi-casual.
Is there a feature of your home that you love most?
My partner and I have a balcony outside area that overlooks Elizabeth Bay. We live in the most densely populated suburb in Sydney, but yet we have this balcony, which overlooks this little body of water, and you wouldn’t have any idea where you were. I need to see water. I don’t need to see lights of the city or anything like that when it comes to views, but if I can see, hear or smell water, that’s all for me. Water has negative ions, so it’s calming. The closer you are to sea level, the calmer you are.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Travelling. It’s something that we like to do, we like to do a country and not do this whole 7 countries in 3 weeks thing. For instance, when we go away to another continent, people ask what countries we are going to, we like to keep it quite minimal and focus on only those countries. We’ll get a train from city to city. Countries I’ve never been would be my biggest extravagance.
How did you get into what you do?
When I was about 15, I had really bad acne, so I started to see a skin therapist and I couldn’t really afford to have the treatments. She was lovely, so she said come in and visit me, and help me and in exchange I’ll give you treatments, so I knew it’s what I wanted to do. When I left high school, I was too scared to tell my parents that I wanted to be a skin therapist, so I went to University for a year, then at the end of that year I said to my mother that I am going to go to beauty school. She cried and carried on.
At that time my father had left us and I had no contact with him. At that time, my mum and I were very poor and there was no way she could afford to put me through beauty school, but then my fathers mother died, and she left me money. I got this phone call one day from a lawyer saying “you’re grandmother has left you X amount of money” and all of a sudden I had the money for beauty school. It all happened in this short period of time.
I worked my whole way through college, first off at a nursing home, then at a beauty salon in Darlinghurst. I met my business partner there, and then the following year we opened out first salon, which was called Baby Blue. I was 20, so I was the Baby, and she has the most beautiful blue eyes, so she was Blue. That’s why we called it Baby Blue.
So how did the TV career come about?
10 Years Younger In Ten Days came through DNA, one of the executive producers of the show read the magazine, and she called me and asked if I wanted to do an audition.
After Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, the salon was doing really well and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it again, but I went along anyway, went to the audition. They rang and told me to be at the audition, but I couldn’t get to it because I had a job I was contracted to in Germany and couldn’t get out of it. So that was that and I didn’t hear from them. I went to Germany, had a great time. I came back, and they rang me, and asked if I wanted to shoot the pilot. It was great because there were no nerves involved because I didn’t think it was going to happen.
Queer Eye For The Straight Guy was in 2004, the problem with that was it came about too late, they took too long to create it over here, the American version was barely getting 700,000 viewers a night, so the hype was over, resulting in just one season. From first auditions, to going to air, it took two years – that’s a long time!
Favourite place to relax in Sydney?
We live very close to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair. It would have to be one of our favourite places ever. I run around that head, it’s funny, because there’s this bit that faces Woolloomooloo where my heart starts to get this thing there, as I approach the corner, and I see the bridge and everything at the end and it’s like… I don’t know, I just get this amazing feeling every time, it never changes. This is the most beautiful place ever.
What are your thoughts on Australian fashion in comparison to International fashion?
There’s always this idea that we are a season behind. That we are a step behind it all. I don’t think that’s the case anymore. We have some fantastic designers. As I said before, I’m a jeans and t-shirt type of guy. I have a few beautiful suits, I have less lots of clothes, instead some beautiful, maybe 6 or 8 beautiful shirts.
I think the idea of us being some little country at the bottom of the world that always has last season is gone, our designers have shown the world that they can go to Europe and mix it with the best of them. I don’t think we’ll ever be taken as seriously as French Couture or Italian, I don’t think it’s in our culture as much as it is in theirs. It’s in their culture.
What’s one thing you can’t leave home without?
I have a lip balm in every single pocket in every single garment! Sometimes my partner will be like, “So which one is it today? High gloss, shimmer, lip-pumping…”
I have this great Christian Dior lip-pumper, and because I love them [lipgloss], I’ll try anything. I put it on and then next minute it works, because it has all these irritants to the skin, next thing I had these massive lips, my partner was so embarrassed by me!
There’s this idea that if you start using it, you will rely on it. The thing is, lips have no sebaceous glands, and so by nature they are incredibly dry. They still produce hyaluronic acid, meaning that they have the capability to moisturise themselves, but they have no capability of keeping the moisture in, because they have no oil glands. So you need to moisturise and you need to protect them.
Favourite beach in Sydney and why?
I’m so protective of my skin and the sun, that I don’t go to the beach all that much. But if I ever do go out in the sun, it would be Boy Charlton pool at Woolloomooloo, I love it there.
But if I had to pick a beautiful beach, it would have to be the smaller beaches on the harbour like Parsley Bay and the Eastern suburbs.
Three pet hates…
2. Hairy ears. BIGGEST faux par. Hair coming out of noses and ears. It’s so easy to remove. You can take a really handsome man and ruin everything with just a little bit of ear hair.
3. Body clipping and shaving on men. The days of men removing all their hair, it’s over now. Trim it back if you want to keep it all nicely contoured and all neat and tidy, but a big no to shaving. Imagine rubbing yourself up against someone who has just shaved, it’s like having a cheese grater on you.
How often do you eat out? Or cook at home?
I love Japanese. Japanese would be one of my favourite meals to eat out I suppose. There are some great Japanese restaurants in Potts Point, so I eat a lot of Japanese out. Apart from that, we cook most nights at home. We have a BBQ on our balcony. My partner would BBQ anything and everything if he could. He’s American, so he is used to using a big BBQ. We eat at home about 5 nights a week. We eat pizza, eat at home, or eat Japanese.
If you were Clover Moore, what would you inject money into fixing in Sydney?
We used to have a business on Oxford Street in Darlinghurst. Ten years ago we moved away because I could see it was starting to decline. And I know that she is doing her best to somehow improve Darlinghurst, the feeling on the street, the safety, you walk down at night and I don’t know how much you can do to help this, but it’s not a place I would think of going anymore. I wouldn’t think of going there to shop or for dinner or go to Darlinghurst anymore. It’s, I think, it’s lost a sense of village and anything it used to have. It doesn’t exist.
Where would you go for drinks with friends then?
Lotus bar, I love Lotus bar. The best thing is you can just ask a waitress to grab you a drink and they just do it, they’ll know what you like, or they’ll just make one for you. I drink very little, but I’ll have one cocktail. They are amazing and it’s chilled, it’s an early, not a late place, so you don’t have to head down there late. I’m not really into the bar thing so much, but a cocktail bar is nice.
What is the thing you would change most in terms of men’s mentality in grooming?
Men think it’s too hard. That’s the first thing I come across – that it’s too hard.
The reason that’s happened is because the women in this industry have made it too hard. You have these women that have all these products, which they put on before going to bed.
All you need are 3 steps in the morning and 3 steps in the evening.
You cleanse and scrub in the shower, then put moisturiser on. It seriously takes 30 seconds. It’s not hard and it’s not time consuming. The way I have programmed my clients and the procedure of using my product is making it really simple in just 3 steps. You prepare the skin by cleaning it. You treat it by using active ingredients and you moisturise it. So I think that’s it, the main thing is it’s not that hard and it’s not time consuming, and the benefits you will see in the long run are enormous.
If you start in your 20’s or 30’s looking after your skin, wearing sunscreen and using exfoliant, you will get to 40 and look in the mirror and not think someone has walked all over your face. It’s easy, wear sunscreen. Most creams reverse ageing, the only one to prevent is sunscreen.
My great friend Jessica and I recently had some great things happen in our lives, so it was decided we would go out and celebrate with dinner and drinks. I had been wanting to try Spice I Am for a while, so I thought now was the perfect opportunity to do so. She was up for it too, so to Spice I Am we went!
We arrived at the Darlinghurst restaurant on time, and were kindly greeted with pleasant smiles and then guided straight to our table.
Spice I am is a modernised Thai restaurant, owned by Sujet Saenkham.
We asked for the wine list a few times, but once we got it, the waiter was genuinely apologetic and seemed happy we were there whilst remaining professional. He was well groomed and conversed easily with us.
An appropriate amount of time was given to look over the food and drinks menu. But the waiter was a little unsure of the menu, so he had to pop back to the kitchen to get answers to our questions.The restaurant is very dark, but I am still able to read the menu, just. We ordered our food and wine and waited patiently for it, all in good time.
Our bottle of wine comes to the table, the Stefano Lubiana Sauvignon Blanc from Granton, Tasmania ($65). The wine is superb, but the bottle was placed too far from us to reach, so we constantly had to ask for it to be topped up.
We ordered a few sharing plates, all of them being mains. Gai Pad Khing – Chicken breast stir fried with ginger, shallots, chilli’s, soy bean paste and shiitake mushrooms. An impressive dish, with a great flavour sensation. I’m a fan of mushrooms and they were delightful. Jess on the other-hand wasn’t 100% convinced by the mushrooms, but she loved the next dish we got, the Massaman Curry Nua – a very rich and delicate curry. It is aromatic and the tender slow cooked beef literally melted in our mouths. The beef was so amazing, with potato and eshallot, it made it a really warming and wholesome dish. Both dishes are considerably spicy, but not too spicy for me to handle.
The third dish we got was the Gaeng Kaour Pla Bai Cha Plu because it had ginger and we both enjoy ginger dishes and we also wanted fish. A spicy red curry with delicious crispy basa fillet, wild ginger (which has a real zing!) betel leaf and cha-om leaf.
It sounds like alot of food, but we felt like something more, so we ordered one more dish. I would recommend you get 4 main meals between 2 people if you normally eat larger serves of food. We got the Goong Ma Kham – fresh Thai King prawns with tamarind sauce on a bed of Chinese broccoli. The prawns are frozen fresh from a prawn farm in Thailand, locking in the freshness and flavour. It’s a subtle flavour, with the tamarind adding a lovely sweet yet sour contribution to the dish. It capped off our meal perfectly. Prawns are always an excellent choice for me.
Growing up, as a child my mother always made tapioca, but hasn’t in many many years. So for dessert, I thought I would get the Saa Ku – tapioca pearl with coconut and dark plum sugar sauce. The sound of it made my teeth hurt! Jess didn’t get a dessert because she was apparently full. But that didn’t stop her from poking at my tapioca. It was very sweet, but not so sweet my teeth hurt. It was a nice portion and presented nicely.
Pros: The food is flavour filled, lots to choose from and many different spices and textures between the dishes. The beef massaman curry.
Cons: Having to look for someone to fill our glasses of wine, maybe a little too dark, but not as dark as Spice Temple. Service could be a little more attentive, but it is in no means poor.
Pricing: Entrées from $4 to $16, Mains from $28 to $38, Desserts from $10 to $20.
Final Say: It was good that the chef came over to the table to introduce himself to us, the staff were very sweet but only after you made comment on something (such as the wine), the food is worth the price, the ambiance is average – good for a first date or somewhere that can break the silence. Overall it is a good restaurant, both food and venue presented nicely. Not the best, but definately not the worst. The food is definately what will bring me back again.
296-300 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst – (02) 9332 2445
Intricately decorated, this funky looking, almost crazy Alice in Wonderland styled chandelier is the creation of Ulrich Beckert and Georg Soanca-Pollack called Poppy Deck/Wand by Serien.
The extravagant chandelier has 15 arms with hand-blown glass and flexible bi-metal leaves. The amazing thing is that the leaves open up a couple of minutes after the light is switched on.
It’s kooky and and slightly eccentric, but it’s just beautiful and so well made. Definately a piece to draw attention in most homes. It commands alot of attention! Something else that will get your attention is the price – $3799.
You can see it at ECC Lighting and Furniture on Flinders St, Darlinghurst.
Photos by Adrian Erdedi
I’ve found the coolest coffee table ever! The Adelta Screw! So cool, so funky, so perfect for the creative person with a creative mind.
When I look at them, I love them. If it suited my apartment, I would have it with out a doubt. It’s like something you’d see on First Wives Club.
Made of fibreglass and available in 5 colours and 2 sizes, it could make a great talking point. Having been around for almost 20 years, it’s not something that’s fresh and new, but the fact that it’s iconic proves it’s style that stands the test of time.
Check it out at dedece – 263 Liverpool Street Darlinghurst – (02) 9360 2722
As I stepped over vomit on the colourful Oxford Street, I wondered where the hell my friend Eve was taking me to dinner.
Walking up the street towards Paddington, I notice a shop front with dark bronze curtains in the window and deep lighting through them… That is where we are going – Rambutan.
We cross the road and walk into the dark and arcane looking restaurant you are immediately greeted by a sweet maître d’, who asked what name our reservation was under. “Your table will be ready shortly, please take a seat downstairs in the Tiki Lounge and we will come and get you once your table is ready”. We accept and happily move downstairs into the stunningly appointed Tiki Lounge. Quite often when you are asked to wait at a restaurant, you get a bit impatient, you might Visit FoxyBingo or get out a book to read. In this case because the maître d was so charming and the atmosphere was so welcoming we didn’t think twice about waiting. Passing the kitchen, you smell fresh ingredients. A Rambutan & sorbet bellini and a coconut & kaffir lime daiquiri carnavale coming up! Amazing cocktails by some of the best bar tenders I’ve seen work their magic behind the bar.
After a quick catch up with Eve over cocktails, we are called to our table. A cosy little table in the front window.
The venue is packed, but it’s not feeling like it’s over-crowded. It’s noisy, but it’s not unbearable. It’s the perfect environment for the moods we were both in.
So what kind of food do the attractive owners Joe and Milena serve at Rambutan? It’s Southern Thai food. The décor really throws you off as it actually looks nice (where most Sydney Thai restaurants look pretty cheap).
Looking over the menu, I read each item and take notice of the interesting ingredients. The meals are designed to share, so Eve and I pick a couple of entrées and a couple of mains.
Entrée -Betel leaves (Miang) with smoked trout & grilled chilli eggplant relish and steamed dumplings with chicken, prawn, sweet corn and plum sauce.
Main - Wok fried King prawns with pong gari coconut cream, baby corn and curry leaf and Braised wagyu beef, flat noodles, Vietnamese mint and black vinegar sauce.
The Betel leaves were carefully constructed, and superbly presented. Spicy, yet manageable. The relish works perfectly with the spice and the trout – it was so easy to eat, and so flavoursome. Not a huge portion, but very huge in taste. The steamed dumplings are so delicious too. As it is, I love chicken, prawns and sweet corn, so mixing them altogether and adding a sweet plum sauce with it, was just heaven for me. I would have been happy having this as my main, just alot more of them!
The pong gari coconut cream has an intricate flavour. Pong gari has something like 6 or 7 spices in it, so mixed with the coconut cream, they complemented eachother well, giving a wholesome texture for the king prawns, which for me take alot to fill me up! For something different, we got the Wagyu beef. The amazingly marbled meat was tender, with the taste of mint, but there was a spice in there that I just couldn’t guess. Whatever it was, completed the dish. It tied the sauce, the beef and the noodles together.
Of all the dishes, I most enjoyed the dumplings. I could have had them as a main and the king prawns as an entrée and feel perfectly filled.
Leaving space for dessert, I had a look at the menu again. Only three desserts to choose from? That suprised me a little, considering some of the restaurants I’ve been to lately have a huge range of desserts. I ordered the young coconut jelly with vanilla bean and passionfruit. It was then I realised it’s about quality – not quantity. This dessert was just incredible. The thing I loved most was the way they worked with the texture to get the most out of the presentation and the teaming of ingredients. In my mouth, its felt as good as it tasted.
Will I go back? Yes I would. It’s great for after work drinks and dinner, watching people rushing around after work down below and relaxing with friends in a contemporary venue.
Pros: Communal and tight layout makes you feel cosy, design and décor, service and bar tenders.
Cons: Such a great restaurant in such a dodgy part of town – but maybe that’s what adds to the charm of it? Sort of like the best house in the worst street. Expensive for Thai food, but it’s justified once presented and tasted.
Pricing: Entrées from $4 to $25, Mains from $8.50 to $34 (then there’s the market price whole fish), Desserts from $9 to $12. Cocktails are all around $16, with some exceptions, Sangria – $36. White wines from $36 to $64 a bottle, Red’s from $48 to $64 and Champagne $108 to $340 a bottle (or $18 for a glass of Mumm Cordon Rouge NV).
Final Say: Cool, calm, communal and collective. Unique and enjoyable food. Catch up with friends sort of place. Maybe not a quite date, but definately a second or third date restaurant.
Rambutan – 96 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst – (02) 9360 7772
Each day when I leave work (usually with a headache), I drive home, drive into my garage, hop in the lift, get to my floor, where I instantly smell my apartment. It’s pleasant, soothing and I love opening my big front door to find my personal and private space being infused by my Magnolia fragrance diffuser by Scented Space.
It’s a calming, but bodied scent, which has abit of an old world cottage charm to it, but fits in nicely with my eclectic décor. I have found that finding a scent to match a home is a hard thing to do. You don’t want coastal scents in a quaint cottage in Balmain, or the scent of vanilla in a clinical and polished concrete apartment in Darlinghurst. Matching is important to complete a space.
Scented Space have a range of 20 scents to choose from and are exclusively sold at Myer for $34.95.
You really can’t go past having this designer piece in your home. It’s small and compact, but boy does it turn heads and attract your eyes to where ever it is situated in a room.
From the amazing lighting and furniture designer Ron Arad, this is just another exceptional piece of art to add to his collection.
Pizza Kobra you wonder? It’s simple. There are hinges between each of the moving parts, and doesn’t use any screws – it’s uses friction. It’s construction is strong and sturdy, made of steel and aluminum, finished with chrome.
You can move each of the many hinges in any direction, to create a unique sculpture.
Pizza – because it can be flattened to look like a pizza when not in use. Kobra – because it mimics the stature of a Cobra, standing tall to deter the predator.
I love this lamp, it is so amazing to look at, fun to play with and with the 6 cool white LED’s built into it’s ‘head’, it looks phenomenal – giving off a great amount of light.