SO FRENCH, SO CHIC

This weekend the French celebrate Bastille Day. It’s an opportunity to be patriotic, and wave the flag and for the rest of us to celebrate French culture - which includes wine, food, art and fashion. For ‘Francophiles’ all things French represent the pinnacle of culture and, you have to hand it to the French, they do know how to eat, drink and dress incredibly well.

Here is a short, completely subjective list for the Bastille Day Weekend Vibe you’re bound to be searching for.

WINE - its practically a way of life in Eastside and our favourites for a tipple include Rosé Royale a (world first) wine bar and restaurant dedicated solely to the Rosé wine. With more than 70 Rosé from around the world and a French inspired food menu this bar is situated in a terrace in Kellet Street, with an outdoor garden area just right for a summers afternoon. This winter, there’s a mulled Rose lunch every Saturday and all-you-can-eat Tartiflette on Sunday.

Wine is the focus at Lankelly Laneway bar Dear St Eloise although lately they have been giving opportunity to up-and-coming junior chefs with a new series of Monday night suppers. Expect to be wowed by the 400+ wine list, but don’t be afraid to ask for advice and try something new here - you’re in good hands.

The Bishop Wine Bar in Surry Hills has a lot going on, with specials deals and offers every day. But it’s the substantial range of their French Pinot Noir that have us coming back for more in this chic Crown Street venue.

rose royal, bishop wine bar,

FOOD - a relatively new player on the scene Métisse brings an impressive all-French team to Potts Point, with nine Michelin stars between them. Situated in the ‘gaudi-inspired’ building on Roslyn Street, Metisse is sophisticated yet affordable French dining with degustation and à la carte options available from Tuesday to Sunday, from 5pm.

Bistro Rex has been a favourite since opening. Oozing casual insouciance and always bustling, this take on a Parisian Bistro with its classic tiled floor, leather banquettes and copper trims is in the heart of Potts Point and offers daily specials, classic bistro fare and a happy hour in the early evening. Open 7 days per week, the share menu Le Banquet is the way to go for a little taste of everything.

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Macleay St Bistro is another local institution that has weathered the storms, the comings and goings, the ups and downs of the neighbourhood. Situated at the “paris end” of Potts Point, MSB has been serving up classic French Bistro stalwarts for over 30 years. Favourites include steak tartare, onion souffle and creme brulee. There’s a weekly blackboard specials menu and BYO is an option too.

et al. is the kind of restaurant every neighbourhood needs, with its casual yet perfectly executed menu reflected in the ambience. Indoor and outdoor seating face the bustling Llankelly Laneway - perfect for people watching. Early dining 5-7pm offers two prix fixe menus ($37/$47) and winter sees the mulled wine back again. They’re also offering Bastille Day dinners all weekend.

Still at the “Paris End” of Potts Point (locals like to think that it all gets a bit more sophisticated heading north on Macleay St, past the fountain) a few new shops springing up are definitely bringing back style in the fashion stakes.

Check out Baz Inc and by freer, two new players in the ‘hood that we talked about recently. Plus Mon Petit Chou, Macleay on Manning for kids clothes, Becker Minty for uniquely curated fashion and homewares, Booty for shoes, Skarfe for the best selection of scarves of all sizes and styles. Most of these shops have online availability but stroll along Macleay St with a glass of wine and the end, is a nice way to spend the day. Make sure to check out the Potts Point Galleries a veritable treasure chest of antique furniture, clothing, jewellery and homewares.

skarfe

EVENT - Ooh La La!

Its Bastille Day on Sunday and Sydney is gearing up to celebrate all thing Frenchy and Chic this weekend with the Bastille French Festival kicking off today for four days down at The Rocks (just a train ride, bus or stroll from Eastside Sydney).

There’s Christmas in July Markets, Wine and Cheese Feasts, Live Music, Cinema, an Alpine Ski Village, Pop Up Bars, a Mulled Wine Chalet, a Parisian Food Village and plenty of stuff to keep the kids entertained as well.

This Festival pretty much ticks all boxes - food, wine, cinema, music - all done in le style francais!

You can catch us at The Mulled Wine Cinema - warm wine, a blanket and a deck chair for movie watching under the stars. Maybe pick up a treat or two at the Parisian Food Village for cinema snacks :)

bastille festival

EAT & DRINK - CROISSANTS

Eastside Sydney has the best restaurants, bars, bakeries and clothes stores in this city, with more than one giving a nod to “Le Style Francais”.

Let’s start with the CROISSANT…

For the best croissant in town you absolutely cannot go past Nadine Ingram’s buttery croissant. At $6 per item, the Flour & Stone croissant has had some debates raging online recently - can you justify paying $6 for a croissant? Nadine thinks you can and defends her price point by pointing out the high quality ingredients she uses (pepe saya butter and country valley milk included) and the fair wages she pays her staff. By the looks of the bustling store and the “sold out” signs daily, many people agree with her. Flour and Stone lovingly make the best butter croissants in town and have the t-shirt to prove it!

Darlinghurst’s Infinity Bakery does a mighty fine croissant and also serves homemade fruit jams, if that’s your preference. They use local produce and organic ingredients: stone ground certified organic flour from NSW; Murray River inland salt; extra virgin olive oil from the NSW countryside, and honey from Sydney’s rooftops.

flour+stone, bourke street bakery, infinity bakery.

flour+stone, bourke street bakery, infinity bakery.

There’s a reason Bourke Street Bakery (Surry Hills and Potts Point) has lines snaking out the door each Saturday morning. It’s the cakes, sausage rolls and YES croissants that set the scene for this hipster-loving, foodies paradise. Baked and raised from humble beginnings in Surry Hills, this local’s favourite has grown to become one of Sydney’s most iconic food destinations, even stretching all the way to NYC!

Croissant D’Or in Macleay St is a Potts Point institution. Not a lot has changed on this menu (does anyone know how long its been here? 30? 40 years?) and the locals wouldn’t have it any other way. As the name itself suggests croissants - golden, buttery and flakey - feature prominently.

EAT & DRINK - SAY CHEESE!

Looks like CHEESE is the food du jour in Eastside these days with cafes, restaurants, bars and speciality stores all offering their take on this creamy, tasty, gooey and sometimes smelly, treat.

Penny’s Cheese Shop in Potts Point is leading the charge with her selection of handmade and farm house cheeses sourced locally and internationally. A self-confessed ‘curd nerd’ Penny has been in the food industry for over 20 years and is an Australian Cheese Judge to boot! She will cut cheeses to your specifications, make up platters for special events (or a quiet evening at home) plus she sells all the quince paste and crackers your cheesy-heart desires.

Penny’s cheese toasties have been voted Best in Sydney but you’ll have to get in early to decide for yourself - with a limited amount made each day Penny is regularly sold out by 1pm.

pennys cheese shop

At Formaggi Ocello in Surry Hills you can buy a cheese wedding cake (YES) Plus they also offer a selection of Australian, French and Italian cheeses with all the condiments you need - biscotti, crackers, oils and vinegars, cured meats and olives. If you prefer, you can eat in with a glass of wine or two and a tasting platter. There are cheesy gifts, raclette nights, gourmet hampers and Ocello has recently introduced Cheese Tours to Italy!

Speaking of RACLETTE have you tried the All-You-Can-Eat Raclette at Loluk Bistro? Just off Taylor Square this little French Bistro, known for its authentic southern cuisine, is run by brothers Luk and Loic, serving food in the “grandma way” with a modern twist. Every Tuesday and Wednesday they pour the cheese on top of potatoes, salad, cornichon and a plate of charcuterie (braseola, coppa, saucisson, ham and prosciutto) and it’s all included in the $49 price.

Loluk Bistro

Also on every Wednesday night, Black Bottle’s offering of ‘Fromage in a Box’ is just what it sounds like - an oven baked wheel of cheese, served with cured meats, roast potatoes and lettuce. It serves two and at $39 per head, coupled with the 5-7pm happy hour “apertivo” makes for a great date-night or after work destination.

This popular wine bar in Darlinghurst also serves up Mediterranean style share plates, along with superb selection of wines and cocktails. The ambience is chill and these guys know their food is best served super fresh!

Locals Tip: if you phone ahead Black Bottle will serve you “fromage in a box” any night of the week!

black bottle darlinghurst

Back over in Potts Point, Le Petite Louvre is the latest edition to our bustling cheese scene. Tucked away on Springfield Avenue, this shop is an homage to all things French and cheesy. Proprietor Christian Estebe, tells us he stocks a few Swiss cheeses (from the French side, bien sur) but everything else is lovingly hand made in the traditional style by pretty French farm maids living a full and wholesome life - okay we may be exaggerating just a tad here, but believe me Monsieur Estebe knows his stuff and has very high, very exacting standards when it comes to cheese.

Quality and tradition rule in this gem of a store that is part shop, part cafe, part tea room. There’s gold medal cheese, fancy cheese, rare cheese but most of all really tasty cheeses to pair with wine, tea or whatever you like.

Baroque music and French reproduction paintings on the ceiling and walls make for a unique ambience and a truely one off experience.

Locals : Christian can also be found at the KX Organic Markets on Saturday mornings

Le Petite Louvre

EAST VILLAGE PINK WINTER GARDEN

The East Village Hotel in Darlinghurst has transformed its terrace rooftop into a pink Winter Garden, inspired by the Christmas markets of Europe.

Drenched in pink flood light & thousands of fairy lights, there’s a warm drinks menu with mulled wine and cider, specialty warm meads and gin hot toddies. Happy hour (two-for-one) is 5-7pm

On the food front there’s a selection of Christmas market-inspired items like currywurst, smoked deep fried camembert and Nutella waffles. Our vote goes to the four-cheese fondue, spiked with maraschino liqueur and served with assorted veg, cured meats and bread for dipping.

Local’s tip: This cute pokie-free venue also has one of the best Sydney skyline views in Eastside!

east village winter garden

STYLE - FASHIONISTA ALERT

TWO new boutiques have opened up on Macleay Street, Potts Point which is quickly turning into a fashion lover’s destination. No cookie-cutter, fast fashion here - it’s all slow fashion, locally designed and locally made too.

Both stores have their resident designer on hand to help with selection, styling and basically give you a gentle nudge in the right direction. Think silk basics, slinky viscose dresses, cool velvet jackets and snuggly woollen knits for winter.

Carolyn from BAZ Inc loves to layer and has the most sublime selection of prints, as well as brocade and-jewel toned velvet jackets.

BAZ Inc

BAZ Inc

Lesley from byfreer is all about natural fabrics, classic style and the small details. Coining the phrase “perfectly imperfect” to sum up her vibe, The byfreer girl raids her boyfriend’s wardrobe and looks better than he does! Think long shirts, slouchy pants, cosy knits and luxe fabrics..

Both stores were involved in the first PoPo late night shopping last week which was a great hit and a little bird tells us will become a regular event with special offers, styling nights and collaborations in the planning.

by freer

by freer

DRINK -DULCIE'S KINGS CROSS

If If a cosy bar is what you're looking for then you're in luck! If a bohemian style drinking den, serving Australian spirits and wines and inventive cocktails is more your style - well my friend you've hit the jackpot with DULCIE'S KING’S CROSS. 

Slap-bang in the middle of Darlinghurst Road, the once infamous 'strip' of Kings Cross, this new kid on the block (how nice to hear of an opening in the midst of all those closings!) is the brainchild of co-owner Brandon Martignago (ex Roosevelt + The Butler) who has built an entire drinking den around the year 1932. 

Come for the drinks and stay for the piano playing, exotic dancers and erotic fiction nights.

LOCALS TIP : sign up for a cocktail masterclass, using all-Australian spirits and produce.

DULCIE'S

COMMUNITY - SRP NEEDS YOU!

This week, The Darlinghurst Business Partnership and your local community legal centre, Inner City Legal Centre, came together to announce the launch of their joint initiative to save the award-winning Safe Relationships Project (SRP). 

Established in 2009, the SRP is a court and legal support service for LGBTIQ people experiencing domestic violence. The SRP is a unique service, providing a safe room at Downing Centre, support at other NSW courts when necessary and wrap-around legal assistance and non-legal referrals. The SRP employs a specialist part time lawyer who supports 30 LGBTIQ people per year with casework and provides advice, information and referrals to many more.

Over the next few weeks, there will be campaigning to save the SRP and they are kindly asking for your support.  Campaign ends 30 June 2019. To make a tax deductible donations to #SaveTheSRP please click here

To find out other ways you can support, please contact Erika Aligno on erika@iclc.org.au


SRP


EAT & DRINK - HUMMUS MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND

A few years ago chef-guru Yotam Ottolenghi introduced me to the idea that the humble hummus dish was not just a dip but in fact, it was a meal. To be eaten as a main dish! ** MIND BLOWN ** Apparently this is how they do it in the middle east and thats how Yoash Dvir would like to see Sydneysiders eat their hummus. And Dvir is very convincing. His new shop (Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst) , Simply Hummus, is tiny, and that’s okay because he’s serving up a small but perfectly formed menu - all centred around hummus as the star of the show. Keeping the menu simple and authentic Dvir also offers toppings of tomato salad, falafel balls and caramelised onions. Dinner time sees a slightly varied menu plus an all-you-can eat option too.

SIMPLY HUMMUS

SIMPLY HUMMUS

Around the corner on Darlinghurst Road (behind the Fire Station) is another tiny hole-in-the-wall place serving up some of the best falafel in town. CHAPTER E is already a local’s favourite with lunchtime specials that includes fresh mint lemonade for $1…. A dollar! Can you think of anything going for a buck these days? Anything at all?! Anyway the Chapter E gang is suitably proud of their falafel, but it’s their Shakshuka that really has my attention these days - especially when winter calls for a hearty and warming breakfast/brunch.

CHAPTER E

CHAPTER E

Speaking of hearty breakfasts ALMOND BAR (which is not really a bar, but a restaurant specialising in Middle Eastern dishes) back up on Liverpool Street, serves up a traditional Syrian Breakfast on a select Sunday each month which is guaranteed to keep you going all-day-long. Also next month (July) they’re hosting Mulukhiyah Night and I seriously have no idea what that is but catch up on it here and lets face it - anything with banquet in the explanation has to be good :)

So that’s 3 excellent places for middle eastern delights in Darlo - all pretty much on the same block and 5 minutes from Taylor Square or Kings Cross station.

If you fancy a stroll or live closer to Potts Point/Elizabeth Bay/Ruchcutters Bay end of town try SHUK on Roslyn Gardens. Already a Bondi institution, this place has been pumping since late last year when they took up residence in this pretty, sleepy street just a stone’s throw from Rushcutter’s Bay Park (perfect for an after-lunch stroll).

Open each day for breakfast and lunch and Friday/Saturday for dinner, the owners at Shuk say the food they offer is “inspired by what we grew up with in Israel, where the cuisine available is one of the largest melting pots on the planet, with food coming from a variety of cultures that migrated to the country from 130 different countries in the past 50 years."

SERIOUSLY - where we would be without hummus?!

SHUK Elizabeth Bay

SHUK Elizabeth Bay

EVENTS - SYDNEY PRIDE FESTIVAL IS BACK IN JUNE!

The Sydney Pride Festival starts next week and continues through June (6-30) with a month of festivities that include art, cinema, trivia nights, debates, literary salons, sports, fundraising activities and club events across Sydney. Its one of the biggest fundraising events on the LGBTIQ calendar bringing together a host of grassroots activities. Gold coin donations and big ticket events support a myriad of LGBTIQ charities.

Iconic Sydney venue Stonewall will host Pride launch night as well as Pride Bingo nights and an Orgy of Drag will be a highlight of the festival. Dungeons and Drag Queens at the Imperial Erskineville promises a live action drag show, combining comedy, fashion and fantasy.

pic: Robert Knapman

pic: Robert Knapman

If you fancy a singalong, try The Carpenters of Kempsey or a supper cabaret night with drag royalty Minnie Cooper, at Claire's PopUp Petit Cabaret on Oxford St.

This year’s Pride theme is “RIOT 69” One Moment in Time remembering the Riots of 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village in New York City and the heroes that led the way and fought for LGBTIQ rights 50 years ago. This was the beginning of the modern gay movement and the inspiration to the 78er’s who paved the way here in Sydney.

Talks with the original 78’ers ensure that this history is celebrated and understood.

For the literary minded there is a writer’s talk with Maeve Marsden at Kogarah Library, the Phoenix Ink book launch, Alpha girls book launch, art exhibitions and a short story competition. Kogarah Library is also hosting Rainbow Family Story-time.

The BONDI BADLANDS Historical Walking Tour will be delivered by true crime author Greg Callaghan and will explore local LGBTIQ history whilst shedding light on the circumstances that gave rise to the wave of violence during the 80’s and 90’s and pays respect to the many lives impacted.

pic: Robert Knapman

pic: Robert Knapman

If you feel like dressing up, the Winter Circus Costume Ball at the Fairmont Resort Ballroom or the The Aurora Ball’s 20th Anniversary night is for you! The Aurora theme is ‘creatures of the night sky’ so embrace your spirit animal and expect to see horns and beaks, goddesses and galaxy warriors.

And can anything be more worthy of “legendary status” than a Homage to Hollywood Tribute to the legendary Doris Goddard, at the legendary Hollywood Hotel, featuring the legendary Carlotta? The Sydney Pride Festival coincides with VIVID and the Sydney Film Festival, so check out their sites for more Pride fun times.

Sydney Pride Festival is a not for profit event which supports a wide range of LGBTQI charities, organisations and businesses. The Festival has events throughout Sydney and the Blue Mountains that are fun and affordable for everyone, whilst raising much needed funds for charity and showcasing our community and achievements.

The Sydney Pride Festival is a special time for the LGBTQI community as we remember our history, celebrate the present and look forward to a day when all are EQUAL.

Pic: Robert Knapman

Pic: Robert Knapman


COMMUNITY - THE DEMOCRACY SAUSAGE

The day to vote is imminent and Eastside is hosting quite a few places to fill out your ballot this year. On Saturday 18th Darlinghurst Public School will be inviting the community in to vote, as well as putting on their fantastic fete ‘Darlo Bizzaro’ to keep spirits high!

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Explore the delicious food and drink stalls and other local vendors, all while having your say about our community. There will be over 50 artisan stalls, plenty of prizes and spectacular entertainment for all. And while you’re there take advantage of the customary Democracy Sausage - they say its the best in the ‘hood!

ART+DESIGN - A READING LIST FOR MUM

It's coming up to Winter and chances are Mum would love a good book to curl up with sometime soon. The Potts Point Bookshop, has curated a list just for us, and we are itching to get our hands on one (or all) of them. 

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In The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone, debut Australian novelist Felicity McLean explores the long echoes of emotional trauma and guilt born of the disappearance of three siblings twenty years ago. It is a compelling and deeply resonant coming-of-age tale, and an absolutely enthralling account of a young woman’s effort to heal deep wounds that don’t easily show, whose voice will stay with you for a long time.

Writing with an assurance and grace that signals the arrival of an important literary voice, Laveau-Harvie’s Stella Prize-winningThe Erratics tells the story of the author’s return home to Alberta, Canada, to confront her mother’s legacy of abuse. Imbued with a dark, savage wit, this memoir completely subverts the social expectations of motherhood as it explores the cancer within Laveau-Harvie’s family.

In this New Map Italy, Herbert Ypma maps out eighty-five experiences and tips that will elevate your next trip to Italy from a good experience to a truly memorable one. This is the must-have guide for the contemporary traveller.

Good Food editor Ardyn Bernoth selects 100 recipes by nine of Australia's best-loved chefs in Good Food Favourite Recipes. It features easy weeknight meals as well as jaw-dropping dishes certain to impress. 

In Small Garden Design, Australia's leading landscape designer, Paul Bangay, applies his 25 years of experience to provide expert advice on how to transform any area — no matter what the size — into a garden paradise. He shows us 'how to make the most of small space you have, and how to transform it into the paradise that we all aspire to.

If you've already snapped these goodies up then check out the other book stores scattered around Eastside, The Bookshop in Darlinghurst has some great LGBTQI texts and some steamy reads or Ariel further down Oxford Street can provide the best in coffee table books, art texts and gorgeous gifts and accessories. We also love the setup at Berkelouw where you can't turn down a coffee in their upstairs library/cafe whilst you flick through your latest purchase. If you want some music with your fiction then TITLE further down Crown Street can help with memorabilia, literature and vinyl, and of course the masters of recommendation over at Oscar and Friends are always willing to help out. 

(photo courtesy Potts Point Bookshop)

EAT & DRINK - Sustainable Mother's Day Lunch Choices

For vegetarians and vegan mums, there are treats in store.  Alibi Bar at Ovolo in Wooloomooloo will be hosting a plant based high tea whilst Yellow in Potts Point will have a vegetarian shared menu for $85.00 per person, they are both taking bookings so get in quick before you miss out! 

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If mum is a up for a bit of spice then maybe Bad Hombres in Surry Hills would be better. They're offering vegetarian Mexican spread for the day in honour of both Mama and the Mexican holiday season of Cinco De Mayo. 

EVENTS - Mum and Moet at the Golden Age Cinema

The stunning Golden Age Cinema will be hosting a special screenings for Mother's Day. "Mother's Day with Moet"  is a beautiful gift for the mums out there who want to spend quality time with the ones they love or are more inclined to experiences. 

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Pair your tickets to fashion-forward Audrey Hepburn musical Funny Face, positively dotty art doco Kusama — Infinity or festival hit Icelandic comedy Woman at War with a bubbling glass of Moët and a hand-made Gelato Messina choc top – all for just $40 Adult and $35 Concession.

EAT & DRINK - Eastside gets the Nigella tick of approval.

There are few people in the world that do not melt when they hear Nigella Lawson’s dulcet tones as she waxes lyrical on her favourite subject - food! The Domestic Goddess is a household name and has returned many times to our shores. A Broadsheet article alerted us to the Nigella food stops on her most recent trip down under and were were rather chuffed to find not one but five Eastside venues on the list!

She first visited breakfast favourite Bills in Darlinghurst for a healthy injection of toast with avocado, coriander and kimchi. A classic Sydney favourite. Onward to beloved Billy Kwong for blue swimmer crab, prawn, chicken, and duck with plums where upon finishing her meal pronounced it “joyous”.

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Over at Woolloomooloo’s Flour and Stone Nigella popped a recipe from chef Nadine Ingram’s new cookbook onto her site (stars really are just like us!) and as a quick snack, opted for the chocolate manjari cake.

This was followed by a visit to The Apollo, where she shared eleven dishes with Sydney’s food scene stalwart Christine Manfield, no doubt an incredible meeting of minds (and taste buds). Then on to Alberto’s Lounge where she dined on octopus and chickpeas and spaghetti with sardine and fennel.

If Nigella approves, then who are we to argue? We will be spending our weekend following in her footsteps and indulging in the splendour of Eastside food delights.

STYLE - Shopping for the stylish mum this Mother's Day

If your mum is a style maven, Eastside Sydney has got you covered. A multitude of small boutiques in Potts Point, Surry Hills and Darlinghurst cover off fashion and jewellery for all tastes and budgets. Hand made and quirky jewellery from Industrial Bling or some classic accessories from Dinosaur Designs there is more than enough variety for every style. Also - check out the blog for another 5 of our best places to find jewellery and accessories across the precinct. 

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And if clothes are more mums thing than we can't recommend highly enough taking a look at what AXL Bazaar in Potts Point has on offer. They have the latest in designer brands from bags to belts: owner and artist Athena Levendi will be more than happy to work with you to find the perfect gift for the one-off Mother's Day gift.  We also recommend Blue Spinach in Darlinghurst, whose collection of bags and purses will have you swooning. If none of this takes your fancy then peruse our own list of fashion spots across Eastside which will no doubt have the perfect option come May 12th.