Get your fill and give to the full in this fine town
Who doesn’t like being invited up dark stairs by someone wearing goggles? As wintery snow settles on your handbag, you know The Chalet is a different kind of special. Darlinghurst’s winter wonderland is the type of pop up where one cannot refuse a mulled wine from the handsome waiter, puffed to the 80s hilt in his ski vest.
Park yourself near licking flames of the eco-smart fire and you have the makings of a night engineered to feel like you’ve just come off the slopes. Warm chatter, toastier drinks, and a menu with chips so delicious you’ll demand to know the secret five spiced salts.
WHERE: 235 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst
LITTLE JACK HORNER
Where is Little Jack Horner? Of course, he’s on the Coogee corner. Jack Horner happens to have front row seats to Coggee Beach – and they’re not all modern wooden stools. Sink into a plump cushion along the window line for a lazy brunch. Even the salty-locked kitchen staff move at a cruisy pace, yet meals arrive swiftly. The beachy feel is well matched to a menu of soy and mustard glazed swordfish belly tacos and Tasmanian smoked salmon bruschetta. Peel yourself off the cushion for a beach walk, or settle in for live tunes through the afternoon.
WHERE: 270-274 Coogee Bay Rd, Coogee
They have a pig named Kevin Bacon. If that’s not reason enough to head to The Grounds in Alexandria, then perhaps the heirloom vegetables, boutique bakery or coffee crafters may do the trick. A transformed 1920s industrial precinct now hums with a coffee academy (go on, sign up for coffee class), farm animals (Kevin Bacon plus friends) and locals swarming to the produce-based menu picked straight from the market garden.
The Potting Shed doubles as a watering hole. Who doesn’t need a swinging seat and craft beer after a hard day in the garden?
WHERE: Building 7A, 2 Huntley Street, Alexandria
It is already the best hot chocolate in town courtesy of one sentence. “Dad, can you take these two hot chocolates over?” Next, an elderly man with a big smile comes over to our window, placing the delicate glasses down between us. With care, he then turns each handle to point in our direction. On farewell, he delivers one more smile.
From the rushed streets of inner Sydney, his gentle pace is contagious. Daughter and chef, Miga Aboulian is Lixie’s cocoa magician behind the tempering, the freeze-dried raspberries hidden in organic blocks and the embossed morsels housing salty caramel goodness. Lixie is petite and bite-sized deliciousness.
WHERE: 275 Crown St, Surry Hills
SORRY THANKS I LOVE YOU
Need to say something to someone you care muchly about? Head for Martin Place and deliver a sorry, thanks, or even a bold ‘I love you’ with a hand-crafted gift. In this pop-up expect exclusive pieces- the type that take months in the design and making.
Spoil that person of yours with a deer antler paring knife made by one of Tasmania’s most revered cutlers, Tom Hounslow. Thankfully it’s a place where you’ll find that one item he or she doesn’t have.
WHERE: Shop 2, Ground Floor, GPO Building, Martin Place, Sydney. Open until end of 2015
If you’re still in the giving mood, there’s more generosity to be shared in Martin Place. Look up the Footpath Library, founded by Sarah Garnett. One night Sarah noticed a homeless man reading a novel beneath the street light. He was waiting for a food van to arrive.
Today, the Footpath Library encourages literacy in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth by collecting donated books and sharing them with those who find books hard to access. Give out toasty milos in Martin Place or send a few dollars their way. It may be about books, but it’s not hard to see the social side brings the greatest warmth in winter.
WHERE: Martin Place, Sydney. Visit the Footpath Library.
Words and images: Alice Hansen