Spring has sprung: the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing and mating right outside your office window when you're trying to concentrate on a spreadsheet. It's time to fling off the knitwear and thermals and explore Sydney in the sun. Concrete Playground has collaborated with some of Sydney's favourite bloggers to bring you the best picks of what our city has to offer in music, art, food, film and fashion this spring, as they describe their ideal spring weekend in Sydney.
This is Sydney By The Blog: Spring Fever.
Part Four: Matt and Polly Levinson from Darlinghurst Nights
Weekends are like gold for us. Wedged in busy weeks, we savour every free moment we get. We’re up at six on Saturday morning, and by seven we’re at Fratelli Paradiso on Challis Avenue, Potts Point, for sheep's-milk yoghurt and granola. And coffee.
Then it’s up to the Sydney Sustainable Markets at Taylor Square to get apples, delicious East Sydney honey, and picnic goods. We have great plans of going to the pool, but actually wind up walking around the neighbourhood. Taking photos as we go. We might do some shopping at the brilliant One of a Kind on Darley Street or Blue Spinach down on the corner of Liverpool and Womerah Avenue.
We might stop and see new work by Matthys Gerber at Sarah Cottier Gallery, Matt Glenn’s show at James Dorahy, and the brilliant Turkish artist Ahmet Ögüt at Artspace - he took us on a very funny running lecture around Woolloomooloo and Darlinghurst last week.
By then, we’re shopped and gallery-ed out. Taking the papers and picnic goods we head to Beare Park, on the water at Elizabeth Bay. If we get through the papers, we have books: Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, and Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. This is where we’re likely to spend most of the afternoon. Lazing, hopefully in the sun.
We’re dying to see Trevor Jamieson in Namatjira, across town to Surry Hills. The play doesn’t start until eight, so we stop at our favourite Frenchie, Tabou. The cote de boeuf is spectacular - it has to be shared. After a cup of Mariage Fréres tea, we’re off to the Belvoir Street Theatre for Big Hart’s take on the Arrernte country artist’s life. Can’t wait.
You need a debrief after a play. So throwing around ideas, we walk briskly back to Tastevin, another favourite French restaurant, on Victoria Street, Darlinghurst. The food is perfect here, but we’re after a nightcap - and cheese and muscatels.
Sunday morning, we wake up bright and early, strap on running shoes and head out. We drop a couple of DVDs at Darlinghurst’s answer to Empire Records - Darlo DVD - and run down to Rushcutters Bay park. After working up a sweat, we go to Sel et Poivre on Victoria Street, Darlinghurst - of course - it’s a local favourite, and although the duck rilettes and country pate baguettes are staples, we’re there first thing. For $7.50, the special - bacon and egg baguette and coffee - is hard to beat.
Reading papers and magazines, breakfast turns into lunch, and pretty soon we’re walking the neighbourhood again, looking for interesting sights for the blog. You never know where you’ll find them. So we try to walk different streets and lanes every time, eyes peeled.
As the afternoon winds on, we stop for a boost at Gelato Messina on Victoria Street. We always try the new flavours, and although the Muum Maam (Thai green curry) is interesting, we’re not taken. Liquorice is a favourite, but it’s rarely available. Instead we opt for Number Two (peanut butter, caramel and chocolate fudge) and the Salted Caramel and White Choc-Chip - with an espresso - and sit on the footpath to do some people watching.
On the way home, we pick up a bottle of Montenegro from ABC Cellars on the corner of Farrell Avenue and Darlinghurst Road. Every week, we get a box of fresh produce from farms within five hours of Sydney from Food Connect (we pick it up at East Sydney Neighbourhood Association on Wednesdays) - and this week, we got Warrigal greens, kale, beetroot, watercress and coriander. Lining up a couple of records by John Fahey and Seaworthy, we set about finding a recipe that works. There’s not one, so Polly improvises and throws together a soup of kale, Warrigal greens, stock, egg and parmesan.
It’s hard to believe the weekend’s over. It’s Sunday night, we’re racing into summer - but after a dream weekend like this, we feel completely ready for the week.
October 12, 2010 by Matt and Polly Levinson at darlinghurstnights.com