I may be a terrible cook, skiier and even worse sewer. But, I like to think I’m quite good at planning fun weekends for when interstate frands come to visit.
My Adelaide BFF, Ali, was recently in Sydney for work but decided to stay on for the weekend – always a good choice. This meant it was gloves off – I had to outdo my previous planning efforts (recorded here, here and here) and strategise a weekend itinerary that was seriously ambitious.
Here’s what our weekend in Sydney involved (and please help yourself):
Lunch at Henry Deane in Hotel Palisade
Get your Friday lunch pants on because this two-level cocktail bar, lounge and rooftop restaurant has serious game. It’s sophisticated, stylish and the ultimate long lunch venue. Needless to say, we didn’t need much arm-twisting to get us here.
Located on levels 4 and 5 of the historic Hotel Palisade building, Henry Deane is revoltingly beautiful. The sun-soaked space has been styled as if it’s straight from the pages of Vogue Living, complete with plush lounges in pale greys and pinks, copper and marble finishes, and 180-degree views that will leave your jaw on the floor. Out the windows, spot all of Sydney’s 10-carat diamonds: the Anzac Bridge, Barangaroo, Millers Point and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
And, if you need more arm-distorting, there’s a killer lunch and dinner menu.
Hotel Palisade | 35 Bettington Street, Millers Point, New South Wales
Phone: (02) 9018 0123
Cheese at The Stinking Bishops in Newtown
Because Ali and I are a couple of regular cheese pests, for dessert, we headed over to The Stinking Bishops in Newtown.
When I lived in Melbourne, I’d think up just about any excuse to go to fromagerie Milk the Cow. You know, because nothing says Monday like a board of cheese and wine. Right? Now, anytime I think about Milk the Cow, I cry into my slice of Coon, then drag my arse over to cheesemonger The Stinking Bishops, because it’s one of the best cheese experiences in Sydney.
While you can’t get matching cheese and wine flights at this cute little cheese shop, you can get a LOT of cheese, charcuterie, wine and sizeable snacks. While it doesn’t trump Milk the Cow (in my heart), it’s a gazillion times better than Coon.
The Stinking Bishops | 5/63–71 Enmore Road, Newtown, New South Wales
Phone: (02) 9007 7754
Walk from Taronga Wharf to Balmoral Beach
After a day of indulgence (and a lot more to come), we needed to do something to burn off the damage. Fortunately, Sydney doesn’t lack in walking trails that will steal your heart, burn your legs and make you feel a whole lot better about the litres of wine you drunk yesterday.
We decided to walk from Taronga Wharf to Balmoral Beach because: A) we’re a glutton for harbour views; B) love ferry rides; and C) go weak at the knees for beautiful beaches.
Afternoon drinks at The Boathouse Balmoral Beach
After walking 6.5 kilometres, we arrived at Balmoral Beach and decided we’d most definitely earned a quick bite to eat, so ducked into The Boathouse Balmoral Beach. This waterfront café, with its white picnic tables and market umbrellas, is equal parts relaxed and sophisticated, while being both family-friendly and one for the cool kids. It’s an all-rounder.
Here, sitting on the wooden deck, in the sun, overlooking the shimmering Balmoral Beach, it’s incredibly easy to fool yourself into thinking you’re on holiday in, say, Tropical North Queensland. And, of course, the picture wouldn’t be complete if a glass of Rosé wasn’t in your hand.
Then to shatter my moment of serenity (or should I say shitter) a seagull dropped its chip-laden bowels on my head. Yep, of course, that happened.
The Boathouse Balmoral Beach | 2 The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach, New South Wales
Phone: (02) 9974 5440
Pre-drinks at Johnny Fishbone
After an outfit change, we were off for a night out in Sydney, putting these lock-out laws to the test. (And by outfit change, I mean 96 minutes in front of the wardrobe, throwing every piece of owned clothing on the bed in absolute disgust).
First stop was Johnny Fishbone, which calls itself a wine parlour.
A parlour of wine! Heck, yes.
And despite an indeed impressive inventory of wine, Johnny Fishbone is not exclusively a drinkery – it’s also a Spanish restaurant practicing the art of tapas, quite expertly from my analysis. While you can come here for just-drinks, when we said we weren’t staying for croquettes and grilled swordfish, we were seated in what was clearly the naughty corner. The naughty corner that’s in the walkway to the bathrooms. Sorry, Mr Fishbone, for clearly being so troublesome.
Johnny Fishbone | 185 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst, New South Wales
Phone: (02) 9332 4052
Dinner at Billy Kwong
I had high hopes of getting to a few more Darlinghurst and Potts Point bars before dinner than just the one, but alas a wardrobe catastrophe kept us away from Eau de Vie, Jangling Jacks, Bar Brose and Dear Saint Eloise. That, and we had a strict dinner date with Billy Kwong. So, instead, we trundled on over to Macleay Street.
After eating our weight in dumplings, Ali appeared to fall asleep at the table. It was barely 10pm when she started talking nonsensical. There was something muttered about Ringo Starr, how we needed to wake up early to see the tea house (what flippen tea house?) and that my witchcraft wasn’t going to work on her. Yep, sadly, we weren’t getting anywhere near Sydney’s lock-out laws tonight. That and my witchcraft clearly needs some work.
Billy Kwong | 1/28 Macleay Street, Potts Point, New South Wales
Phone: (02) 9332 3300
Brunch at Three Blue Ducks in Bronte
Bronte is perhaps best known for two things: its beach and Three Blue Ducks. At the latter, you can shake off any remnants of a champagne headache with a healthy serve of corn fritters, avocado smash and poached eggs. I guarantee they’ll be the best-tasting corn fritters you’ll ever have in your life. If you’re allergic to corn, or fritters, there’s other #majorbrunchgoals you can cross off here.
Just get to TBD before 9:30am, because that’s when the brunch crowds start to get hectic.
Walk from Bronte to Bondi (or Bronte to Coogee)
And, while you’re in Bronte, it would be rude not to go for a mooch around this divine stretch of coastline. Along the six-kilometre Bondi to Coogee walk (which includes Bronte), there’s plenty to distract. There’s ocean pools, a cemetery, surfers fighting over the beach breaks below, water the colour of emeralds, secret coves, picnic grounds and stunning views, both of the Pacific Ocean and the million-dollar houses spilling down the hills.
Once we were finished being sick from the disgustingly beautiful beach views, it was time to take Ali to the airport. That’s it. Weekend. Over.