Sydney sojourn

As you will have picked up from my previous post we’ve been back in Sydney. A friend who is in Europe for two months suggested we might like the use of his apartment in Elizabeth Bay – would we turn down his very generous offer – we did not! And so for eleven days we had a hugely pleasant and mostly lazy time enjoying again many of the corners and attractions of Sydney we like so much – and added one or two new experiences.

Amongst the latter, a day trip by train to the Blue Mountains – something we’d been promising we’d do for many of our past visits but then never achieved. We had a good day up in the hills while Sydney sweltered at 35°. I suspect we didn’t see the hills at their bluest – the air up there that day was rather hazy, and what i read somewhere makes me think perhaps the time of day also has something to do with the intensity of the colour one experiences – maybe late-afternoon or dusk is best? However the hills and especially the depth of the valleys are impressive. Walking bush tracks along the ridge, coming upon views of the 3 Sisters, the stretches of eucalypts were all worth the visit. Katoomba on the other hand is tacky; Leura infinitely more picturesque in its curiously, in this landscape, transplanted European-ness.

Another day we walked the sea-side, headland track from the Gap to Manly – again a pleasant variation which added new perspectives to our still somewhat selective knowledge of Sydney.

Otherwise we followed our habitual patterns – caught up with friends, indulged in a some household and clothes shopping, checked up on the current fine art exhibitions [including the ‘art & about’ large-format photos in Hyde Park and the Ranamok Prize works of my previous post] and inevitably pursued treats by way of coffee and pasticieries [at our favourite Potts Point café, Fratelli Paradiso] and food. On a Friday evening we met up with B and joined the queue for a table at Phamish. This smart, contemporary Vietnamese restaurant is hugely popular with the locals – we had to give our phone number to the maitre’d and resort to the neighhouring pub for beer to await space. A wholly worthwhile wait since the food is superb in taste, combination and presentation [as well as quite reasonably priced], and the atmosphere bright lively fun. Unreservedly recommended.

A few nights later we took ourselves back to Longrain. This proved to be totally the right thing to do. Our only previous visit had hugely impressed; this reaffirmed all. The food is stunningly good, the room is cleanly, subtly stylish and the service utterly pleasing – the combination of knowledge and finely-judged attention that produces that most satisfactory dining experience i’ve referred to on other occasions. We ate Betel leaf topped with prawn roasted coconut mint & chilli, Eggnet with pork prawn peanuts bean sprouts & sweet vinegar and meltingly tender beef in a broth, accompanied by a wonderful German riesling. 

Having the opportunity to be back in Sydney once more was fun – we had a good time – all the more so because J’s apartment is so convenient to the buzz of central Sydney which we love so much. We regard ourselves as hugely lucky to have such a generous friend. Thankyou.

~ by crisargos on Friday, 17 October, 2008.

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