One of the suckiest things about being in Sydney is not having my sister around at all times. I’ve gotten rather used to her in the last 15-odd years, and I’ll admit it was rather jarring to not have her constantly in my hair all of a sudden. On the bright side however, during the times we do see each other (when one of us is on holiday), we manage to get some excellent quality time in – in this case, in pasta form. My sister loves good pasta more than any other food, and given that the only times she gets fancy restaurant pasta is when she’s with me, I spent weeks leading up to her visit agonising over…
This meal at Alimentari is brought to you by K! The beloved foodie in crime who, if you’ll remember, gave me an awful recommendation for Kaneda. So this is his one big chance at redemption – let’s see if he’s earned his way back into my good books… Alimentari is the closest thing K has to a local café; Mondays see him grabbing a quick lunch from the ever-changing menu, before catching a movie at Cinema Nova. Of course, he is far from the only person for whom Alimentari is a regular haunt. Operating in the same location since 1998, there are many people who seem just as home here as they would be in their own kitchens.
I’m not much of a birthday person. I know plenty of people who use birthdays as an excuse to have a month-long celebration but frankly? I just don’t have that much energy. For me, what birthdays really amount to is a chance to have a good meal, where you splurge a bit on something you normally wouldn’t have. This year however, things are a little different. Not only am I in a brand-new city, instead of one full of restaurants I’ve been lusting over for years, I’m also on a significantly tighter budget on account of living away from home. But after much research and changing of minds, I eventually settled on Restaurant Hubert to celebrate turning 25 (ugh).
It’s no secret that Spanish cuisine is one of my all-time favourites. With Melbourne’s small but high-quality selection of Spanish restaurants (my favourites are here, here, here, and here), I’ve really developed a taste for the tapas-and-vermouth life. So far from being satisfied that Sydney has blessed me with an Asian food scene that’s just as good as Melbourne’s – better, if we’re talking Thai and Korean – I’m keen to find my new favourite hidey-hole for drinks and nibbles.
It may seem unbelievable, but despite living in Melbourne for all of my adult life, I’ve never had a souvlaki from Stalactites. Sure, I’ve eaten there enough times, but ordering a souva for a sit-down meal has always seemed silly to me, so I usually end up getting one of the platters instead. Plus, I got a little bit mad at them the last time I went and they took the change from my payment without asking, so I haven’t been back since. But when the Stalactites crew opened up Hella Good – a dedicated souvlaki shop – it seemed like time to bury the hatchet, and finally give the famous wrap a try.
Rarely has a restaurant impressed me on the first visit the way Tipo00 did. Their meticulously hand-crafted pasta dishes were melt-in-the-mouth scrumptious, and each subsequent visit has been similarly astounding, and well worth the ridiculous wait times. So when the geniuses behind Tipo opened Osteria Ilaria a couple years later, all of Melbourne were waiting with bated breath to see if it lived up to its reputation. As it turns out, we needn’t have worried. Following Tipo’s example, Osteria Ilaria soon snapped up another Best New Restaurant of the Year Award, with accolades coming out of its ears, and queues extending down the street. But unlike Tipo, Osteria Ilaria is not a quaint little pasta bar. Hot on the tail…