Sunday, May 18, 2014

Strictly Sydney

We squeezed a lot out of our three days in Sydney.  Friday night we met up with old friends at Miro Tapas Bar in Liverpool Street, and, over a few hours did our very best to fill the quirky basement space with lots of talk and laughter (and fairly defamatory observations of our new government) over a number of glasses of very good Spanish tempranillo.

Judy and Jurgen arrived Saturday, in time to join us at the Lyric Theatre for Baz Luhrmann's long awaited stage production of "Strictly Ballroom".  We loved the 1992 film with all its overblown colour, characters and sparkle. The fact that creative expression proved the winner against those repressive, rule bound, old Aussie archetype characters was something we all found very appealing too..."a life lived in fear is a life half lived" and all that.

I don't think the musical achieves the same emotional engagement as the film but it sure is a winner in the sheer entertainment stakes. We had great seats 6 rows back from the stage, centre front, so were able to enjoy every note, every expression, every dance move, every sequin and flash of light and colour - just fantastic.

We were booked into Luke Nguyen's Red Lantern on Riley for the early dining session on Saturday night - a first visit for all of us.

We started with drinks at the classy Red Lily Cocktail Bar before being settled into our retro styled banquette seating. We felt very relaxed in the French colonial inspired setting of this small but beautifully designed space fronting Riley Street in Darlinghurst, and in the capable hands of the very well trained staff.

We took the easy way out and ordered the degustation menu - eight exquisitely prepared courses - and then dessert.  It was all superb, but probably my favourites were the roast duck served with plum sauce and Vietnamese salad and the Vietnamese fish cake served with daikon, cucumber, sweet pea puree and orange zest. The sesame and rice flour dumplings, filled with sour sop and served with black sesame ice cream was a taste sensation for dessert. 

To accompany all this Rob and Jurgen picked a lovely Bella Ridge Chenin Blanc from the Swan Valley, WA - which proved a perfect match for the menu

But my camera thought the soft rice paper rolls looked the prettiest in these low light conditions.

We started Sunday slowly, with an easy walk to South Coogee, making sure we had plenty of time to sign up for the 1.00pm guided tour of "The Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul" (Afghanistan) exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW.

It's a small exhibition but an awesome tribute to the bravery of the Museum staff who managed to hide these treasures away safely in the vaults of the presidential palace in Kabul  through the really dangerous years of the Soviet and then the Taliban insurgencies.

The objects on view span Afghan history from 2200 BC to 200AD and come from four sites. The objects from the necropolis of Tillya Tepe were the most spectacular because the chieftain and his household members were buried there with thousands of gold objects.

I loved these little gold and turquoise earrings (over 2000 years old) belonging to some lesser person in the chieftain's household. Despite appearances they're not decorated with heart motifs - they actually represent ivy leaves which at the time symbolised love (because ivy attaches and intertwines itself to things you see).

The AGNSW was buzzing on Sunday afternoon - there were children in collage workshops; there was a panel discussion happening in the entry space of the main gallery and there was this lovely drawing class happening in the 19th century Australian Art gallery - all free to participants.

But by now we were hungry again. We'd planned to take Judy and Jurgen to our fave Danjee (Korean) in Albion Place (thank you Kay and Joel) but timed it wrongly today.  We were directed instead to the Madang on Pitt Street owned and run by the same people as the newer more upmarket Danjee.

We enjoyed a great meal - more rustic than what we'd tried at Danjee but punchy with flavour and freshness as we now understand good Korean food is.  We'll make sure we visit the Madang again.

We're lucky not to have to front up to work on Mondays (unlike Jurgen) so we really appreciated a quiet night at Coogee before fronting the M5 back to Canberra this morning, late enough to miss the early morning Sydney traffic snarls. Another fantastic Sydney weekend!

1 comment:

Sophie Lebang said...

Thank you Bob and Jude for a fantastic weekend. Sydney put on a great weekend for us and we even missed the 10,000 demonstrating against Tony Abbott!!