We have finally tracked down a Sydney brunch spot worth taking your mother-in-law to. A round of applause to Copo Cafe & Diner in Drummoyne. Words by Ryan Auberson-Walsh
Let’s be honest, one of the most stressful parts of ordering a meal is the ever present “food regret”. You think you’re choosing the right dish and when everyone gets served, you get that sinking feeling. Thankfully, you can avoid this dining disaster by visiting Mexicano, another addition to Neutral Bay’s restaurant scene that encourages groups to share and try each dish. Problem solved.
New digs in Neutral Bay for Mexicano
Even though it’s tucked between the slew of new small bars in Waters Rd, you’ll be able to spot Mexicano straight away with the huge skull that marks the spot. Step inside, and you’ll be welcomed by long community style share tables with mural style art splattered across them. Sharing is the aim of the game so the best way to start is with a plate of fries with Valentine sauce. Next for appetisers? Anything with chipotle mayo.
These hand cut fries are made daily in Mexicano’s signature potato press
As you move to main course, your food regret anxiety might begin to kick in. But don’t worry. The best way to play it is to order a round of tacos and quesadillas for the table. If you’ve got a vegetarian in the group, the triple cheese quesadillas are the way to go. For the carnivores amongst you, it’s certainly worth ordering the slow cooked beef brisket tacos with Mexican slaw. Throw in some fish tacos for good measure and everybody will be happy.
The only time you might want to keep a course to yourself is dessert. The team at Mexicano have put together a dessert menu that goes from the humble ice-cream sandwich to salted caramel and ancho chilli chocolate truffles (there’s four to a serve but maybe you should keep that information to yourself).
Mexicano may be the new kid on the block but the locals are already flooding to get their fix.
2a Waters Rd, Neutral Bay
Tues-Sat from 6pm
Weekend bookings essential
It might be brutal on the body, the words agony and excruciating no understatement, but carving up rural dirt roads on a well-used mountain bike pedals a rather unexpected turn of events into action. Words by Ryan Auberson-Walsh
Sydney locals will tell you that spending a day and a night out in the city is not a cheap task. It’s time to plan your summer days around a few Sydney secrets that will keep your friends happy and your wallet full.
Amidst the jumble of cafes and bookstores on Glebe Point Rd you can find the Glebe markets, the perfect place to start your day with a search amongst the bric-a-brac and some seriously yummy food. The stalls are spread over the local public school and guide you on a windy path through handmade jewellery, second hand clothes and original artworks. You can grab a Turkish coffee or homemade lemonade to tide your over until you have picked through the trinkets and clothes, all to the soundtrack of the live bands that set up their instruments in the far corner of the school. It’s the vibe of the place that makes a day at the markets a relaxing start to the weekend.
Soaking up the sun with some live tunes is the best way to enjoy a tasty market lunch.
After you’ve scored a few good finds, it’s best to sprawl out on the grass with a spot of lunch. The yard stick of good market food seems to be the good old Gozleme, which is freshly rolled and fried in record time by the seamless crew behind the stall. If you’re in the mood for something a little lighter to munch on in the sunshine, the salads with vegie balls are a market favourite. This is part one to your cheap and cheerful day in Sydney. It’s best to take your time and enjoy the ambience before moving onto phase two.
As afternoon sets in and the tired stall owners pack away their colourful wares, the next step is an evening drink in the beer garden at the Australian Youth Hotel. The dappled sunlight serves as some cooling relief on a warm day. Sharing a bottle of rose is surprisingly cheap but if you’re more of a beer drinker, there are plenty of on tap ales and lagers to choose from. You can settle in here all afternoon is you want but by dinner time you might want to save a little cash and head out for a cheap feast.
Soy braised eggplant is a Cho favourite (Source)
When you’ve spent your day idly wandering from one place to the next, you’ll definitely be woken up with a trip down the road to the outskirts of China Town. Appearances can certainly be deceptive when you’re choosing a place to grab some dumplings with friends but don’t be fooled. The only way you will be able to tell how good Cho Dumpling King is from the outside, is by the line that snakes out the door. While you queue up, send a friend to the bottle shop for some wine and beers before you get ushered over to a group table. It’s best to come prepared with some meals in mind as the service is quick. The soft and sticky fried eggplant is always a hit (especially to soak up some of that afternoon drinking) and obviously a generous few rounds of different dumplings are in order. You’ll be shocked to find that this variable feast will barely cost you more than $10 and it’s some of the best Chinese food Sydney has to offer.
So there you have it. A few new knick knacks to add to your collection, a great summertime pub and deliciously cheap meal to round it all off. Sydney’s perfect day, for a perfect price.
One of the joys of the warmer months is the humble picnic. But picnics aren’t so humble anymore. Enter the two English foodies who have formed the Sydney Picnic Company, with a gourmet basket for each and every occasion.
Simon and Natalie Thomas were just a pair of newlyweds on their Sydney honeymoon when they fell in love with the spectacular picnic spots that Sydney has to offer. Now, twelve years later, they have taken the picnic basket far beyond a roast chicken and a couple of dinner rolls.
The couple offer fresh, seasonal hampers filled with everything you need for the perfect picnic. Their most popular hamper, the Sydney Picnic, comes with Australian king prawns tossed in Sichuan salt and pepper. Open the lid a little wider and you’ll discover free range roast chicken on a bed of fregola tossed with lemon and toasted pepitas. Each basket has a little twist and Natalie and Simon have just introduced their Spring Picnic which offers a jumble of salads and hearty mains, paired with double cream French brie (they love to use Aussie produce, but Natalie lives by French cheese) and a blueberry compote with crushed salted shortbread with vanilla cream.
Packed to perfection. These hampers aren’t missing a single thing.
This is a truly different way to dine. What once was a favourite with couples celebrating anniversaries and birthdays, has now become a popular treat for hen’s nights, baby showers and even weddings. Simon and Natalie are constantly tailoring each basket to reflect every occasion, offering delicious additions like an extra cheese course or a vegetarian and gluten free option.
A sneak-peek of Simon and Natalie’s basket for an al fresco wedding reception.
So maybe it’s time to head outside and choose a spot on the grass without the fuss of packing your own basket. Sit back, relax and let the Sydney Picnic Company take care of everything.
Contact Natalie on 0420 943 670
Bookings should be made 48 hours in advance
The Belvoir St Theatre is a Sydney institution. This year it will celebrate twenty years of it’s Unwaged Performances Program which invites keen theatre goers to matinees, free of charge. (Source)
The play bill for 2014 at the Belvoir St Theatre has been impressive. Just last month, director Eamon Flack offered audiences his take on the Tennessee Williams classic The Glass Menagerie, showcasing the talent of Luke Mullins (Angels in America) and Australian tour de force Pamela Rabe. In the coming months, audiences will be drawn into a Dickensian Christmas with Anne-Louise Sark’s direction of A Christmas Carol which promises to put a modern spin on the classic tale of second chances, and finding joy in each little corner of the world.
But the theatre is certainly not cheap. Belvoir has enjoyed a rich history of community connections and for twenty years now, has invited members of the public to come for a free Thursday matinee. This is all part of the theatre’s Community Access Program which aims to bring Australian theatre to everybody, regardless of age, financial constraints or physical location.
Rose Riley and Pamela Rabe in ‘The Glass Menagerie’ (Source)
While concessions and pensioners are welcomed frequently at a little under the normal cost, it’s good to know that everybody can come to the theatre if they stay in the Belvoir loop. There is a full house of 320 seats for the taking in the Upstairs theatre but the keen ones had better get in there fast as these Unwaged Performances have a history of long lines of enthusiastic audiences weaving out the door and down the street.
These performances are just a fragment of the Belvoir community experience. Local groups and charities are frequently invited to apply for the Charitable Tickets Program which helps to fill the theatre with audiences who wouldn’t normally have access to it.
Australian theatre at its finest, the Belvoir St Theatre is bringing theatre to all those who want it.
Thursdays at 2pm
To check eligibility visit here
Heading out for a quiet drink on a Tuesday night will be forever changed with one visit to the ArtHouse hotel. Flex you artistic muscles for a night of live Burlesque drawing, courtesy of Dr Sketchy. (Source)
Taking inspiration from Brooklyn, NYC, the ArtHouse hotel plays host to live models and artists of all skill levels for an evening of drawing and debauchery. Dr Sketchy’s live burlesque drawing class was devised in 2005 in an effort to bring a new flavour to life drawing. But this class is not just for seasoned artists, it’s for everybody. It’s completely up to you whether you use your time beneath the red glow of the bar light to refine your sketching skills, or you just grab a group of friends to enjoy the bar food and cocktails while you attempt a quasi-masterpiece of your own making.
An art sample from a night with Dr Sketchy (Source)
If you want to just go and soak up the atmosphere, the ArtHouse hotel has a generous menu that you can enjoy including a James Squire beer battered fish and chips or stuffed portabello mushrooms. It wouldn’t be night of scandal however without a cheeky cocktail, and this menu doesn’t disappoint. If you want to keep up that burlesque era feel, then it’s worth sampling the disaronno sour, a double serve of almond liquor mixed with a healthy measure of sours and egg whites. There are also small cocktail jugs to share which are sure to refresh and impress.
Dr Sketchy’s is on every Tuesday at the ArtHouse Hotel. Don’t be shy, have a peek.
The ArtHouse Hotel
275 Pitt St, 2000
Tickets are $25 and include:
- Entry to Dr Sketchy’s
- Welcome drink
- A-Reserved seating
- Sketch pad and pencil
For more ticket information visit: