It’s all been buildup, really, which means anticipating the break and catching up with people before I go away. This week (my last week of work for a month) has been particularly busy:
Monday – Joel’s parents arrived for a couple of days, and we went to local restaurant Opah which advertises “all you can eat Greek yum cha” for $30 a head. I’d heard lots of positive comments about it from various people, so was keen to try it out. It certainly wins for value: after nine large courses the waiter comes out and asks which courses you’d like to try again – and it’s okay to say “all of them”! The four of us were stuffed after bread and dips, grilled haloumi, fried calamari, zucchini and cheese fritters, domades, pan-fried prawns in tomato sauce, sausage and chicken skewers, and a giant mound of spit-roasted lamb with lemon potatoes on the side. The quality was fine but all the food was quite heavy – we all needed the lift to get back down the stairs after the meal. Great value if you’re starving and nothing specific to complain about, but I wouldn’t rush back for it. Good rustic food is the best I can say for it.
Tuesday – a night at the local bowling club with Joel, her parents, Stu and Jeriel. Enough said.
Wednesday – quiet night in. Also known as recovery.
Thursday – into town to have a haircut and dinner with James. We wandered Surry Hills to see what was available and ended up scoring a prime outdoor table at newish Italian wine bar Mille Vini on Crown St. In contrast to Opah (and it’s smaller sibling Splash, also in Cronulla) the food here was delicate and divine: grilled sardines with pine nuts and sultanas, baked eggplant with two kinds of cheese, finely sliced beef with rocket and truffle oil, and duck wrapped with proscuitto on radicchio salad. Sublime food that went well with the glasses of soave, gruner veltliner and barbera we sampled. Considerably more expensive than most tapas-style places, but you can taste where the money goes. Highly recommended. As always, a great conversational catch-up as well.
Friday – dinner with Aunt Geraldine and Azza at the local bowling club’s restaurant, which is several steps above normal club food. I had pork belly for entree followed by fresh grilled redfish, Azza had soft-shell crab entree and the pork belly as a main, and Geraldine had battered fish and chips. All quality meals, and decent value as well.
Saturday – barbeque at Mikey’s place with Stacey, Stu and Jeriel. Fine salads and meat with good conversation until midnight. Nice.
Sunday – lunch at James’ new find The Taphouse in Darlinghurst. A proudly specialised beer pub with decent food as well, we all had the roast of the day with several bottles of wine in their wonderfully bright and airy top-floor restaurant area festooned with dozens of empty birdcages hanging from the ceiling, the atmosphere somewhat British colonial but also slightly French. the roast veal was either cooked too long or at too high a temp so was a little tough, but the mushroom and vege ragu with gravy underneath was sublime. And of course it was great to catch up with Colin, James and John!
Tomorrow – lunch in Jamberoo with Steph, can’t wait for that 🙂
Tuesday to come – final final farewell drinks with Stu and Jeriel, who are leaving for South America two days before I return. I won’t see them again until the day before I go to Asia on November 12th, so this will be a good night 🙂
Wednesday – fly to Chile in the morning. Woo hoo!