Sydney’s Hidden Eateries

1. 1821 – Made in Greece

I can unreservedly proclaim that 1821, located at 122 Pitt St, Sydney, is the most glamorous, opulent and satisfying dining experience on offer in Sydney’s central business district.

Over three levels of Athenian inspired interior design, paying homage to the Greek revolution against the Ottomans, designer Dimitris Economou has established a unparalled and awe-inspiring venue that is both opulent and sophisticated. Paying tribute to the traditions, heritage and future of Greece, attention to detail is obvious in the design and execution of the interiors, food, staffing, etc.

“I employed a designer from Greece and flew him in to design it,” Kospetas says. “He is a highly regarded in Greece. The whole essence of 1821 is that we want it designed and built in Greece so it actually is a Greek interior.”

Backer Jim Kospetas — who drove the opening of the successful Alpha restaurant in Sydney’s CBD Hellenic Club — says the fitout costs are climbing but added that he is confident the project will have a midyear start.

“It’s been very expensive,” he says. “I don’t think we’re going to get much change out of $2m. It may even get up as high as $3m. But we’re taking Greek food to the next level.”

 The Daily Telegraph

The stunning high ceilings, powerful columns, detailed white horses mounted to the venue entry and wide windows creates an unrivalled eatery appropriate for formal gatherings, and/or casual Friday night drinks with colleagues.

Whether you are enticed by the delights on the desert menu, the finger-licking good main dishes or the reasonably priced (yet ever so fancy) beverages, 1821 has to be next on your ‘to go‘ list!

Menu

Make a reservation

Ph. (02) 8080 7070

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2. Gemelle Ristorante Italiano

Hidden in the side streets of Liverpool sits a fine-dining white tablecloth experience that will not disappoint you (or your purse strings). During a weeknight, Gemelle provides sensational dishes thriving off fresh ingredients, attention to detail and exceptional unobtrusive customer service. On a weekend, Gemelle has proven to be a suitable location for parties and events, oozing an undeniable sense sophistication and charm. Frankly, Gemmelle is the George Clooney of the suburban Italian food restaurants.

Recent interior upgrades such as the addition of stone walls, an impressive glass clear on restaurant floor and winding staircase leading to an upstairs function centre are individual features of the eatery. Down-lights and jazz music add to the flair and up-scale ambience of the restaurant, particularly on busy Saturday evenings.

Whilst dishes are arguably slightly dearer than counterpart restaurants, the overall dining experience and quality of the produce and foods are unrivalled, transporting you from the back streets of the western suburbs to the most elegant eatery in Sydney. In the event that you are searching for alternative locations for a date night or event outside of the central business district, ensure 79 Bathurst St, Liverpool is at the top of your list.

Menu

Make a reservation

Ph: 02 9602 5294

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3. The Public Dining Room

Okay, so perhaps this suggestion is cheating as Balmoral’s The Public Dining Room isn’t necessarily ‘underrated‘, however, on the basis that I knew nothing about it until the moment I ate at the restraunt, for arguments sake, it’s underrated.

The Public Dining Room is an incredibly upmarket venue that boasts unobstructed breathtaking views over the picturesque Balmoral Beach. Having only eaten at the restraunt on Valentine’s Day 2016, of which I cannot recall whether there was a set menu for the evening, the lasting impression of the food was that the kitchen delivered.

Whilst prices are on the higher end, The Public Dining Room is not a venue that one would dine at on a regular basis, instead it would be reserved for special occasions. Considering the beauty of the venue, the professionalism of staff, abilities of kitchen staff and opulance of the interiors, one can make an exception and for-out $40(ish) dollars per meal every so often.

Menu

Make a reservation

Ph. (02) 9968 4880

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Happy dining!

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Wesołych Świąt!

To the Poles, much alike other Eastern Europeans, Christmas Eve (Wigilia) is one of the most important days of religious observance in the year.

The meaning and traditions of Wigilia are representative of the Roman Catholic faith, the significance of family, the perseverance of traditional customs and carb-laden hearty foods.

Wigilia along with the rest of the festive season is a time of year that I always idealised and continue to look forward to. I distinctly recall as a child my mother  preparing beautiful and indulgent foods in the kitchen, whilst the rest of the family obediently cleaned the house (including the dreaded windows). I have come to value these menial tasks and memories with age and hope to uphold these values in the future with my future family, in hope to preserve the Polish culture in my life and in hope that my children will love the festive period as much as I do.

With that said, I would love to share with you what Wigilia looks like at my home and how traditional European customs and the modern life we live in Australia intersects, creating our hybrid ‘Wigilia’.

Oplatek

Breaking oplatek with your beloved family and friends is an ancient tradition, whereby
communion bread is broken by the head of the family (traditionally the husband to the wife) and well-wishes are shared between the couple, to be continued with the rest of the table. These well-wishes are strictly to take place before the sharing of the Christmas Eve supper.

The Christmas wafer symbolizes the unity of the family,[8] which many consider to be the main pillar of society. According to beliefs, the bond of unity should exist between family members. The father is seen as the link in the unbroken chain of One Body, One Bread, One Christ, and One Church, while other family members join him in this eternal procession. The wafer also symbolizes forgiveness and reconciliation.

Oplatek

Whilst my best-friend and I dreaded the awkwardness that the oplatek brought, and the
inevitable “I hope you get good grades at school” line – I have come to appreciate these moments as an adult, as honestly, how often do we take time out of our day-to-day lives to appreciate our families and wish them well in their future endeavours?

eucharist

Christmas Eve Supper

Tradition dictates that there is to be at least twelve (12) meals at the Christmas table, representative of the Twelve Apostles, the twelve days of Christmas and the twelve months in the year.

Wigilia dinner is to be strictly meatless, influenced by the practice of fasting to show respect. As a result, seasonal foods such as boiled potatoes, pickled herrings (sledzie), mushroom soup, beetroot soup, kompot (recipe available at Eastern European Christmas Classics: Kompot) , beans and sauerkraut (groch i kapusta) and other heavy food groups are used.

Polish people also are to prepare spare cutilary, cups, plates and enough food for an extra visitor. This empty place at the table is to represent those who are far from us on this special day, the less fortunate and those speding wigilia alone.  My favourite memory is when a man dressed as santa walked through our neighbourhood wishing everyone a Merry Christmas was invited into our home to share in the Christmas Eve dinner and celebrations.

Bombki

Hand painted and designed bym-iw-bombkaaubles play a significant role in Bombek.JPGaccessorising Wigilia and the family Christmas tree.

This year my partner surprised me with a personalised hand-painted bauble with our names on it. This gift is something I will always hold close to my heart due to the strong cultural influences of hand-made bombki, and the fact that this is a sentimental object that we can continue to use into the future. He further outdid himself by both reading and gifting me the Zimmermann Circular Link bag I discussed in both Christmas Gift Guide: Women who have Everything! and the Luxury Addict Tag (lucky me).

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Niech czas Bożego Narodzenia upłynie w atmosferze radości i miłości, a Nowy Rok spełni wszystkie wasze marzenia.

Eastern European Christmas Classics: Kompot

Whether it be made of prunes, strawberries, blueberries or various stone fruits, kompot is a fuss free drink that requires little ingredients and effort. Kompot is the fresh and un-concentrated equivalent of fruit juice, that is sweetened by fructose and a small amount of added sugar.

Year after year, kompot has proven itself to be a crowd pleaser and staple of the Wigilia table. There are varying ways kompot can be made. Some recipes are the equivalent of family heirlooms, whilst others are picked up offline or from a made at the direction of a friend’s recommendation. However kompot is made, it provides as a hearty and comforting beverage.

Whilst I was under the impression that kompot was a Polish beverage, researching has made it apparent that kompot to Eastern Europe, is pavlova to Australia and New Zealand. To trace where kompot truly originated requires copious amounts of research and gentle diplomatic work. Irrespective of where kompot originally began, I am happy and thankful that kompot is and always will be a part of my Christmas memories and celebrations.

Over the past years, I have shared many joyous family memories with a warm serving of prune kompot. In the same giving Christmas spirit, I give thee, my family’s kompot recipe.

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Ingredients:

  1. One (1) litre of water
  2. Two hundred (200) grams of pitted prunes
  3. Four (4) table spoons of sugar

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Method:

  1. Boil one (1) litre of water over a low to medium heat.15182565_10207286153500034_1171829334_o.jpg
  2. Once the water becomes warm, place two hundred (200) grams of pitted prunes into warm water.
  3. Leave the prunes in the warm water to soften prunes for 10-20 mins at a low heat.
  4. To your discretion, sweeten kompot with sugar (whether that be raw sugar, stevia based-sweetener or white granulated sugar). I suggest three (3) to four (4) table spoons of sugar to the one (1) litre of water.
  5. Enjoy either warm (my preference) or chilled. Be sure not to remove the left over prunes that have not dissolved or broken down into the beverage – the chunkier the better (although not everyone agrees with that rule).

Na Zdrowie!

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