Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Circle Park Menswear Launch @ The Backroom

Last Thursday night The Trish Nicol Agency presented a new men's streetwear label, Circle Park and its brand new collection Son of Leisure at a media and industry launch party at The Backroom in Potts Point. 

The Backroom Sydney
The small and intimate club itself is decked out with disco balls hanging from the ceiling, antique furnitures and plush old chesterfield sofas that are so comfortable you won't want to get up once you've sat on one. 

Guests were treated to Absolute Vodka 'Park Punch' and PureBlond along with American diner styled food such as sliders and deep fried twinkies. Designer Tim Turner-Sutton was in attendance but special guest US rapper Big Sean was a no show, leaving the resident DJ to entertain the crowd with a mix of RnB, Hip Hop and some of the best of the 90s songs. 

Circle Park 'Son of Leisure' Collection
The collection included tanks, tees, shirts, knits, cardigans, blazer, jeans and chinos with a super low crutch, simply put, streetwear with attitude. My favourite pieces are probably the Anti Social Cardigan with the label's crest embroidered on the front and the Grandpa's Alley Knit, a bathrobe style knit hoodie with cardigan style buttons. They looked and felt super comfy and warm, something a girl could borrow from her man on a cold day.

This is a label about having fun, not taking life too seriously but to enjoy it, just read the message on their website:

Welcome to Circle Park. Take a look around, stay as long as you want and hit us up if you've got any questions or just wanna chat. We're a friendly bunch.. Most of the time. Depending on the size of the night before..   

No doubt those chino pants with super low crutch will be spotted at the Bondi Skate Park soon?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quarter Twenty One Cookery School (CLOSED)

Lucky me scored an invited to the first Google Places Power User event for Sydney - a hands on cooking class at Quarter Twenty One Cookery School. The icing on the cake was revealed when Anna, our lovely Sydney Google Places community manager, told me that, Chef Justin North would be our teacher! Wow, can I say that again? WOW!

Put a bunch of foodies and a great chef in one room and you are bound to have a great night. Actually, my exact words (or tweet) on the night was the word 'awesome' pales in comparison with tonite's cooking class with Justin...

Armed with some delicious appetizers (tapioca crisp, melon with duck prosciutto, crab cucumber chamomile, Bécasse artisan bread and butter) we settled around our work benches, eager to learn from one of the best in the business on how to create a classic French dish, the Provençal seafood stew or Bouillabaisse.

It was mesmerising watching the master at work; we even had to be reminded to eat our appetizers, and several times at that.

Part of the hands on task was to prepare our own fish for the stew, I have never filleted a fish till that night, but the way Justin handled the knife made it look so easy, that is until we got to the hands on part.

For someone who has never handled a whole fish before, looking at the snapper was a bit daunting; but under step-by-step guidance, I managed to fillet my very first whole snapper. Removing the bones were a little bit more tricky, the fact I didn't find any bones in the stew meant I did something right.

Provençal seafood stew
While we enjoyed our own fruit of labour, the Provençal seafood stew, which was delicious if I may say so myself, Justin demonstrated the hows of making a quince tart tatin, cumin caramel and Armagnac Chantilly. I think that's what a foodie heaven would look like if there was one, being served dessert by one of the best chefs around! 

You won't find a group of people more passionate about food than Chef Justin North, Cookery School director Libby Travers and the team of talented chefs behind some of the best restaurants around town. They will not only teach you how to cook but also how to think like a cook, so give it a go and learn to cook for the soul.

If the food at the cookery school we got to sample is anything to go by, I can only imagine how amazing the dishes at Quarter Twenty One and Bécasse would be. Can't wait for the chance to head over there for a meal or two! 

Quarter Twenty One:  Level 5, Westfield Sydney, cnr Pitt St Mall and Market Street, Sydney, NSW 2000  Quarter Twenty One on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 6, 2012

Speakeasy Bar

Located minutes from Bondi Beach is a small neighbourhood bar called Speakeasy, and when I say "small", I meant it literally. With enough seats for only 20 people, this casual and unassuming wine bar was the perfect place for us to escape a cold and wet Autumn afternoon.   

The dim lit space is decorated with low comfy couches, dark wooden tables and chairs, mirrors and red lanterns that reminded me of acorns. The menu offers both local and international wine by the glass or bottle, each wine comes with single line of description giving you a quick insight to its tasting notes. There is also a handful of liqueurs and spirits listed on the gold menu pages, but you'll have to ask the waiter about beers. 

Food here is designed for sharing and are grouped into "Little bits" such as warm organic bread,  olives, muhammara; "Bigger bits" like Mushroom medley with zataar, pinenuts & shaved manchego cheese, Moroccan spiced chicken wings served with herbed yoghurt dip; and breakfast dishes such as Bruschetta with boiled eggs, roast potato, prosciutto and aioli for the weekends. Several cured meat and cheese plates are also on the menu while specials and dessert are written on the chalk board on the wall.

Wagyu beef, fig, pumpkin tagine
Looking for something to tide us over till dinner, we ordered the Chicken liver pate with sweet & sour onions & organic sourdough toast and warm organic bread with chalk board special Wagyu beef, fig, pumpkin tagine. The pate came in a jar with a layer of protective butter, it was soft and rich, spread smoothly across the toasts. The Wagyu beef was slow-cooked to perfection, the addition of fig, chickpeas, pumpkin and herbs gave the dish a beautiful spicy, yet fresh Moroccan flavour. 

I asked our waitress to suggest a wine to go with the beef and Postales’ oak aged malbec Patagonia from Argentina was poured, needless to say it matched the dish nicely.

It was its prohibition era name that drew us in, but once inside the wine and food kept us happy and its bohemian decor, in particular the large nude painting near the window made some great talking points. Small and intimate, Speakeasy is a great place to relax and catch up with friends over a glass of wine and a few delicious Asian and mediterranean inspired dishes. 

Speakeasy Bar: 83 Curlewis Street, Bondi Beach, NSW 2026  Speakeasy Bar on Urbanspoon