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Name: Melissa

About Me

Countries Visited (not including Turnarounds): Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Greece, Iceland, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Moldova, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, North Korea, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States, Vatican City

My Perfect Day in -
London | Perth | Sydney | Melbourne

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Skin by Falter

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Tuesday, March 01, 2011
So recently I was rostered on an epic Sydney-Bangkok trip.

And when I say epic, I mean EPIC - a whopping 8 days away from Dubai, living out of a suitcase, resting in two completely different climates, no washing machine, no dryer, no reliable opening hours I know off the top of my head to dine at. I was not looking forward to the trip at all, and had done well to avoid it for over 3 years. It can also be a very testing time for the crew, as quite often on long trips such as these personalities clash and then fights break out. The memory of the 5-day Melbourne-Auckland I operated last Xmas was all to fresh in my mind, with a total bitchfest between one Economy crew member and one from First. I did very well not to buy too much stuff (we're now restricted to 23kg of checked in weight) but boy did I eat my way around Sydney! So despite not getting the chance to visit Sydney since April 2009, I still thoroughly enjoyed myself, and hereby present to you, my lovely readers, my personal black book of things to do or see in Sydney.

Pancakes on the Rocks – A local crew member recommended this place to me, and whilst I’d much rather have Poached Eggs for breakfast than pancakes, I definitely make an exception for this place. Plus the best thing going for this place (at least in Australia where it rarely happens) is that it’s open 24 hours a day!!!!!! Perfect for any jetlagged cabin crew with minimum time off on layovers. I’ve had here in the past their Macadamia Madness pancakes, and I could only finish 2 as it was so filling. And whilst their pancakes are incredibly bad for you I still feel a need to feast on them every time I end up in Sydney. However this place comes with a warning – try to avoid visiting here on a Friday or Saturday night at 2am-4am as that’s when all the drunkards of Sydney leave the clubs for something to eat.

Luna Park – I’m not one for riding amusement park attractions (they make me super nauseous!) but boy do they make great photos! I was here in April last year, and armed with a Lomo camera and nothing else to do I went to Luna Park. Was very shocked to find that I didn’t have to pay any entrance fee – you only pay for the rides to take. Also good for general people watching, especially on the weekends or school holidays.

Bourke St Bakery – I’ve wanted to try the goods here ever since I bought a copy of their book, and the pictures have me absolutely salivating. Whilst I’ve managed to create the unique sausage roll recipes with great success (and they’re a permanent fixture in my freezer just in case I need on-board sustenance without sifting through the aircraft catering) it’s the tarts that have left me so curious.My haul for the first day was a ginger crème brulee tart, a raspberry and chocolate mousse tart, raspberry and chocolate muffin and pork and pancetta sandwich, which was quickly consumed on my SYD-CHC-SYD shuttle. I couldn’t stop there though – I bought more supplies on the way back, though this time it was a Mixed Berry muffin, Pear and Rhubarb Tart, a Plain Croissant and my new favourite, the Ginger Crème Brulee tart. I’m already having withdrawal symptoms. Downside is that I had to take a bus just to get there.

Billy Kwongs – I know it’s not a popular thing to say, but the best thing about this restaurant is the NO RESERVATION POLICY! Finally I can dine somewhere high end and not worry about having to make a booking 2 months in advance! Considering I don’t get my roster until the 20th of each month this is a welcome relief. I queued up here at 5.45 in time for the doors to open at 6pm, and I’m glad I got in there early as the tables were all filled up by 6.30pm! After that they take names and numbers down, which is good if you live in the area, or have a car, or are willing to hang around and try NOT to get drunk at a cocktail bar nearby, but for the jetlagged hostie this really isn’t possible. I ordered the Beer-battered Blue Bottle Squid flavoured with Szechwan pepper and salt as an appetiser, with the stir fried mussels in Szechwan sauce as a main (with a side of rice) and a lemongrass and ginger tea to wash it all down with, and I didn’t leave a single thing left on the plate. It was very tasty, and my only regret was that I didn’t have anyone to join me :-(

Clipper Cafe – Bit of a trek if you’re heading here on a layover, but if you manage to get here in the morning on a weekday its quiet enough to totally chill out and enjoy. I only wish this place was closer to the hotel, but alas what to do. I ordered the baked eggs with Italian Chorizo and ciabatta, and a fresh watermelon, ginger and lemon juice to start off my day. It was a bit chilli outside so this was perfect to warm up with.

The cafe also has back issues of Monocle (big tick!) and Free WIFI as well (massive tick!) Now only if I can steal the bicycles they have on the wall and carry it with me to Dubai...

Vella Nero Coffee Couture – Seemingly ‘the’ place in Sydney to get your morning coffee hit (with the exception of Mecca Espresso, which is just too packed at any time of the day for me to be able to get a seat there) it should be worth mentioning that it’s the only place in Sydney that I’ve seen, and only one of two places in Australia that have on display for sale Hario Coffee Siphon sets and accessories. They really do the most amazing cup of coffee, nice and strong without having to ask for an extra shot, no skimping on the crema either. They’ve also managed to get some super perky folks behind the La Marzocco machine, which can be hard to find at 7am...

Via Abercrombie – I’m going to start off with the worst – if you’re wandering here to get a decent cup of coffee you’ve come to the wrong place. Their specialty in Sydney is their sandwiches, absolutely loaded with filling that you can only eat one half in a single sitting. Despite being hidden in some random alleyway with only an orange sign (with no name!) and a couple of white chairs, it still manages to draw an epic lunchtime crowd. The best thing is, they don’t inflate the prices, with a bacon and egg sandwich costing a mere $5.00 and a Vegie sandwich (which is loaded with hummus and roasted red pepper puree) for $8.00, which if you count one sandwich as being 2 servings ends up being $4.00 a serving. Be warned though, as from 12pm to 2pm the place is absolute chaos, so if you’re able to aim for a 11am visit then this would be ideal.

Cafe Sopra/Fratelli Fresh – My visit here was pretty much a complete shambles. First there were the seating issues – despite advertising that their dinner service started at 6pm, and unable to take any bookings, I was a little shocked to find that at 5.50pm half the restaurant was already full. I was seated at a table, then told to move to the bar, then at the bar told to move AGAIN to accommodate 2 people (despite there being at least 14 chairs available at the bar). The staff could see I was pissed off though so they comped me a cocktail which I was surprised but pleased to see. I first ordered the FREE Campari de limone, which had Campari, muddled lime, ruby red grapefruit and a splash of orange juice. It was tasty, very tart, but not worth the 15 min wait at all. For dinner I had the Lamb Ragu with Rosemary, Chilli and Gnoccitini. The main was very tasty, very hearty Italian. I think though that they were mainly suffering from staffing issues, because despite everything being slow, the staff that they did have looked relatively competent. And that place was absolutely packed, with an ever-increasing queue outside as well. If you want a place to drink with great atmosphere though then I would definitely recommend Cafe Sopra, it seemed that the beautiful Sydney peeps all descend here for their post-work/pre theatre drinks.

Gaffa – Well I thought I should feature somewhere that doesn’t really involve food for a change, and here in Gaffa there is a kind of artist showcase and Arcade 1, which is a jewellery/bag/stationary display for purchase. The three artists featured when I visited were Nitta, Mattt and [little branch] who’s bounty I would have walked out of had I not had my annual leave coming up and a reason to save every last cent I could. They also have a coffee shop downstairs, which is a great place to go for a bit of peace, and not somewhere (I think) the CBD crowd populate in the morning for their pre-work coffee. A nice place to go if you want to go off the beaten track a bit but without leaving the CBD.

Bills – So every time I’m in Australia, layover or leave, I make sure I pick up a copy of Delicious magazine, and every issue seems to have Bill Granger featured. His recipes look amazing, and some can be a little simple, but I have a lot of trouble trying out his recipes at home since what is in season back in Australia is almost never in season in Dubai and impossible to get. (Oh what I wouldn’t give for fresh figs!!!) So I decided to visit Bills, just to see what it would be like. I ordered the Ricotta Hotcakes with Fresh Bananas and Honeycomb Butter, a Sunrise Smoothie of OJ, banana, yogurt and berries, and a Cafe Latte. The Ricotta Hotcakes were just absolute heaven!!! So good it prompted me to pop over to Kinokuniya in Dubai to find the recipe in one of his books. So good that I fully intent to bring back some honeycomb from Perth and make the said butter and have it on toast. It’s served with maple syrup, but you really don’t need it as there is enough subtle flavour in the butter to make the dish awesome. Bills is definitely in my must-do for future Sydney trips.

Are you a virtual or actual Sydney Local? Where would you recommend for my next layover?

[Images from here, here and here]

View My Perfect Day - Sydney in a larger map

Pancakes on the Rocks - 4 Hickson Road, The Rocks. Open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Luna Park - 1 Olympic Drive, Milson's Point. Opening Hours vary, check website for details.

Bourke St Bakery - 633 Bourke St, Surry Hills. Open Mon-Fri 7.00am-6.00pm, Sat-Sun 8.00am-5.00pm.

Billy Kwongs - 355 Crown Street, Surry Hills. Open everyday 6.00pm-late.

Clipper Cafe - 16 Glebe Point Road, Glebe. Open Mon-Fri 6.00am-6.00pm

Vella Nero Coffee - 259 Clarence St, Sydney CBD. Open Mon-Fri 7.00am-4.00pm

Via Abercrombie - 1 Abercrombie Lane, Sydney CBD. Open Mon-Fri 8.00am-3.00pm

Cafe Sopra - 16 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay Open everyday 12.00-3.00pm, and 6.00pm-10.00pm

Gaffa - 281 Clarence Steet, Sydney CBD (02) 9283 4273 Open Mon-Fri 10.00am-6.00pm and Sat 11.00am-5.00pm

Bills (Surry Hills) - 359 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW - (02) 9360 4762 Open everyday 7.00am to 10.00pm. Lunch until 4.00pm Dinner from 6.00pm.

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