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A New Era for The Charing Cross Hotel

Feb 25, 2015

Photos by Natalie Hayllar

A New Era for the Charing Cross Hotel
Eastern Suburbs landmark venue, The Charing Cross Hotel, officially reopened its doors late last year following an extensive makeover that saw the unveiling of an expansive, light-filled public bar and a new sixty seat dining room with Chef Matt Kemp heading up the kitchen. Having driven past this Pub for many years on route to Bondi, it was a nice surprise indeed to take a look inside and spend some time lunching in this fresh new French inspired Sydney pub.

British born Matt Kemp leads the food direction with his signature French trained, English inspired style of food. Well known in Sydney for his previous restaurants Balzac and Montpellier Eating House, Matt has created a contemporary European menu that reflects his heritage. Some of Matt’s favourite dishes from the menu include the Gnocchi with chestnuts, cauliflower, peas & pecorino and a salad of seared albacore tuna, pickled fennel, English cucumbers & mint. The dining room will also serve shared feasts for groups as well as an impressive traditional Sunday roast menu. Matt adds “This is not about overworked, fussy cuisine; it’s about feeling at home with a menu that’s easy to understand and enjoying food with your whole family.”

The Charing Cross, originally founded in 1857 by ex-convict William Newland and home to early meetings of the newly formed Waverly Council, was once a premiere hotel in the area has now been returned to its former glory with a cool, polished interior that is inspired by its original art deco features, but with a more contemporary coastal feel that reflects the laid back attitude of the neighbourhood and nearby beaches of Tamarama and Bronte. The decision to take on a venue with such a rich local history was a personal one for owner Warren Livingstone, who says “I have lived around the corner for a decade and as a local I wanted to create something that my family and friends from the neighbourhood could enjoy. I want the hotel to be casual and good value - geared towards people going a couple of times a week rather than for a special occasion.”


The Timorous Beasties wallpaper was the first thing I noticed when I walked in followed by the expansive dining area and those big French letters! The airy glass ceiling in the dining room leads the way to a courtyard featuring impressive seven metre high illuminated lettering that were sourced in Paris from the former Concorde Lafayette Hotel sign. Apparently these look pretty special lit up at night. Stylish interior flourishes include a gorgeous seven metre long high Chesterfield bench seat in powder blue leather, elegant vintage pendant lighting and soft white polished concrete floors. The marble topped, corrugated American oak clad bar is a signature of the main bar, an intentional move by Livingstone who says “I love the feeling of the New York Bistro where folks can grab a seat at the bar”. The drink offering focuses on craft beers and natural wines designed to accompany the fresh, light menu.

There is a lovely art deco private dining space downstairs and upstairs, perfect for a small party or gathering, as well as some onsite accommodation also. The rooms upstairs are fresh and bright with simple furnishings and easy access to transport for Bondi Junction and Bondi Beach. 

The Charing Cross Hotel
81 Carrington Road, Waverley
(02) 9839 3093

* I was a guest of Charing Cross Hotel thanks so much for having me Waz and Pen Livingstone. 


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March into Merivale at Coogee Pavilion


This week its the official launch of March into Merivale, so I thought it only fitting to share some pics from one of my favourite Merivale venues - The Coogee Pavilion. If you are looking for a fun day out in Sydney with the family Coogee Pavilion celebrates the good things in life – friendship, family, fun and food – all with an ocean view. With a variety of different spaces spread over three spectacular levels, Coogee Pavilion has a place to call your own.
The Ground Floor appeals to a wide range of taste buds and budgets and is the ideal location for family get-togethers, coffee dates or catching up with friends. From freshly shucked oysters to burgers and grills, wood-fired pizza to kids dishes, our menu is made for sharing. There is a fantastic kids play area up the back which means parents can relax and enjoy the food and surrounds without fear of being too noisy or interrupting someones dinner. Its a really relaxed and fun vibe. 
The nostalgic games arena is fantastic – complete with petanque, giant magnetic scrabble, giant connect four, ping pong tables, bowls, and an in-house theatrette – ensures fun for all ages. You can also visit Rudy’s barbershop for a trim or take home fresh blooms from our flower stand. Perhaps get a blow dry before you Friday night out and a coffee for the trip home? They really have thought of everything here. 
The Rooftop is now officially open and featuring four indoor and outdoor bars and a mouthwatering Mediterranean menu. Stay tuned for news on our Middle Floor, currently undergoing renovations and soon to feature another new & spectacular offering to complete the Coogee Pavilion experience. 
Merivale is kicking off the March into Merivale festivities this week with a launch party tonight and month of special events, foodie experiences for all ages and budgets including The Coogee Festival on 15th March. I am looking forward to sharing some memorable Merivale moments in March on the blog. For more information and event calendar head over to Merivale. #marchintomerivale 

 



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L'Americano Espresso Bar Cafe, Coco Republic

Feb 21, 2015

Photos by Natalie Hayllar {eat read love} 

Coco Republic celebrates the grand opening of L’Americano Espresso Bar this month. 
The Italian theme continues this week on the blog with a visit to a lovely new little Italian cafe in Sydney. What's not to love about a gorgeous Italian inspired cafe set amongst one of my favourite interior stores! Coco Republic has got your Saturday morning covered.  I popped in to this lovely little Espresso bar with a friend to check out the lunch menu and take a few pictures of this gorgeous little slice of the Italian Riviera. The signature Green and White striped awning and tiles are easy to spot from O'Riordan Street, and inside the interiors are rich and warm.  Set in Coco Republic’s flagship Alexandria showroom in Sydney, L’Americano is the first hospitality offering for the Australian owned premium lifestyle brand. The café combines Coco Republic’s signature American design aesthetic and Vittoria Coffee’s rich Italian heritage. 

When you walk into L’Americano Espresso Bar you are transported to the Italian Riviera, with artisanal coffee and an inspired menu by acclaimed Executive Chef Alex Kearns. Think The Talented Mr Ripley and the character of Dickie Greenleaf in Italy of 1955.  "L’Americano exudes the old world charm of a 1950’s Italian espresso bar on the Riviera that an American playboy, with a lust for the finer things in life, would frequent". L’Americano offers a breakfast and lunch menu with beautiful locally sourced produce and a relaxed Italian style, without the hefty prices of the Italian Riviera. I hope you love it as  much as me. And what better way to spend a morning - shopping in Coco Republic followed by Italian lunch. I will definitely be back. Soon. Robbo are you coming with?
"L’Americano will excite the senses – from baristas trained in the art of coffee to inspirational décor that makes you want to come back, time and time again, ” says Anthony Spon Smith, Executive Director, Coco Republic.
L’Americano Espresso Bar
24 O’Riordan Street, 
Alexandria NSW
Monday to Saturday 7am – 5pm, Sunday 9am – 5pm
www.lamericano.com.au        
@lamericano_cafe



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Sydney Restaurants: ABODE Bistro

Feb 20, 2015


Photos by Natalie Hayllar {eat read love}

Sydney Restaurant ABODE Bistro gets White on White. 
Last week we had one of those scorching hot and humid Sydney days. So we were very lucky to escape the city heat and enter into the very soothing white interiors of ABODE Bistro, the latest dining experience at the Park Royal Darling Harbour Sydney. ABODE is a modern bistro style restaurant and bar in the Sydney CBD with head chef Ryan Hong focusing on fresh seasonal mains and a selection of small dishes to share – perfect for the CBD lunch crowd. You can choose from a selection of small plates or more substantial mains and sides too. Abode offers relaxing cocktails in the bar upstairs, full al a carte menu in the dining room and high tea and drinks in the sunken lounge area below. It is a relaxing and stylish space perfect for corporate lunches and meetings, pre- theatre dinners and after work drinks. The menu revolves around innovative share plates and seasonal produce with farmers market fresh appeal. 

The endless white interiors instills a sense of calm and tranquility from the minute you enter. The lighting is beautiful and the rugs and wallpaper have been designed by Oscar winner Catherine Martin set against the signature Florence Broadhurst lattice works. Perfect for a mid week lunch or girly afternoon, Abode Bistro is now also offering high tea service from Feb 27th too.  Thanks Abode for a lovely lunch experience and I am very much looking forward to High Tea soon. 

High Tea:
 Fridays from 2-5pm;
 Saturday & Sundays from 11.30am – 2pm & 2.30pm – 5pm. Morning / afternoon tea $45 /Add a tea cocktail $50 / Add a glass of French Sparkling $65 View the High Tea menu here. 


Address: 150 Day Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone:(02) 9260 2945

* I was a guest of Abode Bistro. 


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The Amalfi Coast Part 1

Feb 17, 2015

 The Stunningly beautiful Isle of Capri through the eyes of photographer Nadean Richards.


One of my favourite girls and photographers Nadean Richards takes us on a beautiful tour of of one of the most beautiful places in the world - The Amalfi Coast. Including some wonderful tips for travelling to Positano, Capri and Amalfi. I hope you enjoy this wonderful guide as much as I did walking down memory lane. 

By Nadean Richards
From the soaring hilltops of Sorrento to the warm and friendly atmosphere of Amalfi town, The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of the Mediterranean that has to be seen to be believed. John Steinbeck says: “Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you are gone.”

If you’re lucky enough to visit the area then Positano is far and above the best spot to base yourself whilst touring this region. Positano is one of the most unique places in the world, with its topography, magical views, winding cobblestone streets filled with the most wonderful shopfronts, colours, smells, and delicious food at every corner. It was little wonder that I thought it was the perfect place to bring my husband to on our first wedding anniversary! 

After battling through Naples town we navigated around the mountainous cliffs of Sorrento. The scenery is breathtaking with the clear blue water of the Mediterranean crashing on the shores hundreds of meters below. The heights and winding roads are not for the faint hearted.  Although it was truly stunning to take in, after adding in the stress of whizzing vespas, mad Italian's trying to overtake you at every turn, and questionably sloping tour busses, I was very happy to arrive in Positano in one piece. 

Positano itself is an engineering feat! This town captivates you at every angle and the locals are engaging and charismatic. The Moorish style architecture rises up steep slopes, which look out to the Sireneuse Islands. Fishing is the foundation the Amalfi Coast is based upon and the sea is what earns these men a living. It’s a skill that is passed down from generation to generation. It is an activity that is swelled with pride and custom and is usually the main dish in all of the restaurants. 

Shopping
One of the enchanting things to do in Positano is to walk the back streets and peruse the shops. Along with the abundance of pizza, pasta, seafood and salads, I loved the colorful plates they were served on. There are many factories in the area where you can purchase these beautifully crafted pottery pieces and send them home so you can always remember your visit. There are many beautiful shops filled with lemon products, clothes, shoes and jewellery however my favourite find was a shop called Nadir. This is a family owned shop bursting at the seams with beautifully handmade products.

Restaurants
I think you’d find it hard to fault most of the restaurants especially as ‘ We have the best shrimp in the Amalfi Coast’ was a line we heard in each one. When in Rome’ was important to remember and it seemed to be that shrimp was the flavour of the region. We were convinced to eat them whole, however my taste buds didn’t quite agree! If it’s one thing you do in Positano visiting Le Sireneuse Hotel is a must. By far my favourite restaurant was the Michelin Starred Ristorante La Sponda at Le Sireneuse hotel. Make sure your pockets are deep though as it is one for a special occasion. If the budget doesn’t stretch that far you can still visit the hotels’ oyster and champagne bar. This is just perfection- sipping on a cocktail whilst watching the sunset with a view of Positano in the background. Other definite winners include: Café Positano- this has an amazing view looking across the town and the food is fresh and delicious. Da Vincenzo –this is very near CP as well and has delicious food.  Ristorante Max- This doesn’t have the view but what it has is the Italian ambiance that you imagine Italy to be. You have Antony sitting at the bar when you arrive and a garden terrace ambiance littered with candlelight, beautiful Italian artifacts and an extensive food and wine list.

Day Trips
One of the best ways to see Positano is by leaving for a day trip on a boat. There are plenty of day trips to choose from but I would highly recommend visiting Capri and Ravello. 

Ravello is the most incredible place set on top of a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. This is a sight that must be experienced to comprehend it. My recommendation is to walk through the village, admiring all the amazing pottery and shops whilst you head towards Villa Cimbrone Gardens. Once you get to the amazing door don’t stop- pay that 5 euro and keep walking. The sights are breathtaking and the atmosphere is incredible. This is literally up there on my list of the most amazing wedding locations in the world! Once you have finished with the gardens pop into Villa Maria restaurant for a nice lunch afterwards. You wont be disappointed. At certain times of the year they also have a festival in Rufolo Gardens so if you are there in July/ August be sure to enjoy the classical music in the amphitheatre whilst the sun sets.

Capri is known as the playground for the rich and famous. I’d highly recommend hopping on a small tour like the one we used (Cassipoea) and enjoy the Sorrento coastline as you make your way to Capri. You have the opportunity of visiting all the different colour grottos and enjoying this wonder of the world. After dipping into the Mediterranean at least 2 times on the way to Capri we finally arrived to a bustling port. With not much time to muck around we decided to go to a private restaurant called Bagni Tiberio. There is a free boat that takes you there from the port, near where you buy ferry tickets from. We had a relaxing few hours enjoying the food, view and beach. It was perfect.

So that’s my recap on the Amalfi coast. You may ask why I left out Sorrento and Amalfi? Well each to their own but I far prefer Positano, Ravello and Capri as places to visit, and if you’re going to stay in one place and actually have a holiday- the streets of Positano are the place to be.

References:

Positano

Transport

Hotels

Restaurants

Ravello

Capri
Restaurants

Tours



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The Amalfi Coast Part 2 Positano.



Photos and guide by Nadean Richards for eat read love. 

Ever dreamed of a holiday on the amazing Amalfi Coast. Positano is one of THE most beautiful and romantic places in the world. I have been a few times and absolutely love everything about this town, the crazy Italian vespas zooming past, candlelit dinners at Cafe Positano, sipping Limoncello overlooking the sea, pebbly beaches, and spectacluar vistas. It has been a few years since my last visit so lucky for us, the lovely Nadean Richards from Photography by Nadean has shared some of her wonderful photos from one of her trips and this wonderful travel guide. 

Positano

Transport

Hotels

Restaurants

Ravello

Capri
Restaurants

Tours



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