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Sydney: An Insider's Guide To Its Most Picturesque Neighbourhood

In this guide to the popular Australian city, we tapped on former film producer/semi-retired chef Ping to give us the lowdown on its best spots. (While she wished to remain faceless, you can visit her Instagram account @likklepictures, where she regularly documents her travels.)  In early 2004, Ping quit a fourteen-year stint in advertising film production in Singapore and left for Sydney, Australia to go back to school, a culinary college. Ping and her partner finally made the move back to Singapore in 2018 and she is currently working on maintaining the slow-ness of their old life in Sydney.

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Thursday 30|5|2019 Dinner at @RestaurantSasaki :: They opened, just as we were packing up our life in Sydney in 2017, to full bookings every evening = We didn't manage to get in before we left. We made sure we did on this short trip and these were the first five delightful courses of the ten we had on the omakase menu, inspired by the chef Yu Sasaki's mother's style of home-cooking : + Oyster in a yuzu-pepper-infused vinegar for him. Shellfish are not my thing and they kindly substituted it with some perfectly-simmered octopus legs. One of my favourite things to eat! + Layers of almost-paper-thin slices of pink proscuitto and pink seared tuna on a pool of the most slurpy-licious egg yolk sauce dotted with little pops of salmon roe + a sprinkle of shiso dust + Blue swimmer crab + delicately wobbly chawanmushi + Chunks of confit green bug's tail on a bed of cabbage puree + kaffir lime oil + shaved bottarga + Fun food-on-sticks! Sweetcorn + aosa seaweed fritter + the tastiest beetroot dip (more to follow in the next post) #Omakase #BreakingUpWithSydneyIsHardToDo

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In this guide, Ping goes into detail on Surry Hills, a Sydney neighbourhood known to be an art and lifestyle enclave.

Bourke Street Bakery

633 Bourke Street, Surry Hills

Start your day with a coffee at this corner bakery like many of the locals do. A hot chocolate or a bottle of their house-made iced Belgian chocolate milk – if, like me, you’re not a coffee-drinker. Finding a seat, inside or outside along the pavement, at this busy spot, can sometimes be difficult but if you get lucky, I urge you to get something sweet – a flaky chocolate croissant, one of their delicious tarts or a slice of their signature carrot cake. We love their pies and their quintessentially-Australian sausage rolls for breakfast too. And their sourdoughs – we always pack loaves in our suitcases to take to Singapore for family and friends.

Brett Whiteley Studio

2 Raper Street, Surry Hills
(Open only on Friday to Sunday from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Free admission)

A very short walk from Bourke Street Bakery into a couple of narrow side streets, you will find, guided by very helpful signs, the former home and studio of the late Australian artist, Brett Whiteley – an old warehouse which he purchased in the 1980s and converted to work and live in. After the passing of the artist, the space is now under the care of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and they have left it pretty much as it was, with unfinished paintings and his tools in the studio, and memorabilia in the living area.Whiteley led a very interesting life and it shows in his works, in various mediums, shown in the changing exhibitions curated by the Gallery.

SHOPPING ALONG CROWN STREET

Navigate your way out of the back streets, when you’re done at the Brett Whiteley Studio, to Crown Street, one of the major streets in Surry Hills, which was also our old street. The experience of browsing and shopping in small and friendly stand-alone shops is so much more enjoyable than in the big malls with all their chain stores.

Start at the corner of Devonshire and Crown at The Standard Store (503 Crown Street, Surry Hills), a multi-(imported)label store that stocks concise collections from the likes of Apiece Apart, Engineered Garments, Henrik Vibskov, Sea New York and YMC, to name a few.

Pop in to Title Music Film Books (501 Crown Street, Surry Hills) and The Architect’s Bookshop (499 Crown Street, Surry Hills) next door if you are still into reading printed books and listening to music on CDs and records.

Further down the street, there’s Nique (483 Crown Street, Surry Hills), a label from Melbourne, in a minimally-decked-out shop full of gender-neutral tailoring-focused basics that are as pared-back as the
shop’s interiors.

A couple of doors down is Mud Australia (477 Crown Street, Surry Hills). Stepping into this ceramics store is like walking into a lolly shop for grown-ups! Porcelain vessels in all the colours, shapes and sizes, made in Sydney from clay imported from Limoges, France. Be prepared to spend some time in there trying to make difficult decisions of which to take home.

At the end of this old row of shops is The Collector Store (473 Crown Street, Surry Hills). If you leave with only one thing from this fashion and homeware store, make it a Gascoigne & King candle. I have never been into scented candles but after I discovered these locally-made-in-Surry-Hills jars-of-goodness, I was hooked. They are the only candles that I would pay good money for.

Now, keep walking down the street, along the row of old terraces, and keep a look out for Sark Studio (431 Crown Street, Surry Hills), my favourite-est shop for the kind of interestingly-oversized made-with-comfort-in-mind clothing that I love wearing. Beautifully handcrafted in Sydney, from the most interesting natural fibres, Sark Studio’s timeless goods are made to weather the ebb and flow of fashion, and to last you a life time.

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New red. New fringing. Slightly in love

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November 2019
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