ACME: chef Mitch Orr

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Acme Restaurant in Rushcutters Bay,  new cool Sydney restaurant , chef Mitch Orr – ex 121BC and Duke’s Bistro and also did a short stint at Osteria Francescana in Modena (ranked No. 3 in Worlds Best 50 Restaurants).  Acme’s menu of fresh, intriguing and re-invented classic dishes – modern Italian cooking that embraces simple core beliefs.


Mitch Orr - ACME

Mitch Orr – chef ACME Credit – Gourmet Traveller


Sitting at the pass, on opening night was the place to check out the kitchen. The menu – exciting small dishes followed by pasta all built to share – chef Mitch Orr told us that the pasta is all house made and it showed.  Starting with that Korean favourite – OB Golden lager – a German style lager that’s brewed in Korea – we ate pickled cucumber. You’re presented with bright, green batons of fresh cucumber that’s been pickled in gin zest of lime. Chilled and spiritous – perfect cleanser to start the meal.


Cucumber - sydneycool - cool sydney restaurants - acme

Pickled cucumber – ACME


Beef tartare, walnut, witlof – the beef dressed with a sharp freshness contrasting with the crunch of the witlof, delicious.  A classic with a new treatment.


Beef tartare, walnut, witloof - ACME

Beef tartare, walnut, witloof – ACME


Asparagus, brown butter – fresh asparagus spears of the deepest green – emulsified brown butter sprinkled with toasted quinoa.  Essence of simplicity with a minimal approach.


Asparagus - ACME

Asparagus brown butter – ACME


Mitch Orr’s remake of the classic pasta carbonara – this time with macaroni, pigs head, egg yolk.  The pig’s head brisket was fried golden and crisp – the egg yolk sitting on top with a small amount of fresh chilli that lifted this brilliant pasta.


Macaroni - acme

Macaroni, pig's head, egg yolk – ACME


Jerusalem artichoke ice cream, hazelnut praline and slivers of toasted artichoke.    The ice cream was not overly sweet but so smooth and almost a little oily in texture like green tea ice cream.  To balance that, the hazelnut praline added a surprising crunch and sweetness with the toasted artichoke slithers adding a slight smokiness and also a playfulness.


Artichoke - acme

Jerusalem artichoke icecream, hazelnut praline – ACME


ACME restaurant is just what we need in Sydney – a little bit classic with a 2014 approach to food.  It’s open Tuesday to Saturday from 5 pm.



ACME Restaurant

60 Bayswater Road, Rushcutters Bay, Sydney 2011



ACME Website
ACME on Urbanspoon












Cafe Paci

in Cool Restaurants | 1 Comment

Cafe Paci in Riley Street, East Sydney is the creation and inspiration of Pasi Petanen who won the innovation Award in the 2015 Good Food Guide.  Cafe Paci also cruised into this year’s Australian’s Hot 50 Restaurant list.  Pasi, originally from Finland, set up Cafe Paci after being Head Chef at Mark Best’s fine dining restaurant Marque in Surry Hills for eight years.


Cafe Paci - cool sydney restaurants - East Sydney

Cafe Paci – Riley St East Sydney


Entering from Riley Street and making your way up the stairs, the restaurant reveals itself as a large open loft in monotone grey – a long bar to one side with tables generously spaced and comfortable chairs.  There’s a very ‘opera’ size curtain running the width of the room,  separating the kitchen from the restaurant.  It’s been all put together with a very minimalist eye – after all this is modern dining.  It was always a good space and it still is – only better.


Cafe Paci - cool sydney restaurants - east sydney

Pasi Petanen – Head Chef Cafe Paci



There’s a seasonal set menu at Cafe Paci – starting with ‘snacks’ – the pear sandwiches were a standout – the finest slices of crisp pear, filled with grated cheese.  Also torn pieces of radicchio leaves dusted with dehydrated raspberry – the colour was pure rubies and taste was pure sex.  I was wanting more!


Blue swimmer crab, pomelo, dill, vadouvan – the sharpness of the fine pomelo segments well balanced the sweetness of shards of crab meat, rounded out by the finely dusted vadouvan and dill.




Goat tartare, tartare sauce, kale – goat sourced from Cowra in south Western New South Wales – topped with multi-coloured kale and served with a tartare sauce.


Cauliflower, squid rice, anchovy butter – squid ink infused rice with parmesan cheese added into the pureed rice. Unusually subtle in this dish, the squid ink counterbalances the sweetness of parmesan, underpinned by the utter silkiness of the rice. This is our ‘go to’ dish – beautiful to look at …. but better to eat.



Cafe Paci - cool sydney restaurants - cauliflower

Cauliflower, squid rice, anchovy butter



Photato – this is the classic Vietnamese noodle soup – pho – that’s been deconstructed – well kind of.   Pasi delivers noodles crafted from potato nestling under lightly seared wagyu flap, enoki mushrooms and served like in pho with grilled lemon wedge.



Cafe Paci - cool sydney restaurants - photato

'Photato' – wagyu, enoki, lemon



After an optional cheese course,

cafe Paci - cool sydney restaurants - Cheese

Cheese course


there’s the desserts which again feature Pasi’s passion for innovation and creativity in the kitchen;


Carrot, yoghurt, liquorice – the smoothest yoghurt mousse filled with a centre of carrot sorbet placed on a thin liquorice sponge and a sprinkling of liquorice powder.


Rye ice cream, apple, white beer, cocoa, malt – crispy fine sheets of malt, cocoa and apple resting on an unexpected non-sweet icecream.


cafe Paci - cool sydney restaurants - Rye icecream

Rye ice cream, apple, white beer, cocoa, malt


Petit fours – Corn and butter reinvented as fairy floss sprinkled with corn dust alongside two pieces of pork coated on one side with chocolate and fennel.


Cafe Paci - cool sydney restaurants - desserts



There’s a well thought out wine list – a global choice from sommelier Dennis Roman – a balance between Europe, America and Antipodes.  We especially liked the grenache blanc/roussanne blend ‘Le Cigare Blanc’ from biodynamic winemaker Randall Graham from Bonny Doon Vineyard in Monterey Country, California.  Check out his blog.


Cafe Paci is open for dinner; Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm with lunch on Fridays from 12pm – there’s also space at the bar. You have to get along to Cafe Paci asap – it may be only there until January 2015.  Pasi Petanen is a visionary chef and it shows – and Sydney dining is all the better for that.




Cafe Paci

95 Riley Street, East Sydney 2010


Cafe Paci Website
Cafe Paci on Urbanspoon






Bingham Cup Sydney 24-31 August 2014

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The 2014 Bingham Cup, being held in Sydney from August 24 to 31, is the gay rugby world cup. The biennial tournament is being hosted by the Sydney Convicts, the current Bingham cup holder, in partnership with IGRAB (International Gay Rugby Association and Board).  Approximately 1,000 players and supporters are visiting, with 15 teams from around the world including New York, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Lisbon, New Zealand, Manchester, London,  Nashville, Newcastle (Canada), New England, Dublin and Portland competing.


Bingham Cup - sydney cool - gay sydney


The competition is named after Mark Bingham, a member of the San Francisco gay rugby union team who died on United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11. It’s believed he was one of the passengers who tackled the terrorists on-board, causing the plane to crash in a field. He was fundamental in the establishment of two premier gay rugby clubs – the San Francisco Fog and the Gotham Knights. The global gay rugby community are privileged to compete in the Bingham Cup named in his honour.


gay sydney Bingham Cup - sydneycool

Bingham Cup rep with Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney


At the time of Mark’s tragic death, there were only six gay and inclusive rugby clubs globally – today there are over 60 clubs. The Bingham Cup is one of the largest international sporting events to be held in Australia in 2014 and has become the global event that promotes rugby union as an inclusive non-discriminatory sport.

Check out the tournament – the games start Friday 29th August with the finals on 31st August – they’re being played at Woollahra Easts Rugby Club grounds and Lyne Park Rose Bay. More details on the Bingham Cup website.



Biota Dining Chef James Viles Southern Highlands

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In the Southern Highlands of NSW sits the small sophisticated township of Bowral, about one and half hours drive from Sydney CBD – and home to the epitome of excellence in NSW regional dining – Biota Dining.  Two-hatted Biota sits unassumingly on a corner block of land attached to a motel of only 12 small rooms, where you can stay the night – perfect really.  Chef and part owner James Viles’ philosophy for his restaurant is very simple – ‘it’s about telling the stories of our land, the seasons and the produce it provides us with.  Our role as cooks is to tell these stories’.



James Viles – Executive Chef Biota Dining


And they tell those stories at Biota with a religious confidence – in the produce they aim to source from within a 20 km radius of Bowral and  their own produce from the Biota Kitchen Garden.



Kitchen garden – Biota Dining


At Biota, you choose from a 5 or 7 course tasting menu or a choose your own 3 course menu – you can also go for the matching wines.  We chose the 5 course menu – it started with an amuse bouche of trout jerky – a piece of trout, cooked like beef jerky and served on a metal spike impaled in a piece of marble, an assault on the palate, so simple and to the point – brilliant.




biota dining - cool sydney restaurants - bowral

Biota Dining – Image Jason Loucas


Next Smoked roe – storm clam – charcoal – sea lettuce.  This was a visual and taste sensation like no other, smoked roe mousse – topped with fresh roe and surrounded by shards of charcoal created from lavosh.  This was ever so smoky – with a gentle crunch of the edible charcoal followed by the natural sweetness from the smoked roe.  The storm clam, sourced from Narooma on the South Coast, was placed on seaweed, presented on a stone from the beach – when you opened the clam, the taste was a subtle blend of the sea and vinaigrette that had been splashed over the clam meat.  This whole course was a playful narrative and a masterpiece.   Hen yolk – cooked curds – rye – chickpea.  This was a definite contrast from the roe and clam – a rich egg yolk nestled amongst the rye crumbs and rested on curds.  The rye delivered a nutty texture against the smoothness of the egg and curd.   Lamb breast – dried lactose – fresh & cooked oats.  A strip of rich sweet lamb that comes from a nearby Robertson farm, about 30 minutes away – it was sitting on the oats covered in gossamer thin, broken sheaths of dried lactose that disappeared in the mouth like a communion wafer and created a smooth milkiness with the lamb.


biota dining - james viles - cool sydney restaurants

Lamb oats lactose – Image Jason Loucas


Duck – pine – cauliflower – white raisins.   Duck three ways – succulent duck breast, duck heart and confit duck leg.  It was served with cauliflower – raw, finely sliced and puree – plump softened white raisins that exploded with sweetness, deep fried pine needles. This dish was rich dark and so juicy – a tribute to the duck.


The garden at Biota Dining


Chocolate – soft crème – fermented apple juices – pear.  One of the surprises here was the conifer needle, coated chocolate ball that encased the soft creme – placed in fermented apple juice, alongside chocolate ganache, pear sorbet and batons of dried pear skin.  This dish showed the originality of James Viles’ cooking – getting the diner to try components of ingredients that you’d usually discard. To accompany this food adventure, we asked head sommelier Ben Shepherd for a local wine recommendation – we tried the Pulpit Rock 2007 Pinot Noir.

Biota Dining is a restaurant that knows its agenda – the food is innovative, simple and wonderful.  Chef James Viles’ thinking delivers a memorable food experience that is world class and sits next to some of the best.

PS Check out the great food and wine from the Southern Highlands at the Southern Highlands Food and Wine Festival- Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September 2014.

Biota Dining

18 Kangaloon Rd, Bowral NSW 2576

Open Mon – Sun for dinner

Mon, Fri, Sat and Sun for lunch

Sat and Sun for Brunch


Biota Dining Website






Biota Dining on Urbanspoon



11 Madison Park NYC -chef Daniel Humm

in Cool Restaurants | 2 Comments

Dining at 11 Madison Park in NYC is one of those food experiences that you never forget – perfect dining, where the food reigns supreme and everything else is excellent – this is just as it should be at this level of restaurant. When you dine at 11 Madison Park, you’re aware by everything they do that this is one of the world’s 50 best restaurants.  In 2014 – 11 Madison Park was ranked at no 4.


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park - interior

Interior at 11 Madison Park


As well,  there are just seven 3 star Michelin restaurants in New York City and 11 Madison Park is one of them. It’s received many other accolades, amongst them – awarded four stars by the New York Times and one of over 167 restaurants in the prestigious Les Grandes Tables du Monde.


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park - daniel humm

Daniel Humm Chef and co-owner 11 Madison Park


Daniel Humm is the chef and co-owner at 11 Madison Park – training and working in Switzerland and at Campton Place in San Francisco. Chef Daniel Humm has refashioned one of the world’s best restaurants into a showcase for New York’s food artisans.  Set in an wonderful art deco building, the dining space, just across from Madison Park is majestic.

The fifteen plus course tasting menu focuses on the centuries-old culinary traditions that are an inherent part of New York City, overlaid with extraordinary produce of New York state. But this was more than a tasting menu – the whole dining experience was cheeky and fun, like the picnic basket that came to the table towards the end of the meal.

And so our dining adventure started – Morel Custard with Maine Sea Trout Roe


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park -morel custard

Morel custard with Maine Sea Trout Roe


English Peas warmed with Meyer Lemon and Egg Yolk – the simplicity and freshness of young peas with delicate lemon and the dried egg yolk.


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park - english peas

English Peas warmed with meyer lemon and egg yolk


Pastrami with Ramps, Rye, Mustard and Celery – another toast to the New York food tradition of a pastrami sandwich in a diner. Served with a soda.


Foie Gras cured with Orange-Camomile, White Asparagus and Bitter Almond.


Apple – Waldorf Salad with Celery, Rhubarb and Walnuts – another New York food tradition, complete with its history – and made at the table


Lobster poached with Beets, Ginger and Nasturtium – the luscious, sweet lobster that’s such a feature of New York food tradition, alongside both strips of beetroot together with almost black, roasted beets.  This dish was absolute luxury.


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park - lobster

Lobster poached with Beets, Ginger and Nasturtium


Asparagus braised with Potato and Black Truffle – using the French cooking technique – ‘en vessie’, the asparagus is braised in a pigs bladder with broth spooned over the bladder to maintain the moisture.


11 madison park - asparagus cooked en vessie - cool new york restaurants

Asparagus cooked en vessie – with potato and black truffle


asparagus cooked en vessie

Asparagus cooked en vessie – with potato and black truffle


Duck, broth with cured duck and watercress, roasted with Rhubarb, Shallots and Scallions. The roasted duck encrusted with sichaun peppercorns and cumin seeds and stuffed with lavender is brought to the table before being taken away to be finished and plated. The duck breast was the meat highlight of this meal – succulent and juicy with spiciness delivered by the peppercorns and cumin.


11 madison park - roast duck - cool new york restaurants

Roast duck with sichaun peppercorns and cumin seeds


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park - roast duck

Roast duck rhubarb shallots and scallions


Fresh Cheese Pretzel, Parsley and Strawberries – a basket ready for your picnic in Central Park – another tradition complete with their own Picnic Basket Brown Ale from Ithaca Beer Company.


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park - picnic basket

Picnic basket – fresh cheese, pretzel, parsley and strawberries


Almond Baked Alaska with Rum, Caramel and Celery – this classic desert perfectly delivered with the addition of caramel.


Pretzel – Chocolate Covered with Sea Salt


The wine list at 11 Madison Park befits a restaurant of this stature – wines of the world as well as a Wines of New York section featuring wines from Long Island and Finger Lakes in upstate New York.  As we frequently do, we asked our sommelier to recommend a wine that matched the food on tonight’s menu and also a representation of the wines of New York. He recommended Keuka Lake Vineyards Riesling 2009, Falling Man Vineyard – similar in style to a cool climate riesling from Australia or New Zealand. It perfectly rounded out the meal with appropriate and subtle dry fruitiness.


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park - interior shot

11 Madison Park – Midtown – New York City


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park - menu May 2104

Menu – 11 Madison Park


Eleven Madison Park is a perfect dining experience – the service was warm and friendly, supremely professional and knowledgeable with appropriate formality. The food was an amazing experience that would be hard to rival. It’s open Monday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. When you’re in New York, enjoy this brilliant restaurant and the wonderful food of chef Daniel Humm.




11 Madison Park

11 Madison Ave, New York, New York 10010




11 Madison Park Website


Eleven Madison Park on Urbanspoon



wd~50 New York City- Wylie Dufresne

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Wd~50 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side is the brainchild of chef Wylie Dufresne. One of the pioneers of modern food in NY – he’s worked in some of NY’s top restaurants like Jean Georges and 71 Clinton Fresh Food.  Occupying what was used to be a bodega, wd~50 has been at the forefront of NY dining for over ten years.

wd~50 at 50 Clinton Street, Lower East Side - New York City

wd~50 at 50 Clinton Street, Lower East Side – New York City


We knew of Wylie’s place in the NY food scene – he was recently accoladedby his peers, like Rene Redzepi (Noma) and David Chang (Momofuku), for his ten years at the helm of wd~50.  wd~50 received one Michelin star in 2006 and has retained it through to 2014.  In 2013, Wylie Dufresne was honoured with the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef New York City.

For our dinner at wd~50, we sat at the bar – went for the ‘from the vault menu’ – a 7 course degustation menu with wine pairing.  And so our dinner started, directed by our very capable bartender, with an amuse bouche of veal sweetbreads with pickled eggplant.

Next hanger tartare, pickled asian pear, amaro, béarnaise ice cream  - a take on the classic french dish – the meat was perfectly minute, a small rectangle of bearnaise sauce frozen as icecream replaced the traditional mustard against the slight sweetness of the pear.


Hanger tartare, bearnaise icecream, amaro, pickled pear - wd~50

Hanger tartare, bearnaise icecream, amaro, pickled pear – wd~50


Sunflower-miso gazpacho, trout roe, shiitake, daikon – a gazpacho style soup with the earthiness of miso and shiitake and laced with the saltiness of the roe – a winner.

Cod, salsify, coffee-saffron, smoked bulghur – the steamed cod was moist and flaky, roasted salsify with a lightly flavoured coffee saffron sauce.

Lamb loin, hibiscus-date, barley, aged goat cheese – the lamb loin was flavoursome and perfectly cooked, accompanied by the finely grated goats cheese alongside the date paste – almost like a cheese board.


Lamb loin

Lamb loin, barley, hibiscus-date – wd~50 Lower East Side NYC


Toasted coconut cake, smoked cashew, carob, brown butter sorbet – the sorbet brought this dish alive as it really wasn’t a showstopper.

Our pick of the wines – the dry vermentino, grenache blanc ‘Heart of Gold’ Edmunds St. John 2013 from El Dorado County in California. Great to check another American wine – strangely not many American wines generally served in NY restaurants.  And to finish, a 2010 muscat ‘nectar’ from Samos, Greece – drier than a ‘usual’ desert wine usually is.


Wylie Dufresne - wd~50- cool NYC restaurants

Wylie Dufresne – chef wd~50

wd~50 had a reputation for being avant garde – this is good food well cooked but not with the finesse/excitement of other NY restaurants and at times, the presentation was a little heavy handed.  It opens Wednesday to Sunday.  It’s a great location on the Lower East Side and that’s worth a look – it’s where you’ll also find Wylie’s new bar/restaurant ‘Alder‘.  There are new cool NYC restaurants and bars opening and closing all the time here,  much the same as in Sydney’s trend driven market .


50 Clinton Street, Lower East Side, New York City 10002 – take the F or J Train to Delancey/Esset Street stop


wd~50 Website        




WD-50 on Urbanspoon



Artist Tehching Hsieh – Carriageworks Sydney

in Contemporary Art | Leave a comment

Carriageworks Sydney presents the first major solo art project by celebrated New York based Taiwanese born artist Tehching Hsieh to be shown in Australia.


Sydney contemporary art - Tehching Hsieh at Carriageworks

Tehching Hsieh at Carriageworks


One Year Performance 1980–1981 (known as the Time Clock Piece) is on at Carriageworks Sydney until 6 July 2014. In this amazing work, Hsieh punches a time clock in his studio, every hour on the hour, twenty-four hours a day, for an entire year. This is such a body of work to see – the purity of this art work is truly overwhelming.


Time Clock - sydney contemporary art - Tehching Hsieh

Time Clock – Tehching Hsieh – Carriageworks


The Time Clock installation includes the documents that Hsieh produced as the year passed: the time clock, 366 time cards, 366 film strips comprised of the 8621 times he photographed himself punching the time clock, and a 16mm film that reduces the year into 6 minutes. He only missed 133 (out of a possible 8760 punch ins) in the entire year.


Tehching Hsieh Sydney contemporary art - Carriageworks

Film strips, time punch cards – Time Clock One Year Performance Tehching Hsieh at Carriageworks


In a cabinet in the centre of the exhibition, you read the artist’s and his witnesses statement, as well as the artist’s uniform. As you enter the exhibition, there is a record of all Hsieh’s six durational works, like his Cage Piece, where he was locked in a cage for a year.


Time Clock -Tehching Hsieh Sydney contemporary art - Carriageworks

Tehching Hsieh One Year Performance 1980 –1981, The First Five Hours of Images and the Last Five Hours of Images in the Year © 1981 Tehching Hsieh Courtesy the artist and Sean Kelly, New York


Hsieh lives in New York, where he arrived in 1974 as an illegal immigrant, is internationally recognised as a leader in the practice of durational performance. His works have been exhibited at the Guggenheim in New York, Hayward Gallery in London and at the Sao Paolo Biennial in Brazil. This work like his others explore questions of time and life and being, and show physical and mental endurance and self discipline. A must see at Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh, Sydney – every day 10am – 6pm.


This is an important exhibition in Sydney’s contemporary arts calendar – check it out at Carriageworks until 6 July.







Kim -Korean Restaurant Modern

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Kim Restaurant in Llankelly Place, Potts Point , Sydney – is a modern Korean restaurant  that mixes it up and delivers a lighter, creative take on dishes like bossam and flavours like kimchi.


Kim restaurant - cool sydney restaurants - potts point

Chefs Tae Kyu Lee and David Ralph


vegetable crisps - kim restaurant - potts point

Jewel coloured sheaths of Vegetable


Chefs Tae Kyu Lee from Quay and Ms. G’s and David Ralph also from Quay, Flying Fish and Kakawa Chocolates – joined forces to give us a exciting Korean eating experience.


Kim Restaurant - cool sydney restaurants - Tae Kyu Lee

Chef Tae Kyu Lee


Starting the night, paper thin, jewel coloured sheaths of deep fried vegetable – stacked delicate and high with a light dusting of sea salt.  Staying with our mindset that was Korean – our waiter recommended Moonbaesool soju imagine Korean wild pear – Moonbae. Dryness on the palate that follows the scent of full ripe sliced Korean wild pear, 40% proof so caution in its beauty.

Dotori mook muchim – acorn jelly, mushrooms, sesame leaf.  A light jelly, like silken tofu effortlessly combined with mushrooms like enoki.


Kim Restaurant - cool sydney restaurants - Dotori Mook

Dotori Mook – Kim Restaurant


Kalbi jjim – pear and soy-braised short ribs, nine grain rice. The meat, falling off the miniature ribs is coated with creamy soy. Alongside, ogok bap (nine grain rice) is a fabulous medley including millet, black rice, black and red beans served with seaweed sheets that you wrap around the beef and rice.


Kim Restaurant - cool sydney restaurants - Korean Restaurant

Kim Restaurant – Potts Point


Bossam – Bangalow pork belly, garlic chive kimchi, ssamjang – the pork belly, half-steamed and half-braised, was moist and the sweetness from the pork fat coating the inside of your mouth. All eaten by encasing with baby cos lettuce as the wrap.


Kim Restaurant - cool sydney restaurants - Bossam

Bossam -the richest velvetty pork belly


Hoddeok – classic Busan style doughnuts – small discs, served with white chocolate icecream and black sesame parfait.


kim restaurant - cool sydney restaurants - potts point

Busan style doughnuts black sesame parfait – Kim Restaurant


Kim Restaurant – It is a small restaurant even by Paris standards so going early is smart thinking,  but the interesting flavours of Korean food and the brilliant cooking by chefs Tae Kyu Lee and David Ralph is what drives this exciting eating experience.



Kim Restaurant

Llankelly Place, Potts Point Sydney 2011




Kim on Urbanspoon






19th Biennale of Sydney

in Contemporary Art | 1 Comment

“You Imagine What You Desire” – the name itself evokes the 19th Biennale of Sydney  on now at Cockatoo Island, Art Gallery of New South Wales AGNSW,  Museum of Contemporary Art Australia MCA , Carriageworks and Artspace with works from more than 90 artists.   The Biennale of Sydney is the world’s third oldest biennale and today it ranks as one of the leading international festivals of contemporary art and continues to be recognised for presenting the freshest and most provocative art from Australia and around the world.

19th Biennale of Sydney Artistic Director Juliana Engberg says she created a temperament for each location.  In each location, sydneycool has chosen one work that represents the essence of the Biennale of Sydney for us – art that has touched us straight from the heart and the gut and to us when that happens it’s a special feeling – so here are our five.




At the MCA Australia at Circular Quay – Juliana describes as an aqueous and air space.  Our pick here is New York city artist Roni Horn’s work ’Ten Liquid Incidents’ – we’ve previously seen this work  at Punta Della Dogana in Venice – at the MCA Australia this work is of ten glass castings. Like frozen pools, mirrors or bottomless wells, you just want to sink into their eternity.


Roni Horn - sydney contemporary art - Biennale of Sydney

Roni Horn – Ten Liquid Incidents – 2010-12




sydneycool’s pick on Cockatoo Island – in the cavernous Turbine Hall Danish artist Eva Koch presents I Am The River (2012), a massive projection of Gljufrabui, the Icelandic waterfall, accompanied by a roaring soundtrack. This is completely overpowering and so beautiful in its location.





At Carriageworks – a great addition to the Biennale of Sydney locations – a first for the 19th Biennale.   This location looks at new works – Julianna Engberg describes this as ‘distilling film and video’.  We’ve selected a work in acrylic and oil by Finnish artist Anna Tuori – Nobody Knew My Rose.  On a large canvas, the artist presents a scene that’s like an old Christmas card – it’s as if you’ve wiped away steam from your bathroom mirror to reveal what you desire – love the small hand movement on the right.


anna-tuori-sydney-contemporary-art - sydney biennale

Anna Tuori – Nobody Knew My Rose 2013



sydney contemporary art - anna tuori - sydney biennale

Closer view of hand on the right of Anna Tuori's work Nobody Knew My Rose




The Art Gallery of NSW location – Juliana Engberg describes this as ‘the beating heart’ – here are artists interested in commenting on society.  sydneycool’s choice – the video work ‘Two Shoots that Stretch Far Out’ by Sydney born New Zealand video and performance artist Shannon Te Ao.  We love this work, the artist recites to a menagerie of animals including a donkey, a wallaby and chickens.  This intimate experience is intriguing and at the same time deeply poetic.


Shannon Te Ao - sydney contemporary art - Biennale of Sydney

Shannon Te Ao Two Shoots that Stretch Far Out, 2013–14 (video still) single-channel video, colour, sound Courtesy the artist




At Artspace in Wooolloomooloo – not only is the Ugo Rondinone work – Primitives but the video work Moderate Manipulations from Finish artist Henna-Riikka Halonen.  This work is part of a ‘future trilogy’ where the artist has re-imagined a radical future – a naturalistic setting.


Halonen - sydney contemporary art - sydney biennale

Henna-Riikka Halonen Moderate Manipulations, 2012 (video still) HD video, 6 mins Courtesy the artist Photograph: Minttu Mäntynen


We’ve given just a taste of the experiences at the 19th Biennale of Sydney : You Imagine What your Desire  - it’s on at Cockatoo Island, MCA Australia, Art Gallery of NSW, Carriageworks and Artspace until 9th June.  Go now and immerse yourself in the world of contemporary art in five very different locations.






Taste of Sydney 2014 – Centennial Park Sydney

in Cool Bars, Cool Restaurants | Leave a comment

Taste of Sydney is on again for 2014 – from 13th to 16th March.  This year, there’s a line up of Sydney and NSW restaurants and some of sydneycool’s favourite chefs as well the chance to sample some pop-up restaurants. Read on for sydneycool’s guide to Taste of Sydney 2014.

First sydneycool’s restaurant picks – Porteno in Cleveland St Surry Hills,

taste of sydney -ben milgate sydneycool porteno

Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahamowicz – Porteno


4Fourteen and Four in HandBloodwood in Newtown and from the Southern Highlands – Biota Dining.  Also keep an eye out for Longrain (looking forward to the new Asian eatery on the Macleay St restaurant strip due to open in May from Sam Christie – Longrain Partner and chef Jonathan Barthelmess from Apollo).  Our chef choices – Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahamowicz from Porteno and Bodega, Colin Fassnidge and Carla Jones from 4Fourteen and Four in Hand, Louis Tikaram from Longrain.


cool sydney restaurants - four in hand - shaved squid

Shaved squid/ smoked eel – Four in Hand


cool sydney restaurants - colin fassnidge - my kitchen rules 2014

Celebrity chef – Colin Fassnidge


This year, a new addition – you can experience the 6 bar/food concepts, promoted through IconPark (the latest in crowdfunding – the world’s first online platform and real estate fund dedicated to bars and restaurants).  They’re all in one place - you help decide which concept will open its doors for 3 months in the IconPark space in Stanley Street.   Check out the video pitches – like the look of Sedgwick Ave and  Stanley St Merchants.

Taste of Sydney is on from 13th to 16th March – Centennnial Park, Sydney.





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