Silent. Disco. Shut up. Dance., Agenda Sydney // 13 May 2011

My piece in today’s Agenda Sydney…

Silent discos – every city council’s favourite kind of nightclub – are enjoying their moment in the sun (or should that be moon?). They’re here, there and everywhere right now, from Goa to Glastonbury and, now, Sydney’s good ol’ Spanish quarter.

When the eponymous play ‘Silent Disco’ opened at the Griffin Theatre recently – about two iPod-loving teens navigating sex, school, drugs and more – it seemed too good an opportunity to miss: combine the edgy and much-feted play’s cast and crew with a clubbing trend. Voila, Silent Disco’s very own silent disco, ‘Silent. Disco. Shut up. Dance.’ was born.

For those who haven’t indulged in a silent oeuvre before, this one-off night at the intimate and ever-hip GoodGod Small Club is a hootenanny with a twist. Decks: check. Up-for-it crowd: check. Fully stocked bar: check. Big bassy speakers: erm, none, other than sound-packed headphones worn on each and every reveller. Then it’s up to the seasoned DJs, including Discopunx and Generic Collective, to channel tunes directly into each headset, leaving the dancefloor and bar… well, silent.

Remove your headgear and not only will you be able to hear yourself think and speak above a live DJ set – a novelty in itself – you’ll also find it far easier to chat and hobnob with the stars of the play and behind-the-scenes Griffin Theatre crew. Oh, and the crowd dancing around you in silence makes for a surreal treat, too.

Where: GoodGod Small Club, 55 Liverpool St, Sydney
18 May | 8pm-late
$10 | $12 at the door

Or, read online here.


My Caffe Sicilia review, Agenda Sydney // 11 April 2011

Surry Hills and The Godfather aren’t the most synonymous bedmates, but in the short time that Caffé Sicilia has been open, this Crown Street spot certainly seems to have attracted quite a – well – faithful mob. Hunched over pastries or coffees, Italian conversations in full flow, old and young alike are flocking to this new chameleon bar/restaurant/café at all hours of the day.

Come Sunday breakfast, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a table unless you have inside links – maybe a consigliere, but more likely the ristoratore – as locals put shared plates under the watchful gaze of an army of handsome Sicilian waiters. Channeling old-world Sicily – from yards of Italian marble along the counter bar to the checkered floor and low overhead lighting – this is a place to watch and be watched, admire passing talent, drink espressos and indulge in some gossiping.

Like any good Sicilian family table, the food is all about rustic, humble ingredients elevated to toothsome Sydney-worthiness. There’s plenty of eggplant, ricotta, calamari and tomatoes, washed down by a range of both Italian and closer-to-home wines.

Start a long lunch with antipasti – say fresh buffalo ricotta on a bed of caponata melanzane, or baked pumpkin with mortadella and mostarda – before moving on to a pasta course or secondi. A veal involtini is stuffed with breadcrumbs and garlic and is ideal to share; a salad of rocket, goats’ cheese and orange is a welcome foil to the olive oil-edged richness.

By the time you’ve finished the last crumb of sweet cassata, you’ll feel like part of la famiglia.

Where: 628 Crown St, Surry Hills
Phone: (02) 9699 8787
Hours: 7am-midnight, Mon-Sun
Details: caffesicilia.com.au

Or read my review over at Agenda.


Visit the Lebanon – no visa required, Agenda Sydney // 11 March 2011

Cooking, like languages, is one of those things best learnt in situ: total cultural immersion means total cultural absorption, we think. Want to cook great Lebanese? Jump on a plane and get chopping.

All very well and good, you say, but it’s not that easy to long-haul from Sydney.

Now help is at hand in the form of new Middle-Eastern themed cooking tours – or ‘progressive brunches’ as they like to be known – in our very own backyard. ‘I Ate My Way Through Granville’ is a guided feast through the bustling Lebanese hub of Granville, 22km west of Sydney. No visa needed and a short trip away by train. The once-monthly gastronomic tours kick off tomorrow, so yalla, get going.

Read the rest of my piece in Friday’s Agenda here.