Bondi Hardware relaunches their revamped venue and celebrates their 5th birthday

Bondi Hardware celebrated their 5th Birthday and relaunch party on Tuesday 28 February 2017 with an evening of cocktails, food, and a revamped venue!

About 200 locals, media, bloggers, celebrities and influencers attended the party including local yogi and influencer Caroline Groth, Channel 9 TV presenter Tom Steinfort, former Bachelorette contestant Alex Cameron, Fox Sports presenter Matt Suleau, former Big Brother contesant Tim Dormer, Sketch She girls Madison Lloyd and Lana,Kington and former host of Big Brother Mike Goldman.

Guests loved the new menu created by group executive chef Kasper Christiansen including lime-cured Kingfish tostados, kimchi paste, avocado and nori dust; Sriracha buttermilk fried chicken slider, Monterey jack, and bacon mayo;  crispy lamb salad, hummus, feta, Isreali couscous, pear, mint and yoghurt; baked artichoke dip with toasted sourdough; feta and sundried tomato polenta bites with basil sour cream; and assorted pizzas.

To wash down these tasty treats, guests drunk two cocktails: Garden Party (blueberry infused Beefeater Gin, elderflower liqueur, basil, lemon, vanilla and rhubarb bitters) and Young Cuban (Havana 3-year-old rum, Aperol, lime, fresh mint and sparkling wine); Cloudy and Premium Batlow Cider; Charles Bailly and Savvy Drop, and Endeavour Pale and Summer Ale

With a DJ spinning tunes late in to the night, and endless food and drink, the event was a typical crazy fun Bondi Hardware night. Guests partied long and hard to celebrate the 5th birthday of this long standing favourite – and there were probably a few sore heads the next morning!

Bondi Hardware is located at 39 Hall Street, Bondi Beach, Sydney, 2026.

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Pyrmont Growers Market showcases their freshes produce on a market tour and lunch at Black Bar and Grill

Pyrmont Growers Market has returned to Pyrmont Bay Park (Pirrama Road, Pyrmont NSW) every fourth Saturday of the month from 7:30am to 12:00pm and, on the first Saturday back (25 February 2017), media were taken on a tour of the market and spoiled afterwards with a four course meal made with ingredients from the stallholders at Black Bar and Grill at The Star.

Pyrmont Growers Market offers unique gourmet produce and top quality fresh food straight from the field and farm. For 18 years, Pyrmont Growers Markets was one of the most popular and well-attended markets in the city until it closed in April 2016 when Fairfax decided to no longer sponsor it. The likes of Pepe Saya and Toby’s Estate have made names for themselves selling their products here, and some of Australia’s most celebrated chefs have demonstrated on the market stage.

It is now produced and operated by the Pyrmont Ultimo Chamber of Commerce and proudly supported by The Star. The markets offer a green, sustainable and relaxed community focused event.

The market stalls we visited as part of the tour included: Grima’s Farm Fresh Produce (third generation farmers who pick their fruit and vegetables fresh daily); Pepe Saya (producer of the best cultured butter made from local ingredients, including a new smoked cultured butter that we all tried); Luca Ciano sauces (a premium Italian sauces product range created by two Michelin star chef Luca Ciano); Badass Biscuit Co (badass cookies made by chef Katrina Igham); Long Paddock eggs (free range eggs from a Canberra region farm that has 185 hens per hectare, not 10,000); Alto Olives (who produce exceptional quality olive oil and olives including an award-winning olive oil with olives that are native to Australia); Achacha (a prized tropical fruit from Bolivia that is grown in Queensland); Westview Limes (the makers of award winning sauces from the Mid North Coast of NSW); Near River Produces (producers of pasture raised heritage pork and field grown vegetables); The Little Big Dairy Co (producers of high quality milk from one dairy traceable down to the very cow that made it); Riverina Jerky (makers of the best quality jerky that is full of flavour and texture); German Butchery (award winning German butcher making small goods and cheeses); Parker’s Organic juices (juices made with Australia fruit without chemical fertilisers and pesticides); and many others.

Black Bar and Grill, the fine dining restaurant at The Star, prepared a four course lunch using seasonal produce from the market stalls. The first course was zucchini flowers with crispy goat’s curd lemon oil. The entree was a garden salad made from heirloom carrots, peas, smoked ricotta, mint meringue, serrano ham and hazelnut vinaigrette. The main course was fillet grass fed with white polenta, crispy sweetbread, king brown mushrooms, pencil leeks, and black pepper sauce. The dessert was warm couverture ganache, hazelnut mousse, banana ice-cream, cookie crumble. There was also a seafood dish prepared for a pescetarian in the group.

Tawnya Bahr runs the tours on a market morning at Pyrmont Growers Market. She runs two behind the scenes tours, showcasing the growers and producers that make this iconic market so great. Tours run for approximately an hour at 7:30am and 9:00am. To book, go to:

For more information about the Pyrmont Growers Markets, go to:


Mrs Sippy celebrates their fifth birthday with a Studio 54 themed party

Mrs Sippy celebrated their fifth birthday on Thursday 23 February 2017 with incredible food, bottomless drinks, great music and an A-list crowd.

Owners Ben, Kate, Andrew and Angus choose a Studio 54 theme for the big occasion and decorated the venue with disco balls, and gold, silver and white balloons.

The carefully curated food options for the night included: freshly shucked oysters with shiso, kaffir lime, yuzu mignonette; salmon poke with avocado, pickled daikon radish, soy and mirin dressing and sesame; poached king prawns with chipotle mayo; smoked ocean trout with horseradich cream and beetroot; spiced BBQ Korean chicken with sesame and shallots; and spiced pork belly with mint and coriander dressing, betel leaf, pickled daikon and shitake mushrooms.  Mrs Sippy also served their popular pizzas including: margherita, Sicilian olive, wild mushroom, pepperoni, spicy nduja, and prosciutto.

For drinks, guests were spoilt with what seemed like an endless supply of watermelon and grapefruit punch; Verve Clicquot champagne; 2014 Hen Pecked Shiraz; and 2015 Hen Pecked Sauvignon Blanc.

The A-listers that attended included: Bachelor star Lisa Hyde; singer Casey Burgess; son of Today Show entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins, Christian Wilkins; designer Pip Edwards; NRL player Tom Burgess; actor Ben Mingay; radio announcer Tim Ross, Nova’s Greg Burns and Matt De Groot; Porsche racing car driver Aaron Zerefos and celebrity men’s stylist Joshua Heath.

Guests listened to impressive music throughout the night including a live performance from Amy Chase with DJ Bren spinning the decks.

For more information about Mrs Sippy, go to:


The Eau de Vie Appreciation Society launches with their first spirit tasting event for 2017

The Eau de Vie Appreciation Society held their first spirit tasting event for 2017 – Whiskey from the land of the rising sun with Japanese whiskey – at Eau de Vie Darlinghurst on Wednesday 22 February 2017.

Speakeasy Group’s Head of Whiskey, Geoff Fewell, lead a group of media on an educational journey on Japanese whiskey. Japanese Whiskey was first produced around 1870 and consumed domestically. It was not until 2001, when the Nikka 10 year old Yoichi single malt won ‘Best of the Best’ at Whiskey Magazine’s award that the international world first heard of Japanese whiskey. Since then, Japanese whiskey has won many award and on a number of occasions Japanese single malts (particular those of Nikka’s Yoichi and Suntory’s Yamazaki) have scored higher than their Scottish counterparts in blind tastings.

The bulk of Japanese blended whiskey is consumed in cocktails, the most common being the Highball. Fine Japanese whiskey is drunk neat or on the rocks, as with Scottish whiskey.  In Japan, Japanese whiskey is mixed with hot water in winter and cold water in summer, as is done with shochu.

Due to the high quality of Japanese whiskey, demand has risen to outstrip supply and prices have risen. One of the bottles tasted on the night cost $800. Distilleries in Japan are not aging their whiskey’s for as long, in an attempt to increase supply.

The whiskey’s that were tasted were:

  • Ichiro’s Malt (Malt and grain) ($200)
  • Yamazaki 12 year old ($180)
  • Shinsu Mars (Owai Tradition Wine Cask) ($100)
  • Nikka (from the barrel) ($80)
  • White Oak Akashi ($150)
  • Yoichi 15 year old ($800)

The Eau de Vie Appreciation Society began five years ago. The spirit tasting events run once a month and the following events are planned for 2017:

  • February – Whiskey from the land of the rising sun with Japanese whiskey
  • March – Love thy peat monster with peated whiskies
  • April – King of cocktails: A tale of the Martini
  • May – Around the world in eight cocktails
  • June – Ride the green fairy: Absinthe debunked
  • July – Chocolate and whiskey: A match made in heaven
  • August – A taste of Australian whiskey
  • September – Drink like a pirate: The Eau-de-Vie way
  • October – Disco drinks re-imagined: The Eau-de-Vie way
  • November – Champagne, caviar and cheese: A la Francaise

For more information about future events, go to:


Pyrmont Growers Market is returning to Pyrmont Bay Park

The Pyrmont Growers Market is back at Pyrmont Bay Park and, to celebrate, a launch party was held on Wednesday 16 February 2016 at PizzAperta at The Star.

Pyrmont Growers Market is back at Pyrmont Bay Park (Pirrama Road, Pyrmont NSW) from 25 February 2016 and every fourth Saturday of every month from 7:30am to 12:00pm.

The Markets will once again offer unique gourmet produce and top quality fresh food straight from the field and farm.

Pyrmont Growers Market started as a single one-off event that was part of the 1998 Good Food Month but continued for 18 years and became one of the most popular and well-attended markets in the city. It closed in April 2016 when Fairfax decided to stop sponsoring it. The likes of Pepe Saya and Toby’s Estate have made names for themselves here, and some of Australia’s most celebrated chefs have demonstrated on the market stage (such as Rockpool’s Neil Perry, Marque’s Mark Best, Biota’s James Viles, and Victor Churchill’s Anthony Puharich).

It is now produced and operated by the Pyrmont Ultimo Chamber of Commerce and proudly supported by The Star. The Pyrmont Ultimo Chamber of Commerce engaged food consultant Tawnya Bahr from Straight to the Source to secure the finest local producers and farmers to be part of the markets. The markets will offer a green, sustainable and relaxed community focused event.

The food at the launch party was made from ingredients sourced from the new stallholders at Pyrmont Growers Market. Guests were served two types of pizzas: ham and mushroom pizza made with Pino Dolce Vita smoked ham, mushrooms, San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella; and vegetarian pizza made from eggplant, olives, pumpkin, zucchini, cherry tomato, basil and crescenza cheese. They were also served an Australian ocean trout roll with zucchini, leek, pumpkin puree and crescenza cheese. The roll is not a regular menu item at PizzaPerta but it was a standout dish that they should consider adding.

PizzaPerta is an open-air piazza style Italian Pizzeria and Bar operated by Stefano Manfredi (who was also present on the night). It serves pizzas, focaccias, salads, sides and desserts. His head chef, Gianluca Donzella, managed the kitchen and told me that they also make gluten free pizza that is popular with people with celiac disease.

For more information about the Pyrmont Growers Market, go to:

Wine Tasting the 2017 Top 100 Wines of the world

Wine enthusiasts got to taste a stellar line up of wines from the 37th Sydney international Wine Competition of the blue-gold, gold and Top 100 Wines during two tasting sessions at The Novotel Central Sydney on Saturday 11 February 2017.

The public tastings featured a record diversity of wine regions and wine varieties, with 100 different grape varieties and blends represented in this year’s Competition. The wines that enter the competition are from around the world and wine lovers tasted over 280 wines awarded TOP 1OO™, Blue Gold, and Gold medals, including trophy winners.

This is the best wine tasting event that I have ever been to with such a huge selection of great wines to free pour (but it is recommended to taste and spit but not swallow). The first session cost $44.00 and the second sessions cost $55.00, but most people preferred to buy the all day ticket for $77.00 and taste the white wines in the morning and red wines in the afternoon.

The Sydney International Wine Competition is about helping wine consumers make more pleaseing wine choices for their dinner table. There are fifteen categories and for each category a number of wines are selected to give the consumer a range of wine options. Although all the wines are winners, in most cases I found the first wine from each category to be the best (but not always).

The categories consisted of: Sparkling Wines; Aromatic Wines; Sauvignon Blanc Wines; Rose Wines; Lighter Bodies White Wines; Medium Bodied White Wines; Fuller Bodied White Wines; Pinot Noir Wines; Lighter Bodied Red Wines; Medium Bodied Red Wines; Fuller Bodied Red Wines; Sparkling Red Wines; Semi-Sweet Wines; Dessert Wines; and Fortified Wines.

A variety of judges are selected that not only choose the wines based on the technical aspects of how the grapes are grown and the winemaking process, but also on how the wine will complement appropriate food. The competition is unique because a team of chefs is hired to produce appropriate food to help judge the wines.

Amongst the wines that will be available for tasting are two surprise medal winners – the debut Shiraz and Rosé wines blended by talk-show TV celebrity Graham Norton in association with New Zealand’s Invivo Wines.

While Australian and New Zealand wines dominated the competition, European wineries from France, Italy and Spain were also amongst the medal winners.

For the sparkling wine category, the French dominated this year with six of the ten wines coming from Champagne, France. The other four came from the cool climate of Tasmania, Marlborough, Central Otago and an interesting sparkling Riesling from Waipara.

For more information about all the winning wines, go to:



A Culinary Experience of Alex Retief Wines and exceptional food by The Caterer Sydney

The Caterer Sydney, Urban Winery Sydney and Stedmans Hospitality joined forces to present the Culinary Experience: an event where award winning wines by Alex Retief were matched with exceptional food at the Urban Winery Sydney on Thursday 9 February 2017.

The Urban Winery Sydney is located in the backstreets of St Peters in newly revived area called Precinct 75, which used to be the old Taubman’s site. It is Australia’s first large scale urban winery and consists of two rooms: a bar area and a barrel room with a long table. It has a capacity of 60 people and holds regular wine tasting and wine blending masterclasses.

Alex Retief produces a range of wines using New South Wales grapes including sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, rosé, a field blend, mataro, shiraz, tempranillo and petit verdot. Guests were served these wines with dishes that were made to match. In addition, guests were served a Rosé Spritzer made with 60ml of rosé, 20ml of elderflower syrup, 60ml of soda water and a rosemary sprig for a garnish.

The Caterer Sydney put together an exceptional menu of canapés to pair with the Rosé Spritz including: freshly shucked oysters with lemon and cracked pepper; jamon with nectarine and pursiane; blini with creme fraiche, caviar and chives; beef tartare; and truffled potato gems. They also created small dished to match all the wines including: local calamari, grilled on hibachi with peas, yuzu and wild garlic vinaigrette matched with 2014 A. Retief Sauvignon Blanc from Tumbarumba NSW; fresh blue swimmer crab in brown butter with macadamia puree and asparagus matched with 2014 A. Retief Sauvignon Blanc from Tumbarumba NSW; yabbies with tomato, shallot, tarragon vinegar, and shellfish dressing matched with 2014 A. Retief Chardonnay from Tumbarumba NSW; duck rillettes with crisp skin, confit heirloom carrots, cherry gel, oat crumble and pickled cherry jus served with 2015 A Retief Tempranillo from Gundagai NSW; wagyu rump on hibachi with white onion puree and pickled oyster mushrooms served with either 2015 A Retief ‘Field Blend’ from Hilltops NSW or 2013 A Retief Bio-dynamic Shiraz from Gundagai NSW; and bruleed fig with fresh honeycomb and black tahini yoghurt matched with 2014 A. Retief Chardonnay from Tumbarumba NSW.

Urban Winery Sydney is located at Suite 6.01, Precinct 75, 75 Mary Street St Peters. NSW 2044

For more information about the Urban Winery Sydney, go to:

For more information about Stedmans Hospitality, go to:

For more information about The Caterer Sydney, go to: