Cantonese pub

What to eat and drink at the Sydney Solstice

The winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year – and the longest night. And while we might be tempted to crawl under the covers and watch (more) Netflix, Sydney’s hospitality and cultural scenes are shedding chains of lockdown to celebrate the city’s reopening.

Sydney Solstice is a new winter event that reinvents the culture of the night with a tide of creative and culinary events taking place in four neighborhoods as Sydney counts down to the Solstice.

“Sydney nightlife, for me, is all about these wonderful, quirky little wine bars, and I really love seeing CBD restaurants open,” said chef and restaurateur Kylie Kwong. “I think it’s really important that we continue to drive Sydney’s recovery and celebrate all the beautiful things we love about this city.”

Kwong has a lot to celebrate right now. She just opened Lucky Kwong, a casual restaurant serving lunch only and serving daily iterations of her famous savory pancakes and, as always, incorporating native Australian edible plants into Cantonese-style dishes. And she’s an ambassador for food, culture and community in South Eveleigh, where Lucky Kwong has set up camp.

The new district launches its first street party for the Sydney solstice, mixing food, music, art and culture of the First Nations. Alongside Lucky Kwong there will be Rara Chan, a tsukemen-focused neighbor, pho masters Eat Fuh, and waste-free bar Re–, among others.

For other culinary outings focused on First Nations ingredients and culture, visit the pop-up bar at Badu Gili Winter Nights. Or join one of the trips to Me-Mel Island where you will discover its importance to First Nations people through songs, dances, artifacts and learn about its flora – and enjoy a barbecue lunch.

Across the harbor, Aria will appeal to those with a weakness for local produce and scintillating views with Aria after dark. The gourmet restaurant invited winemakers from Gilbert Family Wines, Brokenwood, Vinden Wines and Nick Spencer Wines to each lead a tasting session accompanied by snacks by Executive Chef Joel Bickford.

Award-winning cheese maker Kristen Allan runs two cheese-making workshops. We unwrap how to make stretched curd cheeses (mozzarella, burrata, stracciatella). In the other, you will turn the crème fraîche into cultured butter, the butter into ghee and the leftover whey into ricotta. Expect plenty of snacks between squeezing and churning.

Flavors of opera cuisine is another festival within a festival, this time by Matt Moran and Opera Kitchen from the Solotel group, which opened in March. Food and entertainment will adapt to the tempo of Italy meets Japan from the hall, with the surrounding stalls offering a mix of katsu sandos, karaage chicken, cold cuts, buffalo mozzarella and ramen. Sip an Aperol spritz or Asahi beer while being shot a cartoonish manga-style portrait, or spend a quiet moment amid the hustle and bustle polishing a Messina ice cream while taking in the harbor views.

Sumptuous long table Queen’s Day will take over Sydney City Hall on June 13. It is the work of Anna Polyviou (who last year made 1000 kilograms of cookie dough), Claire Van Vuuren (Bloodwood), George Woodyard (Bart Jr), Sarah Tiong (Chef), and winemaker Lisa McGuigan. Devour four courses amid lush soundscapes and performances designed by Kat Dopper of Heaps Gay. Warning: this one requires dress preparation, so check the dress code.

If you’re a little chilly, the Sydney Solstice program offers two events involving toasted mulled wine. You can experience the European tradition of spiced mulled wine at Fall Moon Festival at the Sydney Brewery’s Surry Hills outpost on June 17, or Violin + Feast at Silly Tart Kitchen on June 20.

Those who love beer should head to The Terminus for Brew, Beats and Burgers during the long weekend in June. Brewers from Sydney and the New South Wales region will be on hand to serve all kinds of hazy, hoppy and sour beers. Alternatively, Bitter Phew of Oxford Street combines his extensive neck oil know-how with local, native and wild ingredients as part of Ouf-Ture. Gabriel Gutnik of Ziggy’s Wild Foods will co-host workshops, and Caitlin Koether of Wild Provisions (formerly Tartine in San Francisco) will host lunch and dinner.

This article is produced by Large format in partnership with the Government of NSW through Destination NSW.

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