Thursday, December 06, 2012

Two wonderful restaurants three amazing bookstores - a weekend in Sydney

While in Sydney last weekend to celebrate a milestone birthday with an Aussie mate we ate at two very special restaurants and bought books at three of Sydney's finest indie bookshops.

Just before Christmas last year I  reviewed The Art of Pasta by Lucio Galletto and David Dale. Lucio owns the very fine Italian restaurant, Lucio's in Paddington and I had been so impressed with his mouth-watering book that I was determined that next time we were in Sydney we would eat there. And so we did. And what a treat it proved to be.The food, north Italian influenced, was excellent, the staff focussed, knowledgeable and attentive, the host most amiable,(he knows how to work a room and make everyone feel special), and his collection of Australian art around the walls truly impressive.

It was a special night, thank you Lucio, it was a great pleasure to meet you.

The other restaurant, Three Blue Ducks, by way of great contrast was a casual cafe/restaurant at the seaside suburb of Bronte.

Our Sydney friends had alerted us to three blue ducks and after reading a review in Time Out Sydney we decided this was the perfect Friday night venue and so it proved to be. It was packed to the gunwhales but the service was friendly and efficient and the food first class. Highly recommended.

Then to the bookstores.

First up Lesley McKay's Bookshop  at Queens Court
118–122 Queen St, Woollahra, NSW 2025 where I bought a copy of A Simply Wonderful Christmas by various authors and illustrated by Silke Leffler, NorthSouth Books A$30.00.
This hardback is a literary advent calendar in that it contains a story or poem for each day from 1 December to 24 December and I am having fun reading one to Annie each night before bed.

Then on to Potts Point Bookshop at 14 Macleay Street, Potts Point. I love this place and rarely visit Sydney without calling in.
After happily browsing for an hour and wishing I didn't have to worry about weight issues on the flight home I left with a copy of My Ideal Bookshelf edited by Thessaly La Force with art by Jane Mount. Little Brown & Co., A$30.00. I found this title utterly irresistible with its original paintings of the colourful and delightful book spines and occasional objets d'art from the contributors personal bookshelves.

Then across the city to Newtown and Better Read than Dead at 265 King Street.

Another superb indie store where I bought a couple of funny titles - The Vacant Casualty - a parody by Patty O'Furniture, Boxtree A$20. Haven't read this yet but here is the statement that appears on the back cover which is the reason I bought it - "The Vacant Casualty is not prepared, authorised, licensed, approved or endorsed by the publishers of The Casual Vacancy."
The other book is Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell, Constable A$15.00.
A John Cleese Twitter question ['What is your pet peeve?'], first sparked the 'Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops' blog, which grew over three years into one bookseller's collection of ridiculous conversations on the shop floor. From 'Did Beatrix Potter ever write a book about dinosaurs?' to the hunt for a paperback which could forecast the next year's weather; and from 'I've forgotten my glasses, please read me the first chapter' to'Excuse me... is this book edible?'

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