I used to work in a job that required me to travel frequently to Sydney for up to a week at a time, and got to be very familiar - thanks to an enthusiastic foodie colleague - with some of the good food in and around the CBD. This being my first trip there in over a year (and the first trip that wasn't work-related for 10 years or more), I was keen to do the tourist thing and actually relax and enjoy the sights. No taxis. No rushing between offices or hotels. No stress.
We flew in around dinnertime on Monday evening, with the option to head up to my husband's family flat on the north shore, but instead decided to grab some cheap accommodation in town, dump our luggage, and enjoy a meal at Lowenbrau in The Rocks. I have a thing for saurkraut and sausage - and strangely, lederhosen - so this really hit the spot. Similarly, T is a pork belly lover and I refuse to cook it as it stinks out the house, so he got his fix too. All mopped up with warm pretzels and washed down with crisp bavarian beer by the 1/2 litre, we also enjoyed a naughty dessert of beer battered fried apple fritters dusted with cinnamon and sugar, which was so mouthwateringly good.
As luck would have it, I stumbled across the Australian Heritage Hotel in the Rocks while surfing the net earlier. $69 per night "B and B", queen sized beds and clean and comfortable rooms (shared bathrooms). I was dubious, but curious, and I'm so glad we gave it a go because it was fantastic. The pub downstairs closed around 11pm so we weren't bothered by noise, no lining up to use one of the bathrooms/loos, there was even a shared living room area with games, tv and ... a tray with a carafe of port. The next morning a nice lady buzzed around the living room as we munched on toast, cereal, juice and tea - making sure we had everything we needed and even offering to hold our luggage for the day. Considering hotel accommodation in The Rocks generally starts at $250+ (for a basic room) - this was incredible value.
The next day we made our way via ferry and bus to T's family flat, where we again left our luggage and went exploring. Lunch at the "Collaroy pie shop" - chicken avocado and brie pie! - before a walk around the beaches and then a bus trip up to "Summer Bay" (Palm Beach). Beautiful beaches and scenery but we deemed it would be better to go back in the summertime, when the place really comes alive. We enjoyed dinner back at Manly at the Bavarian Bier restaurant near the ferry terminal - again, T ordered pork belly, and I, sausage and saurkraut - pricier than Lowenbrau but the food was a step up. Although the atmosphere at Lowenbrau is what makes it fun - where else can you be serenaded by a trio of brass instrument playing, german singing, lederhosen wearing gents as you enjoy your 'wurst (except maybe the Cuckoo)?
Speaking of which, I'll be at the Cuckoo this Saturday, enjoying a quirky Christmas in July with my sister, brother, and assorted friends and partners. Three bavarian restaurants in less than a week (not including a breakfast on the run at the Vic Market last week) - I think I'll need to detox this week to give my liver - not to mention my lower intestine - a break.