Five Australian cities will be in the grip of Ashes fever this summer. Here’s what to do before, after and between matches in Sydney (test matches 4-8 January).
ORDER A BURGER
The burgers are not so basic at Bar Ume, the reincarnation of chef Kerby Craig’s hatted restaurant, Ume, in Surry Hills. Jostle with locals for a seat inside the compact Japanese-bar-style eatery and team a signature burger – stuffed with crisp chicken katsu or beef – with a side of kimchi and an ice-cold Japanese beer.
Leave the banter and the baggy greens behind and sink into the understated luxury of Fred’s, which, despite the name, is run by women, from head chef Danielle Alvarez to head sommelier Caitlyn Rees. The focus on seasonal, ethical produce at this Paddington restaurant doesn’t constrain the menu – the day’s offerings might include Yamba sardines with pea and tahini hummus or smoked lamb’s tongue with horseradish yoghurt, salsa verde and beetroot. There’s a comprehensive list of wines by the glass and the cocktails receive the Australian touch with lemon myrtle in the Americano and eucalyptus in the Gimlet.
Depending on what’s broadcast, you might catch the day’s replays or a live match on the big screens in Brigade Bar, at Woollahra hotel The Light Brigade, where local and international beers come bottled or on tap. Alternatively, celebrate your team’s win with a sundowner – the appropriately named Harbour View or Grapefruit Sky – while ogling the city skyline from Brigade Rooftop.
TAKE TIME OUT
Find your tribe among the patrons at The Clock hotel, a heritage building in Surry Hills that conceals a contemporary interior. For a break from the game (which you might see on-screen in the downstairs bar), head up to the balcony bar and watch the bustle of Crown Street below with a G&T made with Australian gin. Or, if you’re feeling celebratory, order a dram in the Whisky Room.
WALK IT OFF
Download a Centennial Parklands walking tour app and do a self-guided walk – themes include nature and wildlife, and history – around one of Sydney’s most prized green spaces, adjacent to the Sydney Cricket Ground. Expect to encounter horseriders, joggers, cyclists and plenty of native flora and fauna on your amble around this 360- hectare oasis.
HAVE A HIT
There’s only one thing more Australian than cricket: beach cricket. Grab your bat and ball, gather your friends and take a bus or taxi to Coogee Beach for an afternoon of classic Aussie summer entertainment. Chances are you’ll be inundated with challenges from other beachgoers but if you’re forced to draw stumps, traverse the picturesque coastal trail from Coogee to Bondi Beach.
You’ll find Sydney’s best (off-field) catch of the day at Saint Peter in Paddington, where the weekend brunch menu might include smoked-eel pikelets, blue mackerel on toast or sea urchin crumpets. Head to Reuben Hills in Surry Hills for spicy pre-match fortification in the form of green chilaquiles and huevos divorciados. If you’re running late for the match, grab a heavenly croissant (chocolate, almond praline or tomato and cheese) or an easy-to-juggle quiche (bacon, gruyère and leek) from Surry Hills’ much- loved Bourke Street Bakery.
SEE ALSO: Sydney's Best Rooftop Bars
Illustration credit: Rohan Cain