Pop goes the summer season
THE pop-up concept is all the rage and always seems such fun. Craft and produce markets have been popping up for years, of course, typically on weekends.
In the cobwebbed past when I was a girl, school and church fetes were pop-ups of a sort, much-anticipated occasions for mothers to turn out spectacular sponges and fairy cakes and for the unscrupulous to donate unwanted household items, such as the crocheted clotheshangers bestowed on families each Christmas by nimblefingered (but thankfully distant) aunts.
One year, overcome with excitement and pocket money, I bought back one of ours for 50 cents and Mother didn’t stop tut-tutting for days.
In continental Europe and across Britain, Christmas markets pop up from November onwards, and with vans selling roasted chestnuts and the possibility of snow, it all seems like a greeting-card wonderland. If elves in tinselled caps were to appear and hand out goblets of mulled wine, surely no one would be surprised.
There’s a pop-up Veuve Clicquot bar in a wonderfully curvy Airstream caravan each January on the Sydney Opera House concourse. Everything gleams in gold, from the logo branding to the French cafe-style tables and chairs and, eventually, one’s champagne-warmed cheeks.
Food trucks are springing up everywhere, too, with cities such as Vancouver and Austin, Texas, becoming as known for such temporary diners as their mainstream restaurants.
My friend Judith Love has pop-up showings in Sydney and Brisbane locations of her clever handmade Love and West cushions, and designer Skye Rogers runs pop-up crafternoons and teaches nimble types how to make quirky creations from paper and bits and bobs.
There are pop-up restaurants, shops and even bars, often in association with food and produce festivals or summer events when days are long and being outdoors is quite the thing.
A fortnight ago, there was a pop-up happening at Fishermen’s Wharf, Woy Woy, not far from our beach weekender, and we got together with friends and booked a table. New York chef Matty Bee, previously of Longrain in Sydney, flew in to cook the most delicious Thai-influenced fare over two nights with the restaurant’s regular kitchen crew. We drank fizzy Moscow Mules and gorged on ling-filled dumplings and felt as if we had landed in a parallel universe.
Then, whoosh, he was gone, back to Manhattan to finalise the site of his next restaurant, The Lucky Bee, due to open by year’s end. As Fishermen’s Wharf’s resident pelicans looked balefully upon us from their rooftop perches, we drank to this talented chef’s ongoing success and our own good fortune. I guess you could have called us pop-up toasters.