Pop goes the sum­mer sea­son

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - SU­SAN KURO­SAWA

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.

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