The spice of life, Syd­ney style

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE - SU­SAN KUROSAWA

Ky­oto? Kanazawa? Well, Kens­ing­ton Street in Chip­pen­dale at the south end of the Syd­ney CBD, ac­tu­ally. It’s the city’s buzzi­est new precinct, or “life­style desti­na­tion” as the mar­ket­ing boost­ers pre­fer. It is “com­prised of in­ter­lac­ing streets in­hab­ited by dar­ing in­no­va­tors” or, with less hy­per­bole, here we have a quar­ter of restau­rants, cafes and shops, mostly Asian in char­ac­ter. Old build­ings and ter­races have been hol­lowed out and reimag­ined and there’s a nice em­pha­sis on the small and hand-hewn.

Which is where this vi­brant mu­ral, and oth­ers like it, come in. What I love about this type of street art, and the con­cept of small cheek-to-jowl eater­ies with out­door ta­bles and one or two talked-about spe­cial­ties, is how co­he­sive and friendly it feels. Kens­ing­ton Street’s din­ing hub is Spice Al­ley, a jagged laneway strung with lanterns, pop­ping with wall art, and fea­tur­ing tiny joints serv­ing Malaysian, Thai, Chi­nese, Viet­namese and Ja­panese dishes. It feels like a Sin­ga­pore hawker cen­tre, hours are flex­i­ble (about 11am-10pm daily), no cash changes hands (use pay­Wave or a topped-up Spice Al­ley credit card) and there’s a big stu­dent push, given the prox­im­ity of the Univer­sity of Syd­ney. Tourists are part of the mix as well, es­pe­cially those stay­ing along the way at The Old Clare, a din­ing desti­na­tion in it­self with Sil­ver­eye on the premises and Au­tomata and Ja­son Ather­ton’s new Kens­ing­ton Street So­cial on the doorstep.

A no­table col­lec­tion of street art can be found around Pe­nang in Malaysia where clever cre­ators have helped re­vi­talise the heart of UNESCO World Her­itage-listed Ge­orge Town. There’s a marked trail to fol­low and some mu­rals in­cor­po­rate the fab­ric of the build­ing so, say, a real win­dow be­comes part of a painted im­age of a house. It’s even mer­rier when a res­i­dent’s head pops out and star­tles the selfie crowd.

Back in newly cool and chip­per Chip­pen­dale, what fun it would be if th­ese Ja­panese maidens were to sud­denly twirl their para­sols or wink at din­ers. I will be keep­ing an eye on them next time I set­tle in for a bowl of noo­dles.

Fol­low on In­sta­gram: @su­sankuro­sawa

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.