“The last time I was here, it was a plate-breaking Greek restaurant called Dimitris”, I told my visiting interstate colleagues. I was referring to “Gardel’s Bar” at Porteño in Surry Hills. After years of plate-breaking, it’s now an uber-fashionable bar for the Surry Hills crowd. Along with the “Norfolk Hotel” which has also become uber-cool, Porteño seems attract big crowds, even on a Monday night.
Tonight there was the added attraction of a CD launch by Lanie Lane, a singer-songwriter who was discovered through Triple J Unearthed. As such, she’s fairly new and some of her style is derivative. A little bit of Amy, a little bit of Adele, a little bit of Tammy, a little bit of Tina, and a little bit of Janis, to name but a few. But she’s also a lot of Lanie. Although she obviously listens widely, she has a style of her own, and a voice of her own, sings well, plays the guitar, and write songs with clever lyrics. One song had a sadness to it that ended suddenly and made me feel even more sad. Another song, Bang Bang Bang made me smile with its joy.
I was also impressed with the make-over they’ve given Dimitris. It’s very cool. Dark. Rich colours. A fashionable crowd – we were the oldest there aside from Lanie’s mum and dad – and you would never know it’s on Cleveland Street. They’ve done a good job silencing the traffic, though the noise from the downstairs bar was loud enough to travel upstairs during her quieter songs.
“Where shall we eat?”, my colleagues asked. It didn’t take too much argument to convince them to visit one of my new favourites, Cafe Sicilia on Crown Street. Good food. Good wine. Good prices. Good conversation. And just minutes from home. That’s why it was okay to head out on a “school night” ahead of the next few days at work which are fairly busy for me.
I’m not sure if I’ll have time to blog, but will definitely a few photographs and stories here and there on Google+.