About a month ago, my friend Michaela and I were in New York together. In contrast to Sydney with its’ 1.30 lockout, and where it’s near impossible to get a restaurant meal after about 9.30, you can go and do anything at virtually any time in The Big Apple. Memorably, there was one night when, having been to a show, we arrived at a restaurant called Balthazar at maybe 10.30 or 11.00 at night. And memorably, seated metres away from us was none other than Salman Rushdie.
In contrast, we met this week for an early meal at a Crown Street restaurant called Besser. As we arrived at the door, we saw another famous person enjoying their meal. “I love Noni Hazlehurst”, I said to Michaela with a smile, “but I can’t help but contrast this with New York”. In common, the service and the meals at both restaurants were excellent.
Besser, which has an Italian menu is located in the space where Billy Kwong’s used to be. “Everything is meant to be shared”, the waitress told us. We had some chicken, some greens and some potatoes. The chicken was possibly the best chicken I’ve eaten in years. Moist. Tasty. Brilliant.
When the bill arrived, we noticed we had spent significantly more on the wine than we had on the food. That happens, I guess. And anyway, it was a great place to discover, and I’ve been recommending it heartily ever since.
The other place in Surry Hills that’s really taken off is a new pizza place (Via Napoli, I think it’s called), located in what was Franco Franco on Crown Street, closer to Cleveland Street. Every night I’ve walked past the place has been packed. And last night, there was actually a significantly lengthy queue. I’m sure I’ll get there one day.