When Mr NQN and I moved back to the Eastern Suburbs from Mosman a few years ago, we moved right near to Centennial Park. People used to say to us “Oh that’s wonderful, you must use the park all the time” and we’d smile back and nod and murmur “Well sometimes…” not wanting to admit that despite our close proximity to the expansive green park, we rarely set foot in it. We’d drive past it thinking “We really should go for a walk in there” only to keep on driving. Cut to about four years later and we’re finally using it on an almost daily basis whether it be to work out or take walks.
It was my trainer Nina that put me onto The Park, the pop up restaurant that sits at the Paddington Gates at The Cottage. Open from Friday to Sunday midday to 10pm-ish fairy lights are strung from trees and a white picket fence borders white tables and chairs. There’s a bar and food provided and during weekend days it is abuzz with people and I think that the best time to go is on a sunny afternoon rather than on a cold evening. We’re arriving here on a Friday night, albeit this past very breezy, chilly Friday night and the crowds gather where the outdoor heaters are located. There is live music and bakes of hay, pumpkins and rustic country touches abound. The Park pop up is for another couple of weeks until June 2nd, 2013.
We start with drinks-I do a double take when I see giant jugs of cocktails for $95. There are two sized jugs and the giant jugs are big but $95 is quite a price. There is also Mumm French champagne for $95 a bottle, beer for $9 and other drinks. We go for a small jug of the Elyx English Godmother Pimms cocktail. It’s just after 6.30pm and we’re mid happy hour although there are no signs saying so and when we come to pay they tell us that our drinks are half price so canny Louise suggests that we order another jug, the next one is an Elyx Bloody Mary.
Elyx English Godmother $39 (or $20 during happy hour)
The English Godmother is pleasant and light, like a Pimms cocktail but doesn’t have the abundance of fruit and cucumber that you usually get with a Pimms cocktail. It’s also very much full of ice. You get about four glasses worth of drink in one of the small jugs and I’m glad that we hit happy hour because Mr NQN gristles at the quantity of ice for the price.
Elyx Bloody Mary $39 (or $20 during happy hour)
The bloody mary is also ice laden and has a little spice to it that helps to warm us up. I look at half-Finnish Mr NQN and Danish Viggo who are both shivering and Louise and I decide that it’s best that we get some food into the poor boys.
Thick cut chips with rosemary salt $6
Next to the bar is where you order and pay for the food. Nothing puts warmth in the belly quite like piping hot chips and arancini so we ordered those. The fat chips were excellent, crunchy on the outside and fluffy and soft on the inside. And incredibly warming too!
Arancini balls with fresh tomato sauce and parmesan $12
We also enjoyed the arancini which had a lightly crispy outer, cheesy risotto rice inside and a thick, rich tomato sauce and shavings of parmesan.
Pork and fennel snags with mashed potato, onion gravy and crispy eschallots $16