Venue Review – The Imperial Hotel, Paddington

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Dining Area next to the Kitchen - photo by TPGB

As tomorrow night is Game One for the NRL State of Origin, I have decided to swap around our venue review day in case you wanted to pop over to the pub to watch the game…. And who said designers didn’t like football!!

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Exterior Facade - photo by TPGB

Growing up in my house we were ablaze with State of Origin fever, state against state, mate against mate, in fact I don’t think you were allowed in the living room if you wore anything resembling QLD or wearing any speck of maroon. And you can be sure that there was either pizza or pies for dinner, usually swooshed down with a beer or two….

(For those of you who do NOT know what I am on about, State of Origin is an annual 3 game series of Rugby League played between NSW and QLD. The ‘origin’ part comes into it as the players can only play for the original state that they represented – for most players that is either NSW or QLD. It generates probably some of the best quality footy you are likely to see all year and is a hotly contested series, to say the least. My family are clearly NSW supporters).

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Cute Vintage Signage - photo by TPGB

These days I am more likely to head to the pub with a group of friends to watch the game as the family is spread around a bit, but I still get that excitement and nervous energy, and feel the urge to text my father and brothers throughout the series. I guess that life has phases and cycles, but some things remain the same.

And that brings me, in a rather long winded way, to the Imperial Hotel. Boy has that seen some swings and roundabouts! At a time when Oxford Street was teaming with the glamorous and gorgeous out for a spot of shopping, the Imperial Hotel was somewhat the ugly duckling… only, it’s been around for ages… so it was more just like an ugly duck. Now that Oxford Street in Padington has frayed drastically at the edges, with at least half the shops along the strip closed, the Imperial Hotel has re-emerged, in a brand spanking new outfit.

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The Imperial Hotel, Paddington - photo by TPGB

Oscar & I head out on a Monday night, expecting the pub to be vacant – gym night etc. But once we arrive we notice there are quite a few people enjoying a beer and a chat. Perhaps word has got around about the hand-cut 3-times-cooked chips? They certainly seem to be popular, with a bowl on just about every table!

Oscar was hoping to try out the pizzas, but the upstairs pizza restaurant is shut – it’s open Wednesday to Sunday (5pm – close) – so instead he eyes off the steaks, finally selecting the expensive Imperial Ribeye on the Bone with Hand-cut Chips and a selection of 3 Mustards ($38). I go for a somewhat girly pub meal, the Warm Lamb Salad ($20), as I am feeling guilty about not going to the gym. We order a bottle of the Hunter Valley 2009 Tintilla Estate “Saphira” Sangiovese ($48) to drink whilst we warm up in front of the downstairs fire on such a cold night.

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The Imperial Rib-eye Steak - photo by TPGB

It’s worthwhile pointing out here that the Imperial Hotel serves only wines from NSW (the perfect place to support the Cockroaches!!! Go NSW!!!) in an effort to promote locally produced food and wine, and reduce food miles. Regular wine tasting nights are a must – make sure you check out their website for more details. The Imperial Hotel also has a Social Club, with a view to bring the community together. It has great events such as a Harbour Sailing Night and a Safari Truck available to groups for pick-up and drop-off – AND – it’s free to join!

Our meals arrive promptly and Oscar’s steak is cooked to perfection. Nice and pink in the middle and incredibly tender and juicy – it’s a great steak, but you certainly pay for it. My lamb salad is ok. The sun-dried tomatoes add a real punch of flavour and the lamb is cooked well, it’s just that I’ve tasted better elsewhere. It’s what you might expect for a standard pub salad. The chips on the other hand are fantastic – crispy and crunchy with bits of potato skin still showing on the outside – they are delicious!

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Warm Lamb Salad - photo by TPGB

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Tintilla Sangiovese - photo by TPGB

The downstairs bar area is nice and bright and open. There are occasional seats around the fire, high bar tables and stools throughout the centre and banquette seats along the perimeter – something for everyone. The bar cuts through from the front room through to the back adjacent the outdoor terrace area and is quite nicely detailed with under-bench lighting. I really love the outdoor terrace area with bamboo garden beds set against the wall and open to the night sky.

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Downstairs Bar - photo by TPGB

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Outdoor Courtyard - love the bamboo! - photo by TPGB

Upstairs there are Function Rooms, the Pizza Bar, a Smoking Balcony and… you guessed it… a Karaoke Room – it’s what every pub needs of course!! The manager was very kind and took me around upstairs but – no pics – as the lights were mostly off. All the more reason to head over there and check it out yourself!

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Cheese Plate - photo by TPGB

As if we needed any more food – Oscar couldn’t help but order the Cheese Plate ($19). I swear this man is on a mission to stop me from fitting into my wedding dress later this year!!! How good does this look?! You try saying ‘No’! The cheeses are mild and yummy…. and the figs…!! Enough said…

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More Vintage Finishes - photo by TPGB

The Imperial Hotel does a few things really well. It’s remained a pub. It looks like a pub – a much nicer one now, thank you. It serves great pub food, at mostly reasonable prices. And… it brings people together… to support the community, share a wine or watch the sport!

Summary:
In a world where things are forever changing, it’s good to know that a pub can still be a pub – but a good looking one.

LOVIN’: Local produce and community support
NOT LOVIN’: Oscar wanted a bigger steak…
NOISE: It was quiet on a Monday, but I suspect it could get quiet loud
BRING: Anyone
HOW MUCH: $$$$$
WHERE: 252 Oxford Street, Paddington 2021
WHEN: Mon – Sat: 10am – 12pm  Sunday: 10am – 10pm
CONTACT: (02) 9331-2023
www.imperialhotelpaddington.com.au

Also check out the TimeOut review here - which is not really a review – I had a hard time trying to find one!

Imperial Hotel on Urbanspoon

GB x

Venue Review – The Lodge, Balmain

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The Facade - photo by TPGB

It’s an unassuming facade…. Certainly not somewhere that you’d normally think to see rich red velvet theatre curtains… And probably not somewhere where you’d expect to fall, Alice-in-Wonderland-like, to another world.

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Outdoor Clock - super cute! - photo by TPGB

And let’s face it, the sunny Saturday afternoon that we swing by The Lodge, I’m pretty sure that Alice is looking much better than us. Oscar has just finished playing 90 mins of soccer against rival team Balmain, and I have just finished thrashing myself at a 7.445km (to be exact..!) run, that has left my face red and salty and my gluteus maximus, a little on the sore side… A very attractive pair. So it is with a little trepidation that we walk down the stairs and through the red stage curtains to the bar. We figure, we’ve done the hard yards, and that we deserve a beer, whatever we look like!

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Fog City Cider - photo by TPGB

Thankfully the attractively 1950′s vintage-dressed girl behind the bar does not stare, but rather, cheerfully helps us with the beer menu. Oscar opts for the Fog City Cloudy (Apple) Cider ($10.50) and because I’m feeling virtuous and cleansed from all that running uphill, I go for the Mountain Goat Organic Steam Ale ($10) (yes… my previous life…).

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Mountain Goat Beer - photo by TPGB

The cider and the beer are lovely, my ale has a bitter full flavour, and is the perfect thirst quencher. Oscar’s cider is tart, crisp and refreshing – ‘delicious!’ is how he describes it. Perhaps beer is an unusual choice considering the 200 plus wine list, and the healthy display of whiskey and port behind the bar, but it’s what we need right now, and I have a feeling we’ll be back to try out the wines later.

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Bar Detail - photo by TPGB

The Lodge is yet another offering from the Ed Cutcliffe (Little Marionette) burgeoning empire. I chat to his sister Coeli and discover that it has taken some time to get this little wine bar through council – trust me, I understand!! If it was anything like my dealings with Leichhardt Council – they have done well to open at all!! But honestly, I am so glad that they have persevered.

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Interior Banquette Detail - love the lights! - photo by TPGB

This tiny little wine bar is all high timber ceilings, timber wall panels, leather banquettes and marble table tops. I can’t decide if it’s more Wild West Saloon or French style under-ground cafe….? Whatever it is, it’s certainly not what you’d expect off Darling Street, Balmain. It feels like something that you might meander unexpectedly into down in Melbourne. It’s atmospheric, a little moody and the perfect place to escape and hide away from the real world for a while.

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Outdoor Seating Area

It also has an outdoor seating area that is probably larger than inside (your link to the outside world). Perfect for the outdoor beer or summer chardy… and lush with outdoor shrubbery. (I have to apologise here, the above photo is terribly over exposed, but at least you get the idea of what the outdoor seating looks like..).

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Indoor Clock! - photo by TPGB

I love the clocks – there is one inside and one outside. The indoor one is my fave, although I’m not sure why we need two? To avoid clock envy? So we don’t madly hop around like the White Rabbit exclaiming that we are late??! Whatever the case, they certainly add a focal point to the room and I am all for them!

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Interior Banquette - photo by TPGB

The Lodge has a regularly updated tapas style bar menu. On the day that we stop by there are Handcut Chips with Pecorino & Truffle Aioli ($7.50), Wagyu Rump with Potato & Bacon Gratin & Horseradish Creme Fraiche ($15.50) and a Banana, Dulce du Leche & Walnut Ice-Cream Sandwich ($8.50).

Honestly, we are both starving and would love to stay for longer, however, common decency prevents us from lingering too long in our sweaty sports gear and turning others off their meals. Much better to come back when we can sink back into those comfy leather chairs, share a nice red wine over twinkling candle-lights and spend time in Balmain’s Little Wonderland.

Summary:
This is a great place to loose yourself for a few hours in another world.

LOVIN’: Dramatic red curtains and marble top tables.
NOT LOVIN’: ?
NOISE: Low
BRING: Anyone
HOW MUCH: $$$$$
WHERE: 3/415 Darling Street, Balmain NSW 2041
WHEN: Mon – Sun: 4pm – 10pm
CONTACT: (02) 8084-2502
The Lodge FB page

Also check out the What Katie Ate here and the TimeOut review here.

Lodge Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

GB x

DesignEX 2012 – Sydney

DesignEx 2012 logo

DesignEx 2012 - Sydney

So what did you all think of Sydney DesignEx 2012? Is it just me, or does there seem to be forever more architectural product and finishes sneaking in? I remember, not that many years ago, when DesignEx was a HUGE deal – where designers and suppliers alike were bursting with new technology and information about their products. These days, it seems less and less designery… and I’m not so sure that is a good thing. Still… it is a great place to bump into old friends or colleagues and find out what they have been up to.

I think for me, the best and most innovative products could be found in ‘The Nest’ – a showcase of Australian independent and collective designers, curated by Anne-Maree Sargeant. Below are a few snapshots from their websites – I hope to be arranging interview with some of them shortly – so stay tuned!

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"036 pendant" - by David Knott

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"Lotus" - by David Knott

Check out David’s website at www.knott.com.au.

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"Fold" - by inde

Check out inde’s website at www.inde.com.au – apparently the website is being relaunched this Friday.

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Bespoke Up-cycled Furniture - by bespunk

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Bespoke Up-cycled furniture - by bespunk

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Bespoke Up-cycled Furniture - by bespunk

Check out besunk’s website at www.bespunk.com. (We love a good up-cycle here at thepeagreenboat).

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"Monkey Pots" - by Adam Cornish

Check out Adam’s website at www.adamcornish.com.

innovative lighting, Italian lighting, contemporary lighting

"Eden" - by Torremato

innovative lighting, Italian lighting, contemporary lighting

"Bole" - by Torremato

innovative lighting, Italian lighting, contemporary lighting

"Inbox/Outbox" - by Torremato

Also worth a mention were these cool lights by Torremato. You can find them through LightCo.

Another point I wanted to mention before I go – DesignEx 2012 has a blog. Guess what is featuring on the DesignEx 2012 blog? New York Design Week, Milan, Arthouse Gallery, the Interior Design Awards – What happened to reporting on all the amazing new things at DesignEx? The exciting functions and forums?

Ok… I lie… There were 7 photos of Day 1 & 2 (I counted). They were not inspiring…

I feel incredibly bad for knocking the organizers, but really, I’m not the only one to think that DesignEx has slipped in the last few years.. (plenty of chit-chat on the floor). On a positive note, the bags were pretty cool for 2012…

DesignEx used to be fun! Time to bring back the new talent, new product and energy!!!

Stay tuned for our up-coming interviews with some of DesignEx’s best.

GB x

Inside the home of Cris & Marcelo Rosenbaum – via The Selby

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Front Entrance

Check out this amazing home! Talk about creative energy! This is the bright, bold and beautiful home of Cris & Marcelo Rosenbaum in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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Living Room

There is just so much I love about this home. Mostly the brave use of bold colour – which is something I think that South Americans, generally, do better. It’s all clashy-clashy bright and over the top, with patterns everywhere – but for some reason the whole thing hangs together so well when set against a Brazilian, or Chilean or Argentinean (etc) background.

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One way to get your name up in lights..!

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Can you bear how cute this is>>??!

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Love the texture on this wall...

Here is another thing that I love about South American colour – it’s NOT perfect. There are always colours within colours. Shadows, patterns and textures… from rough hewn stone or timber walls…. To me, it’s just so much more interesting… So much more for the eye to follow or explore… Perfectly finished plaster wall in blocked colour? You might as well be staring at a pantone fandeck… Snooze…!

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Splashing around

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Cute detail..

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Wowsers..! Check out the bathroom!!

Can you believe this bathroom? How awesome! I grew up in a house with a black bathroom, and I can vouch for the fact that they are very glamorous. People always did a step back when you showed them the bathroom, before saying something along the lines – “Wow, this is nice…” We also had a gold dado trim on our bathroom – which amped up the glam volume to no end…

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Courtyard

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Love this garden wall...

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So vibrant!

And last but not least – the gardens and courtyards – love!

All images are via The Selby – which I now have a new blog crush on. I can’t believe I haven’t seen it before… Go check it out! (You probably already have… it’s massive!!)

GB x

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