Romantic in Sydney

So where can you go to spoil and be spoiled in this harbour city? If I could, I would start Valentines Day at Ormeggio at the Spit (D'Albora Marinas, The Spit, Mosman, 02 9969 4088). This new partly-hidden Northern Italian restaurant, is well worth learning how to locate. Hint, it's tucked behind luxury boats sales on the western side of the Spit, where the views of Middle Harbour are stunning and Chef Alessandro Pavoni, formerly of the Park Hyatt Sydney has re-berthed his former home of Lombardy, Italy, with a rustic elegant menu. Nothing can beat a romantic breakfast here.

If you've planned Sunday breakfast in bed, however, go for dinner. After a glass of prosecco there will be a specially designed five-course Valentine's Day menu encompassing some of Pavoni's most intricate dishes. Rather than spoil the surprise, let's just cut to the chase and reveal that the decadent dessert finale is a Barbajada of chocolate and coffee.

 

Mood-enhancing chocolate is always a good romance-enhancer for me - along with half of the world, it seems. Well, at least the female half! So I would, at some point in the day, have to head for Guylian. This Belgian chocolate company which has made a name for itself with its richly swirled seahorses and other aquatic shaped chocolates, has also in the past couple of years, opened two shops in Sydney (91 George Street, The Rocks, 02 8274 7500 and Shop 10, Opera Quays, 3 Macquarie Street, 02 8274 7900). Both are wonderful temples to decadence. And, you guessed it. They are celebrating V.Day with a romantic degustation at the café or - and here's a great idea - it can be pre-ordered to pick up and take home to create a lovely  romantic surprise!

 

Romantic evenings need peace and quiet - and good food. That's why I like Bei Amici (2b Mona Road, Darling Point, 02 9328 0305). If an intimate corner is your preference when dining, this little gem is ideal. Pair that with Swiss-born Chef Felix Rutz's unique Swiss-Italian menu and you'll possibly want to return many times to try it all. Great for lovers, there's the sort of friendly-yet-unobtrusive service you may have feared had left town, making it a winner for me. The produce-driven menu changes seasonally, and Chef Rutz delights in letting the flavours do the talking without overdressing the food. A perfect marriage of robust Italian dishes prepared with Swiss attention to detail. And they offer a special Valentine's Day dinner each year.

 

If music is the food of love, then jazz has to be the playful part of it.

Dunes Restaurant at Palm Beach (1193 Barrenjoey Road, Palm Beach, 02 9974 3332) has regular jazz evenings on Thursday nights, which means you could have a 'pre-Valentine' romantic evening. Those who don't live close by can make it a real event and fly by float plane to Palm Beach. It's romantic at any time, set inside Governor Phillip Park between Pittwater and the Pacific Ocean. Chef Stefan Leibenatus' innovative menu and the indoor-outdoor layout of the restaurant makes this just the place I'd want to be on any balmy Sydney summer evening. Valentines Day, or not.

 - Sally Hammond

 

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