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Those of a certain age will remember the “good old days” around the King’s Cross area. Growing up in Sydney, as teenagers we would occasionally ignore parental advice and drive the old Falcon through Macleay Street and Darlinghurst Road to gawk at all the weirdo types as if they came from another planet. If we had enough money, we’d stop in at the old El Rocco, a subterranean cave where great jazz musicians like Don Burrows and George Golla performed regularly. Or the Sin Bin, where rugby types were prone to hang out after a tough game. In other words, King’s Cross was a place that suburbanites would go for a bit of vicarious excitement, but “wouldn’t want to live there”.

In fact, King’s Cross is not a suburb, nor even a postcode. It’s a village called Potts Point, which morphs in to even more desirable precincts such as Elizabeth Bay and Rushcutters Bay.  Recent gentrification brings with it a different demographic, a more sophisticated crowd intent on moving the market up…in style, fashion and naturally, price. A few years ago, five star restaurants were thin on the ground, but now there are many options for upscale and multi-ethnic eateries we normally associate with The Rocks, Surry Hills, Darling Harbour and the CBD.

Potts Point can now hold its own in the culinary stakes and our friends who live there claim they never have to walk further than 500 metres to choose from dozens of great places. They took us to a terrific casual restaurant with outdoor and indoor seating simply called the Fish Shop where sustainable Australian seafood is sourced fresh daily from the Sydney Fish Markets.

If you’re contemplating a few days R&R in the Harbour City, the Potts Point precinct is worth considering for a more interesting vibe away from the trafficky CBD.  Even better, you can choose accommodation in a more tranquil setting in Bayswater Road, just walking distance from the main Kings Cross area.

Rushcutters Bay is home to a stylishly refurbished Vibe Hotel which spills out over a lovely park with massive Moreton Bay fig trees and walking paths leading to the harbour… the home of the Cruising Yacht Club where the Sydney-Hobart races start. The rooftop pool area is the perfect place to take in views of the yachts in Sydney Harbour, and the sleek timber decking, cool new sun lounges and sharp black and white umbrellas set off the nautical background beautifully.

Vibe Rushcutters Bay Hotel has direct access to the park from its sunny dining terrace and veranda, called Storehouse on the Park. It’s open from breakfast until late and offers one of Sydney’s few four-legged friendly outdoor dining areas, taking doggy dining to the next level with the launch of a pooch-friendly menu. With all dishes safe for canine consumption  the menu includes watermelon chews, pawtein balls, chia and goji wafers and of course, puppyccinos!

Anna Felton, Animal Nutritionist and developer of the new doggy menu, explains how all dishes were specifically formulated for the sensitive hound bellies. “Urban Herd have joined forces with Storehouse on the Park to create a unique range of super healthy treats that contain only organic human grade ingredients with no preservatives, flavours, fillers or colours.”  Sounds good enough for humans… believe it or not, I tried… but with a Vittoria cappuccino instead!

For those of us who live in Queensland, it’s a bit much to expect to take your dog to Sydney just for lunch… although I must admit mine would leap at the chance! However, my advice would be to borrow a friendly Fido from a Sydney relative or the RSPCA just for the experience, so common in Europe but sadly rather rare in a hotel in Australia.



Tigerair offers low-cost flights to Sydney from Gold Coast or Brisbane

Phil Hawkes

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