Thursday, 19 July 2018

Sydney - Food and Friends and last day - Day 5 and 6

My husband had booked a table for 10 at Casa do Benfica Portuguese Restaurant in the suburb of Marrickville (Sydney), an unassuming restaurant in the hall of the  Marrickville tennis club. It seems to be a meeting spot for the Portuguese community, sports people and the local residents who know where to get good food 😋😋. 
So on Sunday 17th June we left home early under the watchful eyes of the neighbour's cat to catch a bus into the city and then a train to Petersham.
Sydney trains are double-decker unlike the Perth ones and their seats are interesting in that they can be turned to face either way depending which way the train is going.

The neighbour's cat watches us, the double decker train and the Marrickville tennis club

We arrived earlier than we needed to, so we had time to stop for a coffee and a Berliner with custard for Jose and a hot chocolate and Portuguese custard tart for myself at the Sweet Belem bakery. Before we left we bought 3 Broas (corn and rye bread loaves) which I love and which I brought to Perth, I already had clients for 2 of them...

Sweet Belem cake shop/cafe, our coffee and hot chocolate and cakes, the Broa (bread) on top of counter

After our pit-stop we caught another bus just around the corner to Marrickville.
As we alighted I saw an interesting market on the side - the Marrickville Organic market at Addison Road.
We meandered through the very interesting market where you could find old books, funky clothing, plants, organic fruit and vegetables, honey, fresh seafood, and there were lots of food stands, tarot reading tent and even mini ponies for kids to ride.

Marrickville organic market
Marrickville organic market. An automated recycling station for bottles and cans which I had never seen before

After leaving the market, with the help of GPS on Jose's mobile, we walked for about 10 minutes until we arrived at the Tennis Club where the restaurant was. On the way were some good looking cute Victorian cottages. 

Victorian terrace houses in Marrickville
We were the first to arrive at the restaurant close to midday, and it was packed with a crowd of elder Spaniards having some kind of celebration, eating to the sound of danceable Spanish music.
Glad our table had been booked as there weren't many tables available, not for 10 people anyway.
I ate baked codfish with potatoes and ended the meal with the sweet Molotoff pudding made with egg whites and caramel sauce.
At the end of our meal, my friend and I still joined some Spanish couples and danced a couple of dances. And believe or not we only left the restaurant at 5,30!! 
One of the guys offered to drive us home which was nice.

Codfish with potatoes, Molotoff pudding, bread, butter and olives, our table and the Spanish crowd

My flight back to Perth was at 5,30pm on Monday 18th June, so I had plenty of time to still do something in Sydney during the day.
In the morning I packed my carry-on suitcase and caught the bus into the city centre.
At the Circular Quay station I asked if they had a storage facility so I could leave my suitcase and walk around unhindered. The lady at the Opal Travel kiosk indicated one across the Passenger Terminal not too far away. For the sum of $9 I left my bag at the Smarte Carte baggage storage, and was asked to pick it up by 4pm.

I walked around the Rocks area - the touristic and historic area established shortly after the colony's formation in 1788 and one of Sydney's most interesting areas in my opinion.
I walked through the Argyle Cut tunnel that gives access to Darling Harbour and Millers Point to climb Observation Hill on the other side of the tunnel and visit Sydney's Observatory. On the other side of the tunnel was Garrison Church, the first military church built in colonial Australia, with the first service in 1844.
A film crew with their big vans parked around the corner was all over the Church's entrance, so I didn't go in.

I climbed Observatory Hill and was surprised at the 180 degree million dollar views from the park over Sydney Harbour and Sydney bridge and Luna Park in Milson's Point. There's also a bandstand and a lot of public art.

Around the corner is the Sydney Observatory built in 1858, serving as a public observatory and a museum with free entry.The central tower features a time ball which signalled the time to ships and to the General Post office in Martin Place, and it's still raised to the top of its post and dropped at 1pm every day. 
There was an exhibition with old photos of some of Sydney's areas and another about the ravages that the weather can wreck with heavy rains that can cause floods, or heat waves that can melt candles like a surrealist painting. 
Sydney Observatory. The time ball is at the bottom of the tower
Before and after photos of Sydney and the Ravages of the weather

When I left the Observatory it had started to rain and I had to rush back to the luggage storage depot.
Under the Argyle Cut bridge there was a bridal couple taking cover from the rain with their photographer.
I picked my bag, walked to Circular Quay station and caught the train to the Domestic Airport, arriving about one a half hours before my flight time, so I sat down and read a book I had taken to read and hadn't read.

Sydney Bridge, The Argyle cut and the bridal couple taking cover from the rain
On the 4,30 hour flight I watched "The Post" a film with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, which I enjoyed and then a few episodes of a TV series "The Bold type", light, funny and could be addictive watching.
And so ended my 5 day stay in Sydney.

Casa do Benfica1 Centennial Street, Marrickville, Ph: (02) 9569 8058

Hours: Wed to Sat 11am–3pm, 6pm–9pm, Sun to Tue 12am–3pm
Baggage Storage by Smarte Carte, Shop 43, 1/3 Hickson Rd, The Rocks NSW 2000, Ph: (02) 9247 1709.


  1. The cat made me smile :-) And turnable seats is a great idea.
    I like the Victorian style very much.
    "Molotoff pudding"?" I only know a handmade exploding bomb called "Molotoff cocktail" that soccer hooligans use!
    05:30, by golly, you got a fab condition then :-)
    The view from the hill is awesome. I saw really not a thing of Sydney back then!
    So... thanks for "the update"!

    1. The cat is funny, there are two of them and if they are in the balcony they will look down through the fence and Jose will "chat" to them.
      Oh yes I know the Molotoff cocktail too, not sure why the pudding is called that. I had actually never heard of the Observatory before but was searching the tourist map to see what I could do that was close to the station and that was it. Glad I climbed the hill as it was a nice spot.

  2. The church and the observatory stand out beautifully!

    The neighbour's cat is a cutie-pie.

  3. That's a neat little bakery

    1. Thanks Adam, delicious cakes I wish I could eat a few more, lol.

  4. Loved the cat. Enjoyed the view of the train, since I've never been on one.

    Goodness, that was one incredible bakery and I couldn't believe you ate before you were to eat (grin).

    I enjoyed the view from Observatory Hill and found the Sydney Observatory compelling. I would love to spend time there.

    One thing I might add, although I haven't seen it, I believe the male lead was played by Tom Hanks, not Tom Cruise.

    1. Never been on a train, that's amazing Elizabeth. It's the best way to travel if you want to relax.
      I know, it was about 10,30 and we really had no need to eat, but why not have cake when you can have it?
      You are quite right on the Tom Cruise, it should be Tom Hanks, thanks for spotting the mistake :) Hope you're feeling better.

    2. Would you believe I live in the largest city in the state and we don't have a train station here? To catch a train, I would have to drive about 40 miles north of here, and then the train only stops at very specific towns along each route. We have an Amtrak train that runs from the northeast to the southwest, and one that runs from north to south. Other than that, our train system SUCKS. Nobody uses them as passenger trains anymore. Our trains mainly carry cargo.

      Since you can't seem to be able to save the mural to Pinterest, I will share it next Monday on your mural blog post. Not sure if that will help, but it's the best I can offer.

    3. thanks for getting back Elizabeth. That's sad about the train system, here it's used a lot. That would be great, please do share it on Monday :)

  5. My hubby and I spent three days in Sydney at the end of my last overseas trip. We loved it, what a diverse city. We also rode buses, ferries trains, and walked for miles, and i see there there is still a lot we didn't see. That bread sounds amazing.

    1. Thanks and welcome back Gill. I also find new things to see every time I visit Sydney, there is a lot to discover.
      The corn bread is nice, and I don't usually eat bread, but I like this one. Even when it goes hard you can toast it and with some butter it's yummi.

  6. I think the observatory is little hidden gem in Sydney, and I was very impressed when I saw it. You certainly managed to pack a lot into your few days. Home to take a rest.

    1. Thanks Andrew, I don't think I had ever noticed there was an Observatory in such a prominent place, and I've visited Sydney about 6 times already! I'm sure there's still lots to discover.
      Yes, home to rest :)

  7. Esta cidade encanta-me e apaixonou a minha filha Mariana que quer ir estudar para lá.

    1. Obrigada Pedro, e uma cidade bonita e muito diversa.

  8. Fabuloso! Gostaste do mercado em Marrickville, "Organic Market"? Não conheço este, pois já fui a outros mercados neste espaço. Tenho de lá ir. Este domingo fui ao de Vegan em Waterloo e gostei imenso. Fantástico filme descrito.

    1. Obrigada Bebe e obrigada pela companhia no almoco na Casa do Benfica.

  9. Um belo passei e num restaurante português nunca pode faltar o bacalhau e os pastéis de nata.
    Um abraço e continuação de boa semana.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
    O prazer dos livros

    1. O bacalhau nao faltou Francisco, mas nao tinham pasteis de Nata. Disseram que costumavam encomendar e nao vendiam o suficiente por isso descontinuaram, mas por sorte eu ja tinha comido um na Pastelaria Belem.

  10. You made the best of your visit to Sydney I see.

    1. I tried my best Marianne, always on the run :)

  11. I can honestly say you saw more of Sydney in your five days Sami than I have in over seven years ☺ I have enjoyed seeing places that I do know here though, merci beaucoup!

    1. Thanks Grace, glad you're seeing new things here.

  12. Dearest Sami,
    Wow, you made very good use of your 5-day stay in Sydney. It was better for you to run through the rain than for the bridal couple... Always sad when the big day gets kind of spoiled by not being able to have the light for good photos.
    The very first time that I came to Australia, our mushroom friends also took us to the Rocks area and we learned that they did not preserve enough from those early days... Sad that oftentimes, history slips away.
    Your food adventure sounds like a good one and bringing back special bread is worth it; also for friends.

    1. The Rocks area is special, a pity that there aren't too many old buildings left. That corn bread is always appreciated back in Perth. I slice mine and freeze, so it lasts for ages.

  13. I like the idea of a double decker train. And oh, that pastry shop looks delicious.

    What I really love about this is that you are making the most of your time in Sydney. You've seen a lot and I know it will be an unforgettable holiday!

    1. Thanks Jeanie, with my husband working there at the moment, I have the opportunity of going there instead of being him coming home all the time, and I can get to know the city better.


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