CHATSWOOD :: SYDNEY :: NEW SOUTH WALES
CHATSWOOD IS NOT A CITY I ENDED UP AT BY CHOICE, BUT AS USUAL I AM GLAD I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK AND LIVE THERE, AS PART OF MY GENERAL SYDNEY EXPERIENCE. Chatswood has long been a centre of Chinese culture on the North Shore -- a "Chinatown of the 'burbs" as Tasted by Two remarked. With all its high rise apartments and runaway affluence, I preferred to think of it as a little Hong Kong. Fittingly enough, I had a Hong Kong Chinese girlfriend for the first six weeks I lived in Chatswood (actually it was down the Pacific Highway at Greenwich), just across the road from the Royal North Shore Hospital. At that time, six weeks was about the limit to which I could maintain relationships, before they collapsed into acrimony. I have come a long way since then. Sometime in the second half of 1997 I was transferred from my comfortable little hamster's hole in Bankstown to the hurried and harried offices of the North Shore Times, in Chatswood. It was a busy place there to be sure, and the phone never stopped ringing. I had a lot of trivial and sometimes crappy assignments, basically all the jobs nobody else wanted to do. Strangely enough, one of them was writing the dining review. One particularly lucky days I would get two free meals a day at North Shore restaurants. That was back in the 1900s, and things are probably even more upmarket these days. Chatswood Railway Station, for example, has got itself an upgrade, as has St Leonards Station to the south. There are still loads of Chinese around, barbeque meats in the Korean restaurants in the mall, and Japanese waitresses giving you an "Irasshaimase!" as you enter their establishments.
So on to the goodies and where to find them. Later I will tell you about my Newtown date with the amazing A. back in the Nostradamian year of 1999!
Glow Girl: 208 Australia St, Newtown. Phone: 02/9519 3101.
The ad claims: "Imagine... a massage followed by another massage, a facial, some lunch, some wine maybe, a waxing, a pedicure, a manicure..."
This place is open late evenings and offers a complimentary skin analysis.
AS SHOPPING HUB OF THE NORTH SHORE, CHATSWOOD IS CLASSIC COUNTRY ROAD TERRITORY. Here is a selection of some of the clothing stores in the suburb:
The Kastle: 131 Abercrombie St, Chippendale. Phone: 02/9690/1150.
In a media saturated with imagery I sometimes wonder what desire looked like before we were exposed to porn... the assumption being that pornography always leads to S&M? Can you remember your earliest fantasies... they were undoubtedly less hardcore than your pornconditioned fantasies now? Unless you have an exceptionally strong moral foundation... or you're a feminist. But if you don't have and you aren't, and if you have been infiltrated by fetishism to some degree by all the pornware out there (and to be honest everyone is a fetishist these days, as much as they would like to deny it), then you might find yourself someday at a place like the Kastle. I visited this Newtown institution at the end of 1993 when I was studying at CSU Mitchell in Bathurst and living in a share house with Meat Pie director Garnet Mae (the movie about a guy with a thing for kitchen appliances, who gets a penis transplant), The beginning of his descent. Then I saw a man and two women engaged in a threeway kiss, and I knew that a new festish in my mind was born. The holy trinity: two girls and a guy. An act more recently made famous by the photographer Wyatt Gallery, and Miss Japan 2008 and Miss Trinidad/Tobagos. They have lived the fantasy... I have not (not yet!)
Bank Hotel: Newtown.
Jess had the following piece of advice for those looking to pick up at the Bank Hotel: don't.
"Unless you are a very butch lesbian, don't bother with the Bank Hotel in Newtown! Definitely pass through there on your way to Suma Lee Thai which is downstairs - it's AMAZING (albeit expensive)."
Botany View Hotel: 597 King St, Newtown. Phone: 02/9519 4501.
Coopers Arms Hotel: 221 King St, Newtown. Phone: 02/9550 3461.
The Sandringham Hotel: Newtown.
CHATSWOOD WAS ONE OF THE FEW PLACES AND TIMES IN MY LIFE WHERE I WORKED AS A FOOD REVIEWER -- THAT IS TO SAY, REVIEWING FOOD WAS PART OF MY JOB. The other reporters at the North Shore Times must have seen reviewing food as a menial task -- what fools were they! The places I reviewed ranged from French and Swiss bistros to Korean barbeques and Chinese takeaways. Somewhere along the way there was a Mongolian hotpot. African Feeling: 501 King St, Newtown. Phone: 02/9516 3130.
put it in your mouth (aka Melissa Leong from FBI Radio fame) said of this place: "Chef Hudu Alhassan may originally hail from Ghana, but his little slice of Africa in Newtown is just about one of the best places to go on safari in Sydney. Taking cues from all over his home continent, you can expect to experience distinct flavours from plantain chips from Nigeria, Bua; tender goat curry from Ghana and Yai Machuzi - boiled eggs rolled in chicken mince, coated in bread crumbs and spices - kind of like an African scotch egg..."
Mary's Malaysian: Asian food court, Mandarin Centre.
C1 Brasserie: (Modern Australian)
SHOPPING FOR NIKE
Enmore Theatre: 52 Enmore Rd, Newtown. Phone: 02/9550 3666.
Without a doubt this is Sydney's leading concert venue, hosting in recent times the incredible Franz Ferdinand, the legendary old school Bangles, and so on, and on. If the Arctic Monkeys played there one day I would be really impressed. For more information and booking details go to the website at http://www.enmoretheatre.com.au.
Newtown Theatre: Corner Bray St and King St, Newtown.
Sidetrack Studio Theatre: 122 Addison Rd, Marrickville. Phone: 02/9294 4655.