Francesca Millena

Enthralled by travel, good food, interesting venues and cool design

Writer

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FOOD & VENUE REVIEWS

Concrete Playground
12/06/2017
Eight Sydney Activities That Are Fun for Both Kidults and Their Actual Children

in partnership with Some see the arrival of children in their lives as the time they transition into maturity. This is not the article for those people. Jumping on trampolines, climbing obstacle courses, patting baby animals, learning new facts about Egyptian mummies - these are some of our favourite things to do, so it's fortunate that the kids enjoy them as well.

Concrete Playground
08/25/2017
How to Order the Perfect Beer When You're Eating at Sydney's Best Restaurants

in partnership with We're a nation of laid back folk. Some of us can get away with wearing thongs to work, boardies and bathers are a Monday-to-Friday staple for others, and words longer than two syllables don't have a place in our vocab (arvo, bev, sanga - sounds like a good day to us).

Concrete Playground
Mrs Mi

Like a Kardashian pregnancy post, one food trend has had Sydneysiders in a frenzy this year: Chinese dumplings. At Mrs Mi you'll get them in abundance but with a tangy Shanxi flavour and the silkiest noodles north of Chinatown courtesy of a robotic chef. Confused? Don't be.

Concrete Playground
La Puerta

A saucy Latin number called La Puerta has come to stake her claim on Neutral Bay's dining scene. And what an entrance she's made. Just a salsa step from Military Road, a striking mural of two tango dancers in a semi-erotic embrace offers a foretaste of the culinary dance this family-run diner will weave.

Concreteplayground
06/03/2014
Firefly Bar, Neutral Bay

If the buzz of diners spilling from Firefly's wrought iron tables onto Grosvenor and Young Streets doesn't beckon you in, or the cosy booths made for couples to canoodle fails to tempt, at least let the man with the dapper 'tache suggest a cocktail or vino to get you started.

Concrete Playground
03/20/2014
Entwine Bar & Restaurant Neutral Bay

Neutral Bay is having a moment. A delicious one. And Entwine Bar and Restaurant is just the place to savour the North Shore's turn in the culinary sun.

Concreteplayground
01/16/2014
Lorenzo's Crows Nest

Once the darling of the culinary set, Italian bistros have gone the way of the roller-coaster: exciting at first, then predictable, later only endured at kitschy, touristy locales. Lorenzo's in Crows Nest, however, is refreshingly different. This is a diner that knows what Italians do best and isn't afraid to remind us why we fell in love with Italian fare in the first place: classic, unpretentious food, teamed with impeccable service.

Concreteplayground
01/23/2014
Donny's Bar Manly

Once synonymous with backpackers, ferry rides and the type of seaside fare stuck in an '80s time warp, Manly has suddenly come over all hip and heady. From Merivale's South American-inspired wharf cantina to the profusion of small bars and diners that have mushroomed overnight, Manly is fast shedding its 'insular peninsula' image to become Sydney’s hang-out du jour. Donny’s Bar is the latest addition to the growing culinary set, but chalk it off as just another small bar riding the northern...

Concrete Playground
08/08/2013
Restaurant review: La Mesa

Quintessential Filipino flavours and a bright dining space that evokes the colonial charm of yesteryear Manila.

Concrete Playground
05/21/2013
Bar review: Old Growler Woolloomoolloo

Old Growler's signage is so discreet you'd barley notice if it weren't fronted by a bouncer. Down a flight of steps, Old Growler quietly unfurls itself as a moody beer-inspired basement bar cosy enough to feel like your local.

Concrete Playground
05/15/2013
Restaurant review: Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel

Miami beach deco meets Hamptons seaside chic at the newly revamped Beach Club and Bar at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel where the hotel's flamingo-pink logo, silhouetted with palm trees, sets the tone for the bar's tongue-in-cheek styling. Inside wood-panelled walls give way to a striking mural of palm fronds, giant rope spools double as bar-style tables and chirpy waitresses decked out in striped boat-necks and crisp cotton skirts complete the look.

Concrete Playground
12/02/2013
Master Espresso Roseville

Step inside Master Espresso at the site of the old train master's hut in Roseville and you'd be forgiven if you wandered whether or not you had walked into the right place.

Concrete Playground
02/12/2013
Cafe review: Cafe 1812

Just picked up a book, can't wait to read it, and in search of the perfect armchair? Having recently celebrated their bicentenary, the folks at Berkelouw in Paddington are proving that book selling is far from a dying art with the launch of Cafe 1812 — a cosy cafe, chic wine bar, and bookstore all rolled into one.

FEATURE ARTICLES

Concrete Playground
04/09/2015
How to Really Eat Local

Eating locally is having a moment. Or maybe a movement. It seems like everyone from writer turned farmer Matt Evans to comedian Adam Hills is advocating the joys of eating local. By eating local we're talking about eating foods sourced within a certain geographic region - ideally one that doesn't rack up 70,000 kilometres of travel to get to you.

Concrete Playground
08/05/2013
Top 10 Best Thai Restaurants

It's official: Pad Thai has replaced pizza as Sydneysiders go-to dish of choice. As our culinary tastes reorient to the East, Concrete Playground explores some of Sydney's best Thai eateries, from the stalwarts to the style-setters and everything in between.

At The Festival
05/25/2013
Viewing the challenges to free speech

Broadcaster, writer, commentator and lawyer Waleed Aly focuses on the discourse of power and its fundamental relationship to free speech in his Free Voices lecture, ‘Free Speech, Power and Vilification’. He says the key function of free speech is the ability to hold power to account and to uphold the right of the powerless to speak their mind in the face of the powerful.

Concrete Playground
05/03/2013
What happens to funny shaped vegetables?

Imagine carrying home five grocery bags heaving with fresh, shiny fruits and vegetables, then picking up one bag, walking to the bin, and throwing it in. Startling isn't it? That's exactly what the average Aussie household discards on a regular basis — one out of every five bags of grocery we buy — and it's contributing to the 800,000 tonnes of food thrown out by Australian householders each year.

At The Festival
05/25/2013
Behind the pages, between the lines

Some have described the process as gruelling, others call it an eye-opener, whilst some say it’s a nurturing experience. The annual UTS Writers’ Anthology, one of Australia’s longest running university published collections, elicits diverse opinions from those whose works have been featured in it, as well as those who have toiled worked behind the scenes to bring the compendium to fruition. But on one point both anthology writers and editors agree: they wouldn’t swap a minute of it for the...

Concrete Playground
02/05/2013
Cocktail Masterclass: Perrier Summer Punch

The grassy headland fringing the delightful blue waters of Bronte, with tribes of surfers bobbing on the waves and tanned sunbathers lining the beach, is the perfect setting for Perrier mixologist Tomas Vikario to re-create summer’s best cocktail for sharing: The Perrier Summer Punch

ARTS & DESIGN

No Cure Magazine
01/20/2013
Interview: The Couto Brothers

Sibling creativity hits a new high with the couto brothers - two artists, both brothers, with a penchant for pop culture and eye popping designs.

Events & Culture

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