How are you spending the last weekend of November? If the answer isn’t ‘investing my Christmas bonus in the phenomenal tastes of the James Street Food and Wine Trail’, you need to check yourself kid. The three day festival is back from July 30-August 1, bigger and better than ever. Showcasing the precinct’s award-winning restaurateurs, chefs, venues and providers, there’s almost too much to see and do.
You can warm up and start stretching that stomach (it’s an art, okay?) on Thursday night with gnocchi and pesto making master classes, Thai cooking classes and accompanying wine. Or, if you’re feeling a little philanthropic, Friday night’s Soup Kitchen will feature delicious soups by Bucci, Gerard’s Bistroand Chow House. Warm yourself from inside out next to a fire, with all proceeds going to OzHarvest food rescue.
While that all sounds delicious, it’s the Saturday culmination of the James Street Food and Wine Trail that is truly worth the wait. With so much to see and eat, we’ve narrowed our picks down to 5, to make sure you get the best of the fest.
If you rolled home from last year’s party, you’ll know to be first in line for Gerard’s Bistro’s locally sourced, roasted suckling pigs with Lebanese style ‘slaw.’ We highly recommend demolishing the evidence of your 5th plate with a cocktail from the Mojito Embassy right next door.
#2. Signature Series
For only $30 a pop, get ready to sample some of the signature flavours of James Street, with drink matches made by the gods (or chefs, as they’re more commonly known). With dishes from the likes of Chow House, Gerard’s Bar, Cru Bar, Bucci Restaurant, King Arthur Café and more, you may need to plan your stomach space by checking out the menus.
#3. The Urban Picnic
Our long time trail favourite, this year’s Urban Picnic is set to be more rollicking than ever. Featuring lip-smacking flavours from James Street’s foodie favourites and jazzy beats, the picnic could only be improved by Stone & Wood brews, Aperol Spritzes, and Pimm’s pop up bars.
A picnic’s worth of Stone & Wood isn’t enough for you? Hit up Harvey’s Beer Garden to line your stomach with Tinderbox’s delicious wood-fired pizza before you get back to the ale.
If you missed Thursday night’s cooking classes, this is your chance to learn how to make it in the big leagues (or just eat the deliciousness of the big leagues). Learn from Ben Williamson of Gerard’s, Timmy Kemp of Chow House and John Meredith of the James St Cooking School.
However, if crowds don’t excite you, you can even just sit back and watch the hustle and bustle from behind a burger and beer at At Sixes and Sevens.
So drop the kids off at Urban Kitchen’s Kids Camp (with an unsuspecting grandparent) and get ready to make another baby (food baby, that is) with all the delights of the James Street Food and Wine Trail.
Words by Rebecca Grady