DAY OFF in SYDNEY with MITCH ORR
We think a lot of the people we hang out with. So much, in fact, we’re curious what they’re up to even when we’re apart. That’s why we asked. Meet Day Off, a new, regular-ish series exploring the lives of the people we know in the cities we love.
First up is Mitch Orr. Mitch is a devilishly talented chef with a mullet as impressive as his résumé. He heads up Kiln, the restaurant atop Ace Hotel Sydney, which has earned numerous awards and nods before even turning one. Prior to all that, Mitch cut his culinary teeth in pubs and later Sydney kitchens including Pilu at Freshwater, Sepia and his very own ACME. He’s been on Vice’s “Chefs Night Out,” two seasons of “MasterChef Australia” and a bunch of episodes of SBS’s “The Cook Up with Adam Liaw.” Privately, he’s passionate about the ocean but hates the sand. More on all that, plus his favorite egg in Sydney, below.
Depending on the weather, I’m either at the gym in Marrickville or practicing yoga. I’ve never really been an early riser, but I broke my clavicle and injured my shoulder pretty badly a few months ago in a cycling accident. (I hit a car at 35km/ph.) Nowadays, I try to get out of the house by 7am to exercise so I can heal my body and build back my strength. During summertime in Sydney, getting up early also means I get to make the most of my day off during the most beautiful time of year.
After working out, it’s typically breakfast at Room 10 in Potts Point where I usually order soft-boiled eggs and avocado on toast and their Super Tea. It’s the best cafe in Sydney with the best of everything. I have never had an egg that wasn’t perfectly cooked there.
At about 10:30am it’s time to hit the water. I’ve always loved the ocean, but I hate sand, so it’s off to Bondi for a swim in the ocean pool at Icebergs. It’s really the perfect setup for me. I can swim laps in the pool, and at the far corner of the pool I can climb down into the ocean and body surf the waves breaking over the reef. All the while, I’m sand-free. Icebergs has showers too, so I can freshen up which makes it perfect for a pre-work dip. Icebergs is one the most iconic and most-visited pools in the world, so it’s always a scene there, even in the morning. It’s a fun time.
If I decide to stick around Bondi for lunch, I’m at Savion where they’ve been serving up incredible Jewish food for years. (Bondi’s long been an exclave for Australia’s Jewish community.) My order’s the same every time: falafel pita, hummus, fried eggplant and tabbouleh. If it’s a rainy day, or I’ve left Bondi early, my other go-to lunch spot is Kurumac, this lovely Japanese cafe in Marrickville. They always have such great food and energy. I usually go for the Noriben Lunch Bowl which comes with fried whiting, pickles and nori.
If it’s still a cracking day I might swing by Bronte for a couple hours to frolic in the waves. The ocean is so restorative. I try to get into the water as often as I can. I can feel my mood shifting if I haven’t been swimming for a few days. Potentially I might go for a cycle in the afternoon in Centennial Park if it’s cooled down, or I’ll head home to do some housework/nap/catch up on TV.
The evening’s really dependent on both mood and weather. Maybe it’s back to the beach to eat by the water. At Charcoal Fish I usually go for a beautifully grilled oily fish – a mullet or a mackerel – butterflied and served whole with some vegetables on the side, and maybe some school prawns. The best fish burger is from Out of the Blue, and that’s a whole mood all unto itself.
I love going to the cinema on a rainy evening. Usually this comes after a quick dinner of dumplings and hand-pulled noodles at Chinese Noodle House in Chinatown. Or perhaps it’s visiting one of my friend’s restaurants for a bite, a catchup and a good time, before heading home to laze on the couch watching “The Last of Us” with a cup of tea.
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