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SYDNEY

Eating with the AU: Stockroom in InterContinental Sydney Double Bay - Double Bay (Sydney)

And so it beings. The slice of life that will be on offer at Double Bay - and Sydney's - most exciting new venue is just about ready to unleash itself upon foodies, travellers, and shoppers alike. The soon-to-be-opened InterContinental Sydney Double Bay has been a massive project, revitalising the bayside grounds, that were once the iconic Ritz Carlton, for something that balances heritage with a contemporary charm. Food is just one of the facets of the new hotel, but it's a major part of why not just those seeking accommodation have been all over the development. In addition to a third leg of Australian contemporary-Japanese gem Sake, and a new venture from North Bondi's gorgeous Shuk, there will be a unique European-style open pantry which flows into a plush restaurant area going by the name of Stockroom. I was honoured to be invited along to try the menu at Stockroom, while also being one of the first to set foot inside this luxurious hotel.

Theatre Review: Cirque du Soleil's "Totem" - The Grand Chapiteau (Big Top), Sydney (Performances Through January 2015)

Following the recent successes of Ovo and Michael Jackson The Immortal in Australia, Montreal's famed Cirque du Soleil returned to Sydney this week with their latest production Totem sitting under The Grand Chapiteau, some four years after it first premiered in Montreal. It arrives just in time for the company's 30th anniversary and from the minute the show begins it's clear what makes Cirque du Soleil the hottest ticket in town whenever it passes through, as well as what has made them international leaders in circus entertainment: a whole lotta "wow" factor, and a true beauty in their art.

Eating with the AU: Candelori's - Smithfield (Sydney)

Venture well out of the city, past Parramatta, and park yourself in the modest surroundings of Smithfield because there's a revitalised Italian restaurant here that is well worth any trip. Candelori's in the western suburb of Smithfield has had a complete makeover after over a decade of establishing itself as a hidden gem amongst lovers of authentic Italian cuisine Sydney-wide. Even better is that makeover has come from DS17, the folk behind the gorgeous fit outs for Alpha Restaurant and China Republic. The result is simply stunning, delivering a feeling of elegance as soon as you open that absurdly massive, heavy door that is slightly hidden in an alcove.

Eating with the AU: KB Hotel Re-Launches as "Keg & Brew" - Surry Hills (Sydney)

Earlier this month, the classic KB Hotel on Foveaux Street in Surry Hills - which had become run down to say the least, Sydney institution or not - re-opened as the "Keg & Brew". Though heritage pieces of the pub remain, the warm, homely feel has certainly re-energised the venue, with cowhide, brown leather and taxidermy filling out the space. But it's the selection of 33 craft beers on tap - alongside a new menu inspired by Southern US cuisine - that really gets us excited.

Arts Review: Sydney "Lights the Night" for the tenth and final LTN concert - City Recital Hall (27.10.14)

The night was alight at Sydney’s City Recital Hall this evening, as the annual Light the Night concert celebrated both its tenth birthday and it’s final ever concert with an enthusiastic crowd and a stunning array of performances put on by an amazing lineup of Australian talent.

Festival Review: The Blurst of Times - The Factory Theatre, Sydney (25.10.14)

Guitars and subverted Simpsons t-shirts ruled Blurst of Times' Sydney debut. Its debut went off without a major hitch, even with some last minute timetable shuffling to adjust to. With The Factory Theatre proving to be a perfect space for the event, triumphing over the aural assault that marred OutsideIn last year. This was accomplished without actually putting the Factory Theatre stage to use, utilizing the smaller Fusebox and Factory Floor stages, and the smart move of setting up a main stage outside. Pushing revelries out in to the open air and giving itself a true festival atmosphere.

F&L Guide: Halloween 2014 in Sydney

Most venues in Sydney are hip to how much people adore Halloween, and so there is a great deal of celebration that will be going on this weekend with specials packages, curated parties, and more to assist those that are opting for something a bit more bigger than a house party. The holiday's original purpose is sadly overshadowed by the popularity of dressing up and getting drunk, but the positive side is that the event allows people to show off their creativity (or lack thereof) and competitiveness (winning "best dressed" means so much more when it's for Halloween). Here's a few event going on around Sydney to help you express that inner beast, in addition to some quick and easy recipes for those hosting house parties.

Photo Gallery: The Blurst of Times Festival - Factory Theatre, Sydney (25.10.14)

The Blurst of Times Festival concluded its East Coast run on Saturday night in Sydney, with three stages blursting with incredible music from around the country. Larry and Oliver Heath were there for some of the day and brings you these photos to relive the little memories you probably have of the day. There was a blurst amount of beer and Sailor Jerry to be had by all. See Bloods, Chicks Who Love Guns, Velociraptor, Spod and many more...

Party with the AU: Ippudo Central Park Launch - Chippendale (Sydney)

Internationally renowned ramen restaurant Ippudo has decided to expand from it's sole Sydney location in Westfield CBD and pop-up with a second venture in the progressively impressive surrounds of Central Park, Sydney's shiniest food, art, and retail hub. Located in Central Park's outdoor dining district, opposite Ribs & Burgers, stands a venue that looks and feels completely different from it's Westfield brethren.

Just For Laughs Comedy Review: Hannah Gadsby "The Exhibitionist" - Sydney Opera House (18.10.14)

Awkwardly introducing herself to the audience, Hannah Gadsby isn’t your regular stage-hogging comedian. Which is ironic, considering the personal nature of this show. Largely an interactive PowerPoint presentation, Gadsby uses home photographs to show just exactly how awkward her teen years were, exposing her insecurities (and various haircuts) before getting to her Art Historian roots. As a graduate from ANU on the subject, she shows us some of her favourite 16th century portraits while poignantly pointing out exactly just how ridiculous they are.

Live Review: Bluejuice + Deep Sea Arcade - The Metro Theatre, Sydney (24.10.14)

They are one of Australia’s most loved and lauded live acts and sadly, they are calling it quits. Those crazy cats from Bluejuice have decided it’s time to hang up the ridiculous home-made costumes and move on to new projects and lives. In the span of 13 years of touring, if you hadn’t seen them play at least once, be it at one of their own insanely wild headline shows or on a huge summer festival bill, you truly did miss out on seeing something spectacular.

F&L News: Luna Park teams up with Wicked The Musical to offer Fine Dining on the Ferris Wheel

Occasionally the beautifully located Luna Park will offer Sydney something a bit different than your usual basket of cotton candy, carnival games, and the city's iconic Ferries Wheel. This coming week, that bit of difference comes in the form of a unique fine dining experience in partnership with Wicked The Musical; an experience which will take place while guests ride said Ferris Wheel.

Drinking with the AU: Asahi Super Dry Extra Cold Bar - CBD (Sydney)

Over the last few weeks an impressive list of bars, pubs and restaurants have opened their doors in celebration of the warmer months and imminent silly season, and Japanese beer brand Asahi is the latest to get in on the action with the launch of its very first Australian pop-up – the Asahi Super Dry Extra Cold Bar – in the city’s CBD.

Live Review: Elbow - Sydney Opera House (25.10.14)

Returning to Australia this week for their first tour here since 2012 (where they were supported by Bombay Bicycle Club), Manchurians Elbow filled up the Sydney Opera House last night for the first of two shows at the venue which even Guy Garvey couldn't help but admit was "iconic". But as the show went on, and they brought the venue to its feet, you could see on their faces that they were being more than humble, for this would be a night that the band - nor their audience - would not soon forget.

Photo Gallery: The Church - Oxford Art Factory (25.10.14)

The Church launched their new album Further / Deeper with an intimate performance at the Oxford Art Factory in Sydney last night. Pete Dovgan brings us these photos from the show: