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Acclaimed Sydney-based chef Neil Perry recently shared his insider travel tips with Smith. Now, to mark the launch of his new book Easy Weekends (Murdoch Books, AU$50), he spills the beans on his favourite spots to eat, drink and play at home and away, opening up the pages of his little black book.

Rockpool in the Sky: Die-hard Neil Perry fans will want to make sure they fly Qantas – it is his menu that international First and Business class  passengers get to choose from.

But first, what’s Neil’s idea of an easy weekend? ‘Simply being at home – I live in Rose Bay in Sydney, and we have a view straight down the harbour to the Bridge and Opera House. On perfect Sundays, the boats cruise across the water and I love cooking a relaxed lunch for friends on the barbecue and just sitting back lapping it all up.’ With so much time spent globetrotting for work, though, Neil admits, ‘my suitcase often feels like home – which is why I love a good hotel!’


Cheung Fat is a scruffy café in Kowloon City that serves awesome Chaozhou food – go for the cold crab and fish soup.

Cheung Fat 60 Shing Nam Road, Hong Kong (+852 2383 3114)

When I’m in London I love heading to Borough Market for coffee and an inspiring wander around all the food stalls. Then I go for lunch at one of my favourite restaurants ever – The River Café. I recommend starting with a Bellini and then indulging in a tranche of turbot – I eat it every time I go.

Borough Market 8 Southwark Street, London SE1 (+44 (0)20 7407 1002)
The River Café Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, London W6 (+44 (0)20 7386 4200)

Whenever I’m travelling or working in Los Angeles, it’s got to be La Brea Bakery for breakfast pastries. For the best Mexican ever, make for Loteria Grill at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. Settle in for huevos rancheros with green chilli sauce and a jug of beer.

La Brea Bakery 624 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (+1 323 939 6813)
Loteria Grill Farmers’ Market, 6,333 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (+1 323 930 2211)

Go for the mud crab at Flower Drum in Melbourne, the best Cantonese restaurant in Australia. Simon Johnson delis are great for picking up cheese, tasty dried pastas and olive oil, with stores in Melbourne and Sydney.

Flower Drum 17 Market Lane, Melbourne, Vic 3000 (+61 (0)3 9662 3655)
Simon Johnson 12–14 St David Street, Fitzroy, Vic 3065 (+61 (0)3 9644 3630)

My ideal day in New York involves a stroll around The Metropolitan Museum of Art, a trip to Kitchen Arts & Letters to stock up on cookbooks, lunch at Mario Batali’s Eataly or Esca for razor clams or spaghetti with lobster and chilli, then dinner at the one and only Per Se by Thomas Keller (right, with Neil centre, and Sydney chef Peter Gilmore of Quay, left). There’s not a restaurant in the world that does it better in my opinion.

Eataly 200 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010 (+1 212 229 2560)
Esca 402 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036 (+1 212  564 7272)
Kitchen Arts & Letters 1,435 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10128 (+1 212 876 5550)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1,000 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10028 (+1 212 535 7710)
Per Se 4th Floor, 10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019 (+1 212 823 9335)

For the best roast chook, head for Chez Panisse, a short drive from San Francisco.

Chez Panisse 1,517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, California 94709 (+1 510 548 5525)

In San Sebastián, in northern Spain, there is a tiny pintxos (Basque tapas) bar in the old town called La Cuchara de San Telmo. Order the beef cheek. While you’re there, just out of San Sebastián in Getaria you’ll find a seafood restaurant called Kaia Kaipe for lobster, crab, langoustine and goose barnacles.

Kaia Kaipe General Arnao 4, 20808 Getaria (+34 (0)94 314 0500)
La Cuchara de San Telmo Calle 31 de Agosto 28/Corredor de San Telmo, San Sebastián (+34 (0)94 343 5446)

Coffee is always a good bet at Single Origin, a mellow café in Surry Hills. Pick up bread from Iggy’s or Victoire or satisfy all your barbecue needs at Victor Churchill. Everleigh Farmers’ Market, near Redfern Station, is a must on Saturday mornings.

Everleigh Market 243 Wilson Street, Darlington, NSW 2008 (+61 (0)2 9209 4735)
49 Belgrave Street, Bronte, NSW 2024 (+61 (02) 9369 1650)
Single Origin
54–64 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010 (+61 (0)2 9211 0665)
Victoire 660 Darling Street, Rozelle, NSW 2039 (+61 (0)2 9818 5529)
Victor Churchill 132 Queen Street, Woollahra, NSW 2025 (+61 (0)2 9328 0402)

*Copy compiled by Carrie Hutchinson

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