First the bad news

February 2009

Anyone travelling down Glebe Point Road in the past 18 months or so would have thought they were in a battle zone while the City of Sydney council has been doing a major refurb — ripping out power poles, replacing them with “smart poles” (smart enough to hang advertisements on them) and putting electricity wires underground. It’s been tough on local businesses, which have had to keep going from behind barriers and wire fences, making it very difficult for customers to access them, and impossible for parking.

As the finishing touches are — finally — being put on the road surface, a couple of restaurant casualties have surfaced. First, on the corner of Broadway and Glebe Point Road, Cucina di Lusso’s owner Rob Fairall has posted a rather angry sign in the window apologising for the “regrettable decision to close” and blaming what he called the “demolition job on the precinct”. Further down the road, Aurelio Spagnuolo's much-loved Osteria dei  Poeti has also shut shop. In a recent discussion with Aurelio, he told me business had been very tough since the roadworks, with around 60 per cent downturn in his business since they started. Too tough, it seems. We’ll keep you posted on Aurelio’s next outing (which won’t happen soon, he says). Not sure whether Cucina di Lusso will be back in business, though they tell us their wine business in the Hunter “continues in good shape”.

Yet another old favourite gone. Swordfish has moved out of the South  Sydney Junior Leagues Club around Christmas and the Cipri family (chef Carmelo, managers Joe and Anthony) are now looking for a new home for their sensational seafood-centric Italian cuisine. It never was a comfortable fit and the family is generally happy to be out, but we hope they find somewhere more suitable soon. Personally, I never minded the club décor  and I’ll miss the long Sunday lunches with a simple order to the kitchen: bring food, bring wine. We’re also sad to see the demise of Neutral Bay’s Bistro Paris.

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