Pies & Pashing on Car Hoods make way for Chinwags at Lo Lounge
Who doesn’t have a delinquent story of their youth? Smoking, underage drinking, and wagging school. But what gets the nostalgic string harping is retracing the footsteps of your teenage stomping grounds. We didn’t even know it was called Woolloomooloo or Finger Wharf back when we were in high school. We used to just say we’re going for hot dogs and jump in our cars and head over to Harry de Wheels. Apart from the fact the food truck serves up Sydney’s best pies and hot dogs, it’s actually the only place to grab a bite after 2am.
Sitting on the hood of your car while scoffing down steaming hot pie gets a bit boring, and me and my then boyfriend – what’s his name? Timmy? Neil? – anyhow, the guy in the blue WRX would take a stroll along the wharf right next to where Harry’s is permanently parked for a bit of a pash (for the unfamiliar: it means some good old making out).
For a public wharf it’s real posh, so much so we’d be extra careful not to drop our food anywhere, and we’d ogle at yachts with cheeky names like ‘Excalibur’ and ‘My Garage’. Oh well… no-one said money can buy you any smarts.
Us Sydney-siders sometimes forget what a weird area the wharf must be for the unfamiliar, fenced by the large park area and popular stage for open-air concerts – otherwise known as the Domain, red-light district Kings Cross and old suburb Potts Point. With this mix of class, heritage and just a little bit of seediness, you’d find Woolloomooloo accessible to a real grabbag of notable Sydney landmarks such as the Andrew Boy Charlton Pool, Garden Island Naval Base and the Matthew Talbot Hostel, one of the largest refuges for homeless men in the world.
Things sure have changed, with its centennial anniversary celebrated, the timber wharf now converted into Sydney’s most stylish residence with some of the city’s most upscale restaurants: China Doll, Manta, Otto and Kingsleys all of which feature views of the Domain and shows off the gorgeous skyline. The latest addition to the lineup includes Ovolo Woolloomooloo.
Taking over the spot where Blue Hotel used to be, Ovolo has given the place a total facelift. It’s stuffed to the brim with contemporary and cool art, the construction has left many of the original wharf intact, keeping all the fixtures of historical wharf. The restaurants along the wharf has a reputation more or less like the apartment buildings there, white table-cloth kind of establishments that are consistently good.
Though Harry’s is still there the whole area isn’t somewhere where bogan teenagers can hang out. Fortunately, we’ve grown up a bit as well, though a dinner at China Doll can set us back a 100 bucks, we can luckily still relive the glory days at Ovolo’s Lo Lounge with its casual vibe and really wallet-friendly happy hour prices.
Apart from that, you’d be drinking with the rest of town who’s paid an arm and a leg to get seats along the boardwalk. We may no longer be teenagers looking for a place to have a bit of a nook, but the Woolloomooloo wharf can still be ours.
Lisa Cam is the Food & Travel Editor of Time Out Hong Kong, where the restaurant reviews are honest, independent and paid for by the publication. When she’s not eating, tasting or writing, Lisa tends to her baby boy and cook tried and true recipes from sticky old recipe books at home. She also loves to travel and you can keep tabs on her via instagram @c9andthecity or reach her on Linkedin.