'Nostalgia is denial'?... Guylian Cafe, Fortune of War, Pancake on the Rocks, The Rocks, Sydney


I fell in love with Sydney at the Rocks last time. The colours, the re-created history, the food, the liveliness, the sun, the happy smiles.

Spent my first afternoon at Sydney there then. And my last breakfast at Pancakes on the Rocks.

Last evening was so different. The Rocks was empty. Bleak. Grey. Chilly.

A bit like the changing soundtrack of a movie.

Still there were streaks of the magic that held me in its spell last time floating around.

The Mocha at the Guylian Cafe. My first sip of Sydney last time. Still ambrosial.



‘Gee – li – an’ as the Nepali manager told us it is pronounced. He remembered me from my last trip. Six months back and many customers in between.

Just as he remembered my fellow gym mates from Bandra who apparently used to drop in here often. I had to gently break it to him that it was unlikely that John and Bips would be coming to Guylian for hot chocolate together again.

But then they should perhaps for the sake of the amazing blueberry baked cheesecake that we had.



And then it was time to step out of the world of chocolat.

Ambling down the empty lanes. Conversations shrouding the nip in the air. Trying to build an appetite for dinner.

What better way to thaw frozen ears than to step into the glow of Sydney’s oldest pub? The Fortune of War.



Sitting by the pub counter. The frumpy senior bar maid and the friendly younger one hovering around.

“I am from Sydney but feel like a world citizen. I was at Western Sydney a few days back. Felt like I was in a melting pot of cultures. I am sure you will enjoy our city.”

I had to have a Toohey for Sue and the tips she mailed me from her memories of Sydney.



And finally Pancakes of the Rocks. The reason why we were here. I had come back all the way from Mumbai to give directions to the place.

Well last time was different. It was breakfast and that too after an appetite built on a walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Last evening we found out that Pancake on the Rocks is not the place to order individual plates if your appetite is not at its best.

My savoury potato pancake with Mexican beef chilli and guacamole was stodgy, heavy and lacked zing. Would you believe it if I said that the only thing I finished on the plate was the lettuce?!



Our other order, scrambled eggs, devoid of salt. Lovely sausage and bacon though and I did have a bit of that to balance the lettuce.



In Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’, where I took the title of the post from, the hero talks about the beauty of Paris in the rains.

Come to think of it, perhaps The Rocks had a bit of that in the grey, chilly evening yesterday.

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