There are many things I miss about Sydney.

The smell of the sand at Bondi.

The sound of my niece’s voice.

The squish and crust of the miche from Sonoma.

And the simple pleasures of one of the best breakfast’s around.

Alimentari is tucked away in the back of Paddington. Down the bottom of William Street, it has been an Italian corner store of some description for more than 50 years, before Paddington was tinged with pretension and every seven year old knew what sopressata was.

At this little haven from the consumer excesses of William Street, you’ll still find cured meats and cheeses, crostoli and cannoli. You have salads and sandwiches made up or to take away.

All you have to do is order with confidence at the counter, and find somewhere to sit.

Most mornings out the front, perched on wooden benches and plastic stools the colour of citrus gelato there’ll be a curious combination of women with slightly stretched faces, babies giggling from under the canopy’s of over-priced prams and a disproportionate number of middle aged men in luminous lycra, nursing lattes with one hand and stroking moulded pieces of two wheeled carbon fibre with the other.

Occasionally you’d find me there as well, sitting under the dappled shade of the watchful trees, eating living proof that often it’s the simple things that are the best.

You see, when you break it down, it’s just Italian white bread, squished and toasted flat like the cardboard you used for primary school dioramas. It’s topped with a mush of ripe avocado and slices of scarlet tomato. What makes it come together with a joyous song and dance is the sandy crunch of sea salt flakes, and a pretty luxurious lick of olive oil.

You eat it with one hand, balancing the tomato pieces with your index finger and watching as a little trickle of olive oil marks its way down your palm.

It’s clean, simple and sexy. And the coffee ain’t half bad either.

Oh Sydney, I miss you so.


2 Hopetoun Street
Paddington NSW
Phone : 02 9358 2142
Opening times : Mon-Sat: 7am-6pm
Sun: 8am-5.30pm

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