How would you define a meat pie to someone who's never had
It's sort of like a sausage roll. When I was a kid, the first thing
we would do after school is grab a meat pie. You could probably get
them then for 25 cents. Harry's used to be a rather low-rent place,
but over the years it's become a landmark. Now they write about it
in books and everything.
Any other restaurant recommendations?
Some of my favorite restaurants are in east Sydney. All I keep
telling you about is Italian restaurants, but they're all great,
like Bill & Toni's and another one called No Names. I remember
going there as a kid. There are only a few things to choose from,
but it's really, really cheap and full of atmosphere. I might be
biased, but I rate Australia as having some of the best food in the
world. Yeah, other than Italy, I'd say it is probably the best food
I've ever had in the world. Because everything is fresher and the
tastes are much stronger and purer.
What are your favorite places to shop?
There are great shops in Paddington along Oxford Street, but my
favorite shops are on Williams Street. You've got Belinda, which is
full of young designers, some of them local, some imported. It's
expensive, but it has fantastic vintage stuff and some of the best
finds I've ever come across. Then there's Collette Dinnigan, one of
Australia's most famous designers. She sells all over America. She
has shops in London and Paris. She's one of our biggest exports.
Her dresses are very feminine but very modern and classic at the
same time. She's a friend of mine and I have worn her things on
several occasions and to several functions. There's also a
fantastic shop called Orson & Blake that sells great clothes,
but mainly what I like about it is the furniture. Then there's
Queen Street, which has great antiques stores and galleries and
things. Great shops and cafes, too.
Does the nightlife get wild down under?
My nightlife days are kind of long ago. There's a bar called Soho
Bar in King's Cross that I'd go to. And I had my 18th birthday in a
small club called The Freezer. In those days I had aspirations to
become a dancer, so I did a dance routine there that I had
rehearsed. I actually performed at my 18th birthday. I don't know
what I was thinking. Somebody should have stopped me. It was one of
those classic dances to Janet Jackson, where I was the girl and I
was being fought over by two men.
You did the routine at The Freezer?
I did the routine. The music stopped and the lights went down and
on I went. In front of about 100 people. I mean, what a lunatic. I
still remember the day.
Speaking of performing, have you done any theater in
It's on my list of things to do. I'm just trying to find the right
time. I have kind of a fear about it, a bit of stage fright. The
theater community in Sydney does really well. You have the Sydney
Theatre Company, which is probably the biggest company, with
fantastic directors and actors. Cate Blanchett had a play there.
All of the great Australian actors have done at least one play out
of STC, except me. There's also the Stables and Belvoir St.
theatres. There are a lot of little theater companies that manage
to stay alive.
If you had to pick one place that exemplified the vibe of Sydney
and what it's all about, what would it be?
There's a famous restaurant in Watsons Bay called Doyles on the
Beach. You should take people who've never been to Australia
before. It's very touristy, but it's a great spot. Watsons Bay is
just so picturesque.
And, of course, there are the obvious tourist places, like the
Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Your friend Nicole Kidman jumped
off the Harbour Bridge with that writer from Esquire,
Yeah, but she didn't jump. She climbed. I haven't done it myself. I
actually tried to go once, and then something happened with the car
and we missed it. There's a certain time you have to do a tutorial
and we missed it. It is something I would like to do, though.
Where do you go when you want to pamper yourself?
You can get a fantastic massage at the Ginseng Bath House. They
soak you in all this great stuff and scrub you down. Then you get
into these hot pools of special mineral water. I also go to this
great woman named Eva Karpati in Double Bay who gives incredible
facials. You go in and she says, "Oh, we've got a skin emergency on
our hands." She just gets down to it and does a thorough
What about when you want to get away from it all?
Well, there's Palm Beach, which is beautiful. Sort of the
equivalent of driving from the center of Los Angeles to Malibu
maybe. You've got the peninsula there and the most beautiful
beaches, both surf and calm beaches. A choice of waves or no
waves, basically. There are also the Blue Mountains. I have a lot
of memories of the two-hour drive from Sydney to mountain territory
and its wonderful eucalyptus trees. We had a little cottage up
there for a while, and we'd go there on the weekends. We would make
fires and go for walks. It's really a different side of Australia,
from the beaches to the cold, crisp mountains. There are waterfalls
and some incredible wildlife as well, a lot of different animals.