(jinsei wa gojuusai kara hajimaru)

My old haunts in Kirribilli & dinner @ Ainoya

Posted by redracer on October 28, 2007

Last Friday, I went with a group of friends to a Japanese restaurant in Kirribilli called ‘Ainoya’, and also took a tour of the suburb to see where I used to live, and where the 2 most important Australian’s currently live.

As I had arrived at Milson’s Point railway station about an hour early, I thought I would take a walking tour of the area and have a look for the place I lived in during the mid-1980’s. You can follow my progress on this map,


courtesy of Sydway. Leaving the station, I found where the restaurant was and then headed down Willoughby Street. Here are some fine looking old houses perched up on the rocky hillside.


At the end of this street, you suddenly come upon this part of Sydney Harbour, called Careening Cove. As you can see, the luxury apartments here have a swimming pool, even though they have an absolute waterfront location 🙄


If you look to the left, there is a boat repair facility, the Ensemble Theatre, and the skyscrapers of North Sydney in the background.


Across the Cove are the residences and private boathouses of part of North Sydney.


Without knowing exactly where I was going, but knowing that if I want the wrong way I would eventually end up in the harbour, I continued along Elamang Avenue until it ended where the headquarters of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron is located. This is a private Member Sailing Club established in 1862, and the official patronage of the then Prince of Wales in 1863 allowed them to add the title ‘Royal’ to their name. The current site commenced operation in 1903. Turning right into Peel Street, I reached the corner of Carabella Street and signs indicated that this was the direction to go to reach Kirribilli & Admiralty Houses. Along Carabella Street, I came across this stately looking buildings with a strange statue in front. 


This is Glenferrie Lodge, a guest house which was built in 1898 and is registered with the National Trust of Australia. The statue is of Chief Lapu-lapu, who was a warrior in the Philippines, and became their first recorded hero in 1521 when he engaged and defeated the superior forces of the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who was killed in the battle. I’m not sure of the significance of the location of the statue here though …


To the right of the main building is this tall narrow extension, which looks more recent than the main building.


Continuing along Carabella Street, it suddenly ends and you are confronted with the gates of Admiralty House, which is the Sydney residence of the current Australian Governor-General, His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC (Retd), the representative of HM Queen Elizabeth in Australia.


Security is tight in this area – you can see the car of the Australian Federal Police outside, and the white building to the right of the gate is full of police staff and equipment. There are also always staff outside the gates, but they are happy to allow you to take photos. This is about all you can see inside the gates.


Further down Kirribilli Avenue to the left is Kirribilli House, the Sydney residence of the current Australian Prime Minister, the Hon John Howard MP (probably not for much longer though) 😆


The house here is closer to the road and a lot more visible though the gates.


Further down the road is the fabulous view from Lady Gowrie Lookout.


Heading back up Kirribilli Avenue, you can see the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background.


Continuing along the street, I then saw the building where I lived in the mid-1980’s for a couple of years.


Without a map I had to work out how to get up to that street, which is on a higher level. Although this area is predominantly apartment buildings, there are still some of the older original houses left. In this photo you can also see another ancient relic – what is it ? (answer at end of post)


The apartment I used to live in is pictured below, and as a studio apartment (ie no separate bedroom) in those days it cost $75 pw. Advertisements in nearby Real Estate Agent’s windows indicated that a similar place now would be in the range of $450 pw 🙄


At the end of Kirribilli Avenue, the street opens up to Bradfield Park, and the approaches to the mighty harbour bridge.


As you can see, the weather was not very clear on Friday evening.


Turning right into Jeffery Street, I found the steps that led up to Upper Pitt Street, where I turned right again. Soon I came upon the building where I lived, called ‘St. Charles’. My unit was on the 4th of 8 floors, and this is the type of view I had to put up with ever morning 😆


Sadly I was tricked into leaving there by a manipulative woman, and subsequently ended up leaving Sydney for around 7-8 years.

By this stage, I had been walking for around an hour, and it was time to go back to the restaurant and meet the others. It is called ‘Ainoya’ (means ‘indigo shop’) and is at 34 Burton Street, Kirribilli. You can choose from ‘normal’ tables and chairs or Japanese style ‘Horikotatsu’ seating’. When ordering, we were disappointed to find that ‘Takoyaki’ was not available as an entree. As one of the most popular entrees at the beginning of one their business evenings, how could it already have ‘run out’ ??? We chose the following entrees …

pa265768.jpg GYOZA

pa265769.jpg IKA-TEM WASABI-MAYO (Squid tempura with wasabi mayonnaise sauce)

pa265771.jpg MIXED ENTREE FOR TWO – nice but a little expensive (contains from L->R – soft shell crab karaage, california roll sushi (front), 3 types of sashimi (rear), scallops with Japanese red basil oil (front), green tea soba & seaweed tempura roll (rear)) 

As main courses, we chose …

pa265772.jpg TERIYAKI FISH




For deserts, some of us has Green Tea ice cream (I forgot to take a picture, but everyone knows what it looks like), and because one attendee had just had a birthday, and another was just about to celebrate one, we had a surprise birthday cake 🙂


Overall the food was very nice, not too expensive and the ambiance was authentic (although I don’t know if all the staff were Japanese). The restaurant is quite small and they were quite busy, and although we had a limited time for the booking (6:30-8:30) due to a later second session, we had enough time to finish without rushing in the allotted  time. Obviously a popular destination on a Friday night, and a good choice as long as you book in advance (see the details on their web site).

The ‘ancient relic’ in the photo is of course the public phone box 😆
With the internet, SMS and mobile phones these days, how many people still use public phones ?

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