Mother’s Day is likely to be a strange one this year. Coronavirus restrictions mean many Sydneysiders won’t be with their loved ones tomorrow, perhaps opting for a virtual lunch over webcam instead. Extended family members in the same room will probably, and very rightfully, be maintaining social distancing.
It will be a particularly odd day for restaurants, too, as Mother’s Day is traditionally the busiest service of the year for many dining venues. While some restaurants remain temporarily shuttered, others have ramped up their takeaway and delivery options to serve more customers than ever before.
“We were full for Mother’s Day at Chiswick before COVID-19 happened,” says chef Matt Moran of his Woollahra restaurant with rolling lawns and cultivated gardens. “It fills faster than any other restaurant – it’s just the setting.”
Moran usually feeds 500 guests at Chiswick on Mother’s Day and after the kitchen reopened for takeaway orders on Thursday, the restaurant will now double that number on Sunday. (Mother’s Day orders have closed due to the unexpected demand, however the standard Chiswick menu is still available on Saturday for orders made before 10am.)
Bentley Group – which includes two-hatted Yellow, Bentley, Monopole and Cirrus – will be feeding about 1000 people on Mother’s Day with a just-launched take-home and delivery service. Pulling together the dine-at-home offerings has been a new muscle to flex for the group.
“It’s almost like opening a new restaurant – pretty stressful but it’s got our creative juices flowing,” says sommelier and co-owner Nick Hildebrandt.
Admittedly, dine-at-home restaurant packs are not much of a profit spinner (many restaurants across Sydney are operating at about a tenth of their normal spend) but they do keep restaurants front of mind for Sydney diners. Delivery and takeaway also keeps staff employed.
“We just don’t want to be forgotten about,” says Bentley’s executive chef and co-owner Brent Savage. “When it’s time to reopen we want to be front and centre of people’s minds to visit.
“We also felt there was a responsibility, once JobKeeper came up, to give staff an opportunity to earn money, and an opportunity to pay our creditors. For those [restaurants] who were, or are, in the position to hibernate, that’s fantastic for them, but that wasn’t our position. Our position is that we had to keep on pushing on.”
Right now, diners are staying home and staying safe – especially on a day that celebrates loved ones of all ages. But the question of whether staying home and dining in becomes the status quo as restrictions are lifted is one that remains up in the air.
Last minute Mother’s Day solutions
Still looking to organise something special for Mum at the eleventh hour? Plenty of food and wine options exist.
Bathers Pavilion, Balmoral
Orders closed for Bathers’ bells-and-whistles Mother’s Day packs earlier in the week, but the full bistro menu including slow-cooked lamb shoulder and chocolate pudding to share (or not) is still available for pick-up, even on Sunday. batherspavilion.com.au
Brickfields, Chippendale and Marrickville
Both Brickfields outposts will be open all weekend selling sourdough and baked goods for all your brunch needs, plus the odd bunch of flowers if you’re lucky. brickfields.com.au
Oh, dear. You haven’t remembered flowers, have you? Natural wine delivery service DRNKS to the rescue, not only with posies from My Flower Man in Tamarama but also bottles of fizz and rosé, delivered on Mother’s Day across most of Sydney. Drnks.com
Sydney Fish Market delivery service GetFish is on hand to provide Mother’s Day seafood platters heaving with oysters, tiger prawns, Moreton Bay bugs, lobster and other deliciousness. Order before midnight today for delivery tomorrow anywhere within a 50km radius of the markets, from Bundeena to Palm Beach and Camden to the Blue Mountains. getfish.com.au
Handpicked Wines, Sydney-wide
If you’re not really a family that lunches together, why not have some lovely wine and Sam Studd cheese delivered straight to your mum or guardian’s door? Order the same pack and have a Zoom tasting together. handpickedwines.com.au