Some thoughts on King Street

King Street is a long road, probably a couple of miles in length, that forms the heart of Newtown, a district south of central Sydney. The rather imaginatively named Newtown was the third town after Sydney and Paramatta to be founded in Australia, and now it’s been completely subsumed by Sydney.

I’m reminded of places like Cowley Road in Oxford when I walk down King Street; while a little run-down in appearance, almost all of the shops are conducting brisk business and notably there are around two hundred restaurants dotting its length, from all over the world. Japanese restaurants, Thai, Singaporean, Chinese, Italian, fast food, sandwich shops, Vietnamese, all sorts. I’m told that the Thai restaurants in particular are engaged in a sort of punning Cold War, each having increasingly awful names such as ‘Thai Tanic’, ‘Thai Me Down’ and so on. The other shops on the street haven’t been spared either, with one bedclothes shop named ‘Holy Sheet!’

The friends I’m staying with have been here for over a decade and originally they intended to visit every restaurant on King Street from one end to the other. Unfortunately, unless they went out every night (and of course they didn’t) by the time they got any appreciable distance down the street, there’d already have been a fair amount of turnover in the restaurants open anyway.

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