Sean's Lockdown Menus

Posted by Remo Giuffré on


Cutting Through with Creativity

The optimist turns lemons into lemonade. Restaurateur Sean Moran turned his experience of Sydney’s strictest ever COVID lockdown (107 days from 26 June to 10 October 2021) into a celebration of the power of ritual and creativity to cut through amidst even the most constraining circumstances.

Sean’s, run by Sean with partner Michael “Manoo” Robertson, is nestled within an Art Deco building facing the Pacific Ocean at the north end of iconic Bondi Beach. It has served comforting homestyle produce-driven food balanced with modern tastes since opening in 1993. In Sydney it’s a much loved institution that appeals deeply to those who value provenance, quality and constance over flash, fuss and formality.

Sean is not only a great executive chef, he is also a highly creative individual. His distinctively calligraphic handwriting (manifest since Day One on his restaurant menus) has become baked into the DNA of the restaurant and its vibe.

So, it was apt and refreshing to see his inspired response to the 2021 lockdown in Sydney: a daily Instagram post featuring menus lovingly handwritten by Sean and then framed with vegetables, flowers, shells, kitchen utensils, whatever ...

Says Sean: "I wanted to try to keep busy during the lockdown, and I really enjoyed doing them. I also wanted to cheer people up, with mental health such an issue with COVID, and felt that this was a bit of escapism and fun.”

The posted menu setups were modest to begin with, but became more and more complex and striking over time, attracting local media attention and delighting fans and followers all over the world.

​What started as a bit of fun became a much loved lockdown internet phenomenon.

Browse them all in reverse chronological order in the image gallery, and check out the full series on Instagram @seanmoran64.


Personal Postscript

Remo, a longtime fan, was inspired by the series and in November 2021 approached Sean to help celebrate his 30 years of marriage to Melanie (an even longer time Sean’s fan) with a surprise. The brief was challenging: dedicate the anniversary dinner menu to the celebration; generate the framing idea on the day, based on the relevant ingredients; incorporate within the frame a commissioned ring designed and made by daughter Lola; and have a digital photograph of it ready for printing on canvas, once again on that very same day, so that it could be presented to Melanie at the anniversary dinner as a gift along with the ring. Phew!

Sean was up to the challenge and delivered something magical. The cheeky pairing of native finger lime with the platinum/pearl ring was inspired, albeit somewhat suggestive and climactic ;) Checkout the images at the end of the gallery.

Bon Appetit


Reference: “Sydney restaurateur Sean Moran brings high hopes with creative Insta posts” Sydney Morning Herald Good Food | 30 July 2021


1 to 11. Sean's Lockdown Menus
12. Sean's Bondi. Photo: Enzo Amato.
13. Sean Moran
14. Sean Setting Up at Sean's
15. Sean for Remo & Melanie
16. In celebration of of their 30th Wedding Anniversary (Pearl) at Sean’s in North Bondi | 23 November 2021. Menu by Sean Moran. Platinum & Pearl Ring by Lola.

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