Posts Tagged ‘parramatta’

Circa Espresso, Parramatta

When the trio of cafes Three Ropes, Paper Plane Cafe and Circa opened in Parramatta, I got pretty darn excited. At last, little laneway style coffee was available to me, and I didn’t have to travel to Melbourne or Sydney city to get it!

Unfortunately, Three Ropes has now shut because of an entire block redevelopment for the UWS/WSU Western Sydney University campus, but the other two live on.

Circa prides itself on using local produce.

Breakfast Rice ($13):

Breakfast Rice

I liked the combination of flavours, and a wonderfully pink poached pear. This will fill you up. I had to take my leftovers with me in my reusable coffee cup.

Ottoman Eggs ($17):
Ottoman Eggs

I seriously chose this dish because of the existence of garlic labneh. Interestingly, in order to make the accompanying bread ‘seedy’, a plain slice of sourdough had been buttered and sprinkled with a sesame seed and poppyseed combo. A good way to just get over kind of bread, and offer it two ways.

Baked eggs ($19):
Baked Eggs

I have been making shashuska at home for ages. This reminded me of that slow cooked egg dish, but with sucjuk – a spicy Turkish sausage. Inspiration! The following weekend I made my shashuka with nduja – which is pretty darn hard to find in Sydney!

Circa Espresso
street: 21 Wentworth Street, Parramatta NSW 2150
M-F: 0700-1500
S-S: 0800-1500

Dae Ga Korean Restaurant, Parramatta

There’s a new restaurant in town, and it’s clearing out the local bottle-o of korean plum wine.

Dae Ga Korean has opened in the shopfront that the Chinese Noodle Bar used to occupy. The dining room has been freshened up with new furniture, and new shiny silver coloured pull down/zip up extractor fans installed over each table. It’s a bit quiet early on, but the room is soon half full with Koreans.

It’s a cold winter’s night, so we opt for spicy hot pot with a side of rice.

This being a korean restaurant, we were looking forward to the banchan side dishes:

Banchan at Dae Ga

Kimchi, Smooshy mashed potato scooped up with an icecream scoop, seaweed/kelp with sesame oil, mung bean sprouts slightly pickled, soy bean ‘skins’ in sesame oil, daikon pickled with vinegar a chlli, gluten ‘skins’ and potato in a sweet sticky sauce. My favourites were the mashed potato and the seaweed.

Seafood Spicy Hot Pot ($43):

Spicy seafood hot pot

I remember enoki mushrooms, octopus (divided head and legs), mung bean sprouts, zucchini, fish balls, cabbage, glutinous sweet potato noodles, carrot and pickled bamboo. The spicy broth wasn’t too spicy despite my trepidation. Perhaps a heat rating of 2 out of 10.

The rice comes in little metal canisters with a lid, possibly to keep it warm. Perhaps it’s so you can carry your lunch to work.

Plum Wine:

Plum liquor

We had actually brought along our own bottle of plum wine, and we were charged $5 corkage. I believe that the restaurant is in the process of obtaining their liquor licence, so very soon you should be able to order alcohol with your meal rather than BYO.

Dae Ga Korean Restaurant
street: 42 George Street, Parramatta 2150
phone: +61-2-9687-4242
Mon-Sat: 1000 – 2200
Sun: 1700 – 2200

Appearing soon: Bourke Street Bakery!

Opening on Monday 27 April 2015:

Bourke Street Bakery!!!!

Landing soon...


They’ve snapped up a spot that used to host a Delifrance, followed by a Brazillian cafe, then by Sweet Street cafe (which had lovely fruit tarts), right near where the Artisans Apprentice Bakery used to be.

Bourke Street Bakery
street: Shop 17/162-172 Church Street, Parramatta, 2150
Connection Arcade/Parramatta Pedestrian Mall.

Phone: 61-2-9893-9075
M-F: 0700-1600

Post-Post Note: As of February 2016, due to the UWS/WSU behemoth taking up an entire city block, BSB is now located at:
1/186-190 Church Street, Parramatta, 2150.

M & J Thai Cuisine, Parramatta

Parramatta’s Woolpack was one of the first ten hotels licensed in Australia by Governor Phillip, in May 1796.

That makes it Sydney’s longest continuously licensed pub. There are other pubs which possibly have been upstarting longer, but perhaps they weren’t licensed. It started off as the Freemason’s arms in. M&J Thai operates the restaurant inside the pub.

After an event at the new music venue: the Lennox Theatre inside the Riverside Theatre, we decided to try some Thai food.

I was super excited to discover they had traditional beef noodle soup, or boat noodle soup. I have yet to work out how to make this dish.

Beef noodle soup ($10.90):

Beef Noodle Soup

Served with rapidly disintegrating pieces of pork crackling. This had a strong cinnamon and star anise flavour, and a sweet/sour after taste. It had a little hit of chilli and was good to the last drop.

Duck noodle soup ($13.90):

Duck Noodle Soup

Very similar to the beef noodle soup, I’m sure that they use the same stock base. This had shredded pieces of roast duck instead of the beef. I had this dish on a different night, and so I think the stock base had been prepared differently to the beef soup base. This one seemed less complex and I found it a bit to sweet and same-y towards the end of the bowl.

Fried rice with crab meat ($10.90):

Fried rice
Gut sticker dish. I had trouble finding evidence of crab, but perhaps my dining partner had scarfed it before I got to the dish.

I like this place. You can get a whole range of beer or cider with your meal, and they have boat noodle soup. There is also a roti pancake on the desert menu which I’ll have to come back for.

M & J Thai Cuisine
Wool Pack Hotel
street: 19 George Street, Parramatta NSW 2150
phone: +61-2-9633-9394
Mon-Sat: 1200-1500, 1700-2100
Closed Sundays and Public Holidays.

Chef’s Art, Parramatta (Closed)

Two restaurants side by side. One doing a bustling trade, so I pick that one.

Every table has a plate in panfried pork buns, the bottoms golden from the cooking process. There are some interesting things on the menu, including roti, pumpkin noodles, and Xiao long bao (steamed dumplings with soup inside).

I am overruled in my menu choices, so we have seafood fried noodles and dumplings with pork and chives.

And… It’s pretty good!

The seafood fried noodles have prawns, squid and fish balls throughout. Our request for ‘a touch of chilli’ is met with a burning mouth, but not watering eyes.

Stir Fry Noodles

The dumplings arrive first, 10 gleaming boiled jiao zi, with a slightly over salted filling. This is tempered by the black vinegar positioned on every table.

Pork Dumplings

The staff all speak Mandarin Chinese, and the menu is english & chinese. If you can grab one of the female waitstaff, they are on the whole more helpful.

I’ll be back to try those other dishes that caught my eye.

42 George St
Parramatta New South Wales 2150
(02) 9689 3246
Wed-Mon: 1100-1500, 1700-2200.
Closed Tuesdays.

Note: Restaurant closed in 2015

The Artisan’s Apprentice Bakery (Closed)

I wish I could say that I discovered this place. Unfortunately I looked at the hand painted signs at the front of The Connector Arcade, I even ventured as far as as the shop itself. But then without actually looking at the product, I decided against trying it.

Then about a week later they had a write up in Good Living. Dammit.

The range varies on a daily basis, and you need to turn up after 11am to see the full range for that day. Bread snack products go in and out of fashion – I had a delicious seeded mustard, pumpkin and onion tart once; a few months later, tarts are no longer on the menu because people are longer buying them. I still dream of that mustard tart.

The sourdough is really dense and solid, a meal on its own. You can imagine sitting in a beer hall in King Arthur’s time and carousing with beer in one hand, hunk of bread in the other; or pouring dripping all over to make dinner.

My favourite loaves have been:
– lavender and honey
– marinated mushroom and onion
– dark chocolate and cherry

The last loaf is a celebration loaf, created to celebrate their inclusion in the Sydney Magazine’s top ten sourdough’s list. Yay them!

The picture shows a date and orange peel loaf on the left, caramelised beetroot on the right.

You can also make advance orders for your loaf of choice. Not only that, but they are right near the train station.

The Artisan’s Apprentice Bakery
Shop 9, The Connection Arcade (right up the end)
162-172 Church Street, Parramatta.
0428 924 576.
Mon-Fri: 0600-1800;
Saturday: 0800-1400

Post-post note: Unfortunately, the Artisan’s Apprentice shut for Christmas 2013, and never returned.