The battle over Sydney’s good food scene sparks up as foodie culture is on the rise, but has the West done enough to seize the title off the East? Georgia Appleby investigates whether the West lives up to the hype.
Georgia: Move over Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Woolloomooloo and the Sydney CBD. Sydney’s Outer West is rising up and challenging the East’s reputation as the home of good food and wine.
Places like Parramatta, Cabramatta and Granville were once thought of as distant suburbs whose streets were lined with greasy fish and chip shops, gaudy pizzerias and run-down Chinese takeaways.
But the West has undergone a makeover, and its food scene promises not to disappoint.
Cr. Scott Lloyd: Parramatta is not too far away from Sydney at all. It’s a very short train trip now with all the express trains. But Parramatta has so many diverse places to go and eat at- no matter if you love your Italian, Japanese, your Greek, your Malaysian, your Chinese. The variety is here and the choice is massive here in Parramatta.
Georgia: Parramatta’s “Eat Street” now boasts not only major food chains like Oliver Brown and Crinitis, but is also home to a growing number of typically inner-city trendy eats.
Declan Lee: We wanted to be out West and it seemed like the epi-centre of that area.
Georgia: Gelato Messina was one of the first to move to Eat Street.
Declan: We had a lot of customers that would come from out West – Parramatta, Castle Hill which is North West I think. A lot of people out that way were coming to our stores, even as far as Liverpool and they asked us a lot. So we had a pretty good idea that it would work out there.
Georgia: But what makes these places so good, and how can you spot a gem? According to blogger and food enthusiast Sam Low, a good restaurant or café will do more than just serve good food.
Sam: I think what really makes a good café is a really nice interior that people can be comfortable in, food of course has to be good! But it is mainly the service and the interior. It’s the whole experience.”
Georgia: This is supported by Lee who says that Messina does much more than just sell gelato.
Declan: What we do is we create an experience with good product. We also create a good experience in store. So when people come into our stores there is always music playing quite loudly, the stores are dimly lit. We create an atmosphere. And I like to think that our staff are fantastic as well so that the experience you get, we hope, is always a joyful one.”
Georgia: Helen Fraser, Director of Ultimately Sydney says that more Aussies need to fight criticism of our cuisine and embrace its diversity.
Helen: You’ll find that spaghetti bolognese and stir fries and fish – everyone is very adventurous. You go to Coles and the local supermarkets and you’ll find so many different exotic aisles. So, we are probably very blessed to have a multicultural cuisine. It is hard to pinpoint exactly what the Australian cuisine is. We love the meat pies. We love the fish. We love the steak and the chips. Yeah okay, that can be it if you had to pick a traditional dish, but we have one! It’s super, dynamic, multicultural, brilliant!
Georgia: And, perhaps, it is this very diversity that is allowing the West to gain ground against the East in the battle over Sydney’s good food scene.
So why not be a tourist in your own backyard, escape the city for night and take a stroll down Eat Street.