A restaurant that reflects Parra on the move
The arrival of a higher-end dining option such as Husk & Vine Kitchen & Bar in Parramatta is big news: it’s the sort of swank restaurant the area was waiting for, confirming the suburb’s status as being ‘on the move’ and adding to the rejuvenation of the city’s west. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of Skye Hotel Suites, the suburb’s first five-star hotel offering luxury boutique apartments, and the dining demographic ranges from locals looking for something fancier than Neil Perry's Burger Project next door to international visitors doing business in Sydney's second CBD.
Fun fact: the name and fit-out of Husk & Vine was inspired by the discovery of the ruins of an 1800’s-era hotel unearthed during the building's development. It’s worth stopping to admire these relics of Parramatta’s colonial heritage on permanent display outside the restaurant. The g+a-designed space is a nod to the area’s convict past with a soaring metal grid-like structure containing sandstone rocks and relics. This in-your-face design element is softened by the use of timber, leather, linen, flower-filled vases and ambient lighting.
Nab a banquette and observe head chef Ashley Brennan (ex Sugaroom) preparing dishes in the open kitchen from a menu that reflects the multicultural demographic of the neighbourhood: think homemade pasta and Middle Eastern flatbreads and the signature lamb shoulder with harissa, okra and chickpeas, which is cooked in the beech wood-fired oven that is the centrepiece of the kitchen.
The just-shucked oysters are from Pambula - home to oysters judged as some of the world’s best - and should be enjoyed in all their briny glory during an old-school business lunch talking up the Parra economy (worth a whopping $14 billion). Exceptionally fresh beer-battered market fish (ling) arrives with chips that are audibly crunchy alongside a smoky sumac aioli and salad of fennel and radish that serves as a pick-me-up. A salad flecked with beautifully charred lamb works well with sweet, beautifully oven-kissed cubes of sweet pumpkin atop a rise of couscous dressed with a squiggle of tangy yoghurt tahini.
Listen for the purr of happy people when the pavlova is split open to reveal butter-soft filling of orange blossom cream and the tang from segments of fresh, vivid tangerine. Make it a boozy lunch and wrk through the wine list, which is heavy with wines we desire from New Zealand and Australia as well as quaffable drops from around the world such as the Adriano Nebbiolo 2013 from Alba Piemonte, Italy.
With mellow dub artists such as DJ Fitchie and Joe Dukie on the playlist, this dimly lit dining room with excellent acoustics becomes an oasis of calm away from the cacophony of Parramatta’s urban renewal plan, which is still in full swing.
|Venue name:||Husk and Vine|
|Opening hours:||Daily 6.30-10.30am, noon– 2.30pm, 5.30pm-late|