[CLOSED] Is it a cinema? Is it a skating rink? No! It’s Petersham’s latest provedore and eatery
[CLOSED] You might feel like you’re wandering into a cinema when you walk into Majestic Gourmet Grocers in Petersham, but that’s because that’s exactly what it once was. Built in 1912, it later became a roller-skating rink in the ’70s until it was eventually abandoned and left to rot. It’s had quite a history, and as of 2015 it’s now serving its community in a different way: as a provedore and restaurant.
The provedore has a bit of everything: a salumi and cheese counter, another counter selling fresh fish, big stills of olive oil ready to be poured into bottles, as well as loads of veggies and unusual canned goods (including tangy McClure’s pickles, which are imported from Detroit and can be seen gracing numerous Sydney burgers in 2015).
There’s a dark-wood toned restaurant called Majestic Harvest corded-off in the corner, and that’s where we decide to sit down to spend our afternoon – which you should take the time to do, because it’s rather delightful. As soon as we approach, the super-friendly waiter sits us down and continues to laugh and joke with us throughout the meal, laying the sarcasm on thick. This approach could go either way, depending on the audience, but we find it LOL-worthy, so go with it.
Start things off with the salumi board – every day the chefs looks at what’s good at the salumi counter and make a selection. The day we go in it’s spicy sopressa salami; finely sliced curls of fatty smoked ham; creamy, loose, room-temperature Gorgonzola, olives imbued with the flavour and fragrance of preserved lemons, and sour little pickles of radish and baby carrot. The small size is actually pretty mammoth, so you’re safe to get one between two as a (generous) starter.
Don’t miss the housemade gnocchi. The pillowy dumplings are light and super-soft, sitting in a vibrant yellow pool of nutty burnt butter with fried sage leaves adding texture as well as flavour. The umami-tones of Gorgonzola have permeated the sauce but there are still little pieces, half-melted, to be found throughout. It’s one of the best gnocchi dishes you’ll get around here, but is certainly not for the weight-watchers of this world: this here is comfort food.
Those people can go for the warm chicken salad instead. Pieces of breast meat sit atop soft and buttery braised wedges of fennel with crunchy, lightly cooked French beans and semi-dried tomatoes made inhouse. There’s herb mayo drizzled over the top, which feels unnecessary (a simple dressing of salt, lemon and great olive oil would have been better), and seasoning could do with a boost. But everything is cooked well, and a bit of salt jazzes it up nicely.
They’re not licensed yet but are making their own soft drinks, and there’s a pretty awesome range. We like the lavender-spiked lemonade, which is floral, refreshing and not too sweet, and comes with a giant sprig of rosemary to keep things woodland. An apricot and Earl Grey iced tea is clean and fruity, and also not overly saccharine, which is a nice change.
There are desserts available from the fridge (chocolate mud cakes, brownies, little cheesecakes) and they are even trying to make Portuguese custard tarts – which, considering Majestic is a block away from the best-made tarts in Sydney, is a brave move (no, they aren’t as good).
We can see this place being really popular with mums and bubs, or for mates wanting a laid-back catch-up locally (and when that liquor licence comes through, those rendezvous will be all the more fun). In the meantime though, sit back, relax and have a perfectly lovely meal. And pick up whatever you liked eating at the deli when you leave.
|Venue name:||Majestic Gourmet Grocers|
49a New Canterbury Rd
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 7.30am-3.30pm; Sun 7.30am-4.30pm|