Parramatta has always had lots of good places to eat, but things are getting more and more refined. Just this year, modern Australian diner Husk & Vine recently arrived in the neighbourhood, the Speakeasy Group will open a much-anticipated rooftop bar, and big names Rockpool and Sake have announced they'll be part of the exciting development at 8 Phillip Street.
Also keen for a piece of the Parramatta pie is the Aslan Hospitality Group, which has just opened its ambitious new all-day venue, ALEX&Co. beneath Church Street's Meriton Altitude Towers. And it's a monster. The 600-square-metre, $2.5 million, 350-seat space is a restaurant, cafe and cocktail bar in one, featuring three separate menus, function spaces, sweeping river views and seating options for all occasions. It's open almost all the time — from morning till midnight every single night of the week.
Fresh from the pans at NOLA Smokehouse in Barangaroo, executive chef Kyle Quy's delivering a menu of familiar favourites, cleverly executed and crafted around local produce and modern techniques. There's coddled eggs with blue swimmer crab in the morning, freshly shucked oysters and salt and vinegar calamari to scoff alongside after-work drinks, and the likes of oxtail tortellini and a three-hour braised lamb shoulder to see you through the evening.
Meanwhile, Vasco's Max Greco lends his award-winning talents to the drinks list, across a range of bespoke cocktails designed to complement Quy's plates. Highlights include sips like the Riverside — made on dill-infused Bombay Sapphire, chamomile, fresh citrus, white chocolate and an absinthe mist — alongside a tight, yet wide-roaming list of wines and a solid little spirits selection.