In the centre of Sydney’s West, a spate of recent openings from Gelato Messina to Jamie’s Trattoria have been jostling for attention in Parramatta. Heading west, we met a friend for a casual lunch at one of these recent additions called The Emporium.
As you step through the busy eatery, you cannot help but feel as though you are traipsing through a modern Mediterranean villa. It is bright, large and airy with beautiful finishes. We were seated in the outdoor garden area, which was fantastic on a sunny day.
We decided to share a few dishes three ways starting with the Baked Eggs. It was a disappointing start for us as the spicy chorizo did not deliver the flavour hit we were expecting, and the high ratio of cannellini beans seemed to overpower the tomato base we were expecting.
Baked Eggs, $16
The dishes picked up from here however as the Parmesan and Herb Polenta (which came looking almost porridge-like) was blended to creamy perfection with the confit egg yolk and sprinkled with crunchy pangritata breadcrumbs. We had the addictive Polenta with a Fried Cauliflower Salad, liberally dosed with a shiny vinaigrette-like sauce. The native currants and pine nuts were a nice way to provide some exotic accents to the dish.
Parmesan and Herb Polenta, $9
Fried Cauliflower Salad, $14
The Slow Cooked Lamb Belly came out next, and although we were slightly skeptical about the small portion size, the soft smoky flesh was extremely moreish. The Mediterranean influence on the menu shone through the use of hummus, smoked paprika, burnt butter and dry olive which gave the overall dish a spicier edge. It left us definitely wishing for more.
Slow Cooked Lamb Belly, $18
To finish off our lunch, we ordered a White Chocolate Sphere (white Death Star anyone?) which was gorgeously presented, served over a bed of macadamia parfait, chocolate and caramel honey wafer. A fascinating and highly technical dish, we were simply overwhelmed with the number of flavours and textures. The sweeter jellies in the sphere mixed with the chocolate and tempered by the more neutral macadamias was a good way to end the meal.
White Chocolate Sphere, $16
This is an eatery which has the potential to turn into a must-visit location for any foodie around the area, with its beautiful decor and interesting dishes. Although they’re not quite hitting their straps yet, the culinary offerings at The Emporium should continue to improve as they continue to settle in.