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A wake-up call to Parramatta’s dining scene – Italian Street Kitchen and Hunter & Barrel.

Given our appreciation for how Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group is channelling its alchemy via The Meat & Wine Co and 6 Head Sydney incarnations, we could not help but get mildly excited when word around the campfire had that its portfolio was to be expanded into George St Parramatta, with the simultaneous openings of Italian Street Kitchen and Hunter & Barrel, thereby adding another string to the bow of the company's vision to complement Western Sydney's dining precinct by providing a diverse selection of premium experiences, catering for both lunch and dinner service.

Now, Italy is a country that feels comfortingly familiar for many, yet beyond the clichés lies a complexity and variety that’s perpetually surprising.


While there have been many restaurant closures in Sydney from ambitious upstarts to legends shutting down their doors due to the economic downturn, Italian restaurants are not just surviving but seem to be positively thriving and while Italian cuisine tends to be a known commodity, these are not the heavy, greasy, cliched Italian-Australian restaurants of a generation ago but true Italian restaurants, offering the type of authenticity and quality that this economy demands.


Enter Italian Street Kitchen, by Isabella (ISK), which is geared towards bringing authentic Italian cuisine with a twist to Western Sydney.


Following seven established locations in Sydney, Perth & Brisbane, with further expansions planned in Dubai, the Parramatta venue embodies the culture and ideals of present-day Italy and serves up to 150 guests, both indoor and outdoor, year-round, across lunch and dinner, all week.


With an extensive bar featuring timeless Italian classics such as Negroni, or a range of Isabella’s twists on Spritz, aperitivo and mocktails, it proves to be the perfect venue for after-work drinks.

Real authentic Italian cuisine is all about simplicity and maximizing the natural flavours of the main ingredients with most authentic Italian recipes only using a few ingredients yet bursting with bold flavours, with herbs and spices being used minimally.


Given Giulio Marchese’s, Italian Street Kitchen’s Head Chef, appreciation for authentic Italian cucina povera recipes that have been passed down within from within his family, his cooking is purely about bringing out the essential flavour of the food with light cooking techniques and seasoning combinations that proud Nonnas have used for many hundreds of years, so it is not further wondrous that ISK’s menu is bejewelled with recipes that are personalized variations of traditional favourites.


Isabella’s pizza is an example par excellence for bold flavours based on just a few ingredients, with house-made dough using a bespoke flour blend from Provenance Flour in NSW being fermented for 72 hours, before being topped with tomatoes sourced from Northern Italy region.


Fresh, in-season ingredients are essential to ISK producing the perfect bouquet of flavours no matter if you opt for the slow-cooked Lamb Ragu Casarecce pasta, with horseradish and pecorino cheese; the Crab Ravioli served in a seafood bisque with roasted cherry tomato, basil and chili or the 'Fatto in Casa' range, which celebrates the artisan craft of hand-made fresh pasta every day.


What accentuates the dining experience at the Parramatta incarnation of Italian Street Kitchen is that the dedicated and engaging hosts effortlessly manage to make it family oriented, with the actual dining experience being as much a part of the dinner as the food itself.


Feel like changing gears?


Let’s enter a time machine to catapult us back into an era of subsistence lifestyle that relies on hunting and fishing animals along with foraging for wild vegetation and other nutrients.


Co-existing with Parramatta's Italian Street Kitchen next door, Hunter & Barrel is a place that attacks your hunger with huge chunks of meat, hefty plates of vegetables and well-made barrel-aged cocktails that could hold their own in a bar fight.


Despite the name being an homage to the rudimentary ancestral hunter-gatherer lifestyle, Hunter & Barrel offers an elegant dining experience with meat being the undeniable star and beasts of land, sea and sky being roasted until bronzed and glistening.

With the air being infused with deeply savoury aromas from succulently juicy coal roasted meats, mouth-watering sides and its signature ‘Skewered’ program, Hunter & Barrel proves to be the place where opulence meets sophistication, especially when it comes to high class barrel-aged craft spirits alongside a carefully curated progressive selection of libations.


In line with the well-established Hunter & Barrel brand and its proven ethos, the newly opened Parramatta venue delivers a unique communal feasting experience with inclusive service, where vibes can be felt expressed through the way the flavourful food is cooked, presented, and served, all leading up to rich and decadent desserts to round out a scrumptious experience.


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Words by AW.

Photos courtesy of Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group.

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