A tribute to the food-loving city of Parma.
There’s plenty to get excited about at Parma, but let’s set expectations. No, there’s no dedication to chicken parma, veal parma or any such fiery “parma’geddon” akin to Melbourne’s Mrs Parma.
Instead, this gleaning new Italian corner bistro is a tribute to the food-loving city of Parma. It’s that city in Emilia-Romagna known for hosting one of the world’s oldest universities, for producing of those coveted ham shavings known as prosciutto di Parma, and for your exy wedges of Parmigiano Reggiano, inexpensive bags of Barilla pasta and an entire economy of small food producers.
So with that in mind, at Crown Street’s Parma, there’s a strong focus on housemade pastas, plus quality local and Italian produce – abetted by the fact that co-owner Paul Carageorge has long served as a distributor of Italian products. Here, he’s teamed up with café operator and co-owner Stanley Awrahan, and Sicilian chef Alessandro Vinci-Cannava.
Parma is a bright, wraparound-glass space, where black-and-beech tables are surrounded by glossy-white metal chairs, and long benches line the windows, padded with pillows whose interesting designs include sketches of Andy Warhol. There’s also a full-wall mural of a Brooklyn neighbourhood streetscape… which, erm, has nothing to do with Italy. That’s on purpose, says Awrahan, explaining that they want to steer clear of any Italian clichés.
To get the best sense of Parma, climb the stairs to the upstairs dining room, where you can watch the pasta making in the open kitchen. Among the specialties is a slow-roasted duck lasagne with porcini, cooked in the pizza oven. There’s a touch of the chef’s seafood-loving Palermo roots in the swordfish involtini, rolled with pine nutes, ricotta, semi-dried tomatoes and parsley pesto. We’re also curious about the seasonal veggies fried in batter intriguingly made with Prosecco – Italy’s popular sparkling wine – and served with a bagna cauda (anchovy and garlic) dip. Oh year, and there are tradition pizzas as well, cooked in a thin, crispy-dough style.
Want more? Check out the salumi plates and antipasti, plus housemade bruschette and creative sweets like a chestnut panna cotta. Add a small but sold Italian and Australian wine list, a cin-cin-worthy cocktail list, and a fun brunch menu on weekends, and Parma is showing itself to be a paisan to be welcomed. Bueno sera, you hungry Crown Street shoppers and Surry Hillsbillies.
Where: 285A Crown St, Surry Hills
Hours: Tue-Fri noon-10pm | Sat 8am-11pm | Sun 9am-9pm
Phone: (02) 9332 4974