Parramatta is 30 minutes west on the train from Sydney CBD or take the scenic route on the Parramatta River Ferry, operating from Darling Harbour and Circular Quay.
Sydney’s west is a dynamic city, hub for food, culture, beautiful parks and colonial sites. You’ll even be amazed by the shopping, events, streets festivals and theatre shows.
I decided to catch the train to Parramatta Station and go for a walk along Church St. Church St is also known as Eat Street, an indoor and outdoor dining hub. 10 minutes later, I arrived at my hotel, opposite Riverside Theatre and adjacent to the Parramatta River.
The moment I arrived, I instantly noticed the little touches that made this hotel’s customer service different to others. Sure, it was a very humid day and I decided to walk down. A bottle of water upon arrival at reception, the service I saw at the bar given to a couple with directions to certain places and the polite smile as a member of staff walks past.
Novotel Sydney Parramatta has 194 rooms hiding behind the glass landmark with views of Prince Alfred Park. Each room is designed with modern finishes and splashes of red. As I entered into my Superior King Room, the plus king-size gel infused memory foam bed was calling my name. Each room has the usual work desk, internet, pay-per-view movies and mini-fridge. The room was big enough to fit in a chaise lounge and space to do in-room yoga (yoga mats available from reception)
As it was such a hot day, I ventured to level 2 to the In-Balance Gym for a 5km jog/walk on the treadmill and some weights to make myself feel a little better. Then headed for a cool dip in the pool. The pool area was not was I was expecting – little small and no view, but spacious entertainment space but with prying eyes of the residential building tower across the road. That didn’t stop me from ordering from the pool menu for a pineapple cocktail and a fruit platter.
I had a few hours to kill before I headed down to dinner at 350 Restaurant and Lounge. So I headed back to my hotel room to soak in the bathtub and tuck into the cheese platter and bottle of red wine that sat idle on my desk.
To my surprise and delight, 350 Restaurant & Lounge is under the watchful creation of Executive Chef Kiki Kikki. I met Chef Kiki during his time as Sous Chef at the acclaimed Bacar Restaurant at Pullman Sydney Olympic Park. The menu comprises of a Western and Asian fusion mix, a blend that caters to the diverse culture of Parramatta.
Chef Kikki has always been a hands-on approach to his method of cooking and leadership. Allowing his brigade to demonstrate their skills and menu suggestions.
On the table this evening:
Confit Pork Belly ($14.50) served with apple puree, granny smith salad & balsamic glaze
Pan Seared Tiger Prawns (14.50) with brioche loaf, spinach & beurre blanc
Thorne Clarke ‘Sandpiper’ Chardonny ($10)
Tasting notes: pork belly was cooked well and had a hint of crackling. As we know pork and apple goes hand-in-hand. The Granny Smith shaved apple and a drizzle of the balsamic glaze made the dish refreshing. The Pan Seared Tiger Prawns with the brioche loaf wasn’t to my taste. It was almost like having eggs benedict without the egg. The brioche made the dish a little sweet and the bread a little soggy – perhaps a different type of bread to have it crispy/toasty.
Confit Duck ($33) served with bok choy, tomato, red curry sauce & jasmine rice
Cake Pinto Noir ($10)
Tasting notes: I really enjoyed this dish, however I had noticed three other tables mentioned the curry was a little spicy. It did pack a punch and I was quite temptd to order more rice to help settle the heat.
Bake Yellow Peaches ($13.50) with coconut crumble & lemon sorbet
Tasting notes: not quite what I thought it would look like, I thought it would be in a ceramic ramekin with the crumble on top. It was a delicious deconstructive dish, where the coarse breadcrumbs had subtle hints of coconut and the baked peach was tender and tasted of golden syrup.
Parramatta is the ideal place to stay to explore all the Greater Sydney has to offer. Something to note aswell, families staying at Novotel Sydney Parramatta with two kids under 16 years* (*share the same room) eat breakfast for free and 5pm late checkout on Sundays where possible.