Despite having lived in Sydney my whole life, it never fails to astound me at the little nooks and crannies you stumble upon – softly lit hole in wall cafes, underground bars fragrant with incense or rooftop bars bathed in late afternoon sunlight. Really, I think Sydney gives Melbourne a run for its money at times!
After a particularly vexing morning in Parramatta, I was coming back into the city and decided that a nice lunch before I went back to my desk would be just the thing to refresh me. It was on the way back to the office, along Market Street, that I found this little gem.
Parlour Lane Roasters is part of the eclectic QT Hotels chain, with the newly-hatted Gowings Bar and Grill upstairs, alongside the very chic Gilt Bar. Their little cafe is nestled beside their street level entrance, beside the iconic State Theatre building. They have retained as much of the original theatrical decor as possible, with the beautiful golden-hued old-fashioned light fittings, tiles, furniture, various theatre paraphernalia on display in glass cabinets, complete with the ornate doors of the antique theatre lift (no longer in use but now serving as a workshop).
You also can’t help but giggle at the cheeky touches they have added to give it their own retro signature – particularly their bar stools.
Parlour Lane is a cafe by day and a wine bar by night, and I was here for lunch with Persian Princess. We decided to go halves on two of the lunch menu items. In the meantime, she sipped on a Lemon Lime Bitters ($4), while I had an Allpress regular-sized skim latte ($3.50).
You’re given charming number blocks when you make your order at the bar.
Our Parlour Beef Burger ($12) was the first to arrive, and they had taken note of my request for sharing and had neatly cut the burger in half and brought it out on two plates.
With a fairly lean pasture-fed beef patty, fried onions, American cheese, shredded iceberg lettuce and thickly cut tomato, it was a delicious combination sandwiched between two slices of buttery brioche. The brioche buns and other breads are purchased by the cafe from Sonoma. The refreshingly crunchy house-made pickle was served on the side with the shoestring fries and tomato sauce for people that prefer their burgers sans pickles. You can also request iceberg lettuce on the side if you don’t like it in your burger.
We had also ordered the Chicken Soup ($6), which I had seen on the specials board outside the cafe.
The twice-cooked chicken soup was a flavoursome, clear and soothing broth, with Matzah balls, organic carrots, sorrel and grilled bread on the side. I had never had Matzah balls and I was enchanted by these doughy dumplings which had absorbed the wholesome flavour of the soup.
I would have liked to have tried one of the cafe pastries as they are made by the on-site pastry chef, but I was quite full and any more food would have resulted in a food coma in the office! Maybe another time – and I’ll definitely be going back because Parlour Lane is offering bloggers free coffee and high speed wi-fi seven days a week. Just show your blogger business card or your blog! It’s the perfect little place to escape from the bustle of the city, unwind and to be inspired by the historic architecture and creative atmosphere.
Parlour Lane Roasters
47 Market Street,
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9373 6600