Western Sydney's biggest annual food festival begins today, with four nights of delicious bites, live music and art installations spread across Parramatta's streets and laneways.
More than 50 eateries and bars will descend upon the second CBD for the seventh Parramatta Lanes festival.
"Our vision is to create a menu that is colourful and celebrates the diversity of western Sydney. We do this by curating a broad selection of high-quality eateries that will complement the art and music program, and the theme of each site," City of Parramatta’s lord mayor Andrew Wilson told Broadsheet.
Across 14 precincts (up from last year's 12), you’ll find Indian restaurant Chatkazz; Malaysian-Singaporean eatery Temasek; and Uncle Kurt's, Parramatta’s original small bar. Superior Burger, based in Wakeley, will also be serving its legendary burgers.
On Aird Street, expect an impressive line-up of hip-hop and R’n’B tunes from up-and-comers Lil Spacely and Dobby (presenter of FBi radio’s Sunset program); while over at Centenary Square, there’s workshops on salsa, Bollywood and ’80s dance.
A number of Parramatta Lanes art installations have an environmental message, such as Message in a Bottle (featuring upcycled plastics) in Batman Walk, and Zara Pasfield’s colourful Love Birds (where members of the public can pledge to reduce their plastic use).
Mitch Orr, head chef of Rushcutters Bay’s ACME), is Parramatta Lanes’ ambassador and is excited to share the diversity of western Sydney.
“The food and art scene in Parramatta is really on a fast track at the moment,” he told Broadsheet. “The growth and emergence of young creative, as well as interest from those more established, show how untapped and hungry the area is.”
Orr has also helped curate the stall menu for Two Good Co.. The social enterprise provides meals to women who have experienced domestic violence, as well as training them in kitchen and hospitality skills. When you buy a plate – perhaps the Heavenly Noodles (fried vermicelli, cauliflower and shiitake mushrooms with a ginger-soy dressing) or the barbeque chicken adobo with garlic rice – they'll provide a meal to someone in need.
Festival-goers are encouraged to bring their own water bottles and use the Sydney Water refill stations. All bars will have clean and reusable cups, too.
Parramatta Lanes is at Centenary Square, Church Street, from October 9 until 12 from 5pm until late.