You can almost forget how majestic the street-level entry of Market Street’s QT hotel is. It’s nearly hidden – or at least the busy traffic that rushes past is a loud distraction, drawing your eye away from the beautiful historic space.
The arrival of Parlour Cucina gives you a new reason to stop and take in the scene. It’s taken over Parlour Lane Roasters and transformed the space into an all-day Italian eatery.
QT Hotel and Resort’s creative food director Robert Marchetti says the venue takes inspiration from the “free-spirited essence” of Milan’s 1960s cafe scene. He worked with QT Sydney executive chef Michael Box to create the menu. “On my last trip to Sydney I noticed there was a need for classic old-world Italian flavours in a setting that was relaxed yet elegant and took you back to another era,” Marchetti tells Broadsheet. “I wanted Parlour Cucina to have a warm glow and feel like it's always been there.”
It does, in part because the original ceilings, walls and fixtures are still there, as well as a set of 1929 glass display cabinets, chosen by Sydney fashion label Romance Was Born. The heritage features date back to when the site was the State Shopping Block, Australia’s first vertical shopping centre. “[It’s] such a cool way for guests to embrace the old new world we’ve created”, says Marchetti. The intimate space also features a few modern touches, such as a burnished bar and leather banquette seating.
From 6am, Parlour Cucina is serving espresso by The Little Marionette (with milk varieties including hemp and date) alongside dishes such as panini di patate (potato bread) with truffled eggs, pancetta, Asiago cheese and lemon spinach, and seeded macadamia-millet granola with coconut yoghurt and steamed fruit.
At lunch and dinner, expect simple and fresh produce in classic Italian dishes such as beef carpaccio, four-cheese arancini or burrata with walnut pesto – all of which are available during aperitivo hour as well. There’s also six-hour slow-cooked lamb ragu rigatoni and bowls of pasta shells stirred through tomato vodka sauce.
The vino list was pulled together by QT Hotels group wine director Chris Morrison and it’s got lots of Italian blends and Aussie options. There are some interesting inclusions, too, like cult natural-wine producer Radikon. It’s an apt setting to order such a delicious, special wine.
49 Market Street, Sydney
Mon to Fri 6.30am–10pm