49a New Canterbury Road, Petersham was originally Queens Theatre when it opened in 1912. Then it was the Majestic, the Odeon and finally, the Oren; all cinemas under different owners. In the late 1970s it morphed into a roller-skating rink until it fell into a decade or so of sleep. But it has re-awoken: and in another theatrical transformation, has now morphed into Majestic Gourmet Grocers.
Owners Tim and Cheryl Reen, Warren Landsman and Carlos Ascencao have reactivated this elegant space with a wide range of culinary options. The Mercado Europa is a market, delicatessen and providore. “Our concept is for an old European market-style experience,” says Tim.
The entrance is a sumptuous lobby, with 1920s Art Deco stairs and banisters on either side. Draped against the stairwell are potted orchids and cyclamen.
Seasonal fruit and vegetables, gourmet European delights and Australian artisanal products fill the shelves. “We want real, whole food with a focus on back to basics,” Tim says. “Our market creates fresh salads and yoghurts. Our bakers produce a broad range including Portuguese tarts, pastries and sausage rolls.”
The Majestic Harvest restaurant is the eat-in section, open for breakfast, brunch and lunch with dinner and a wine bar to follow later in the year. Inspiration comes largely from Italy, Spain and Portugal (in a nod to the Little Portugal neighbourhood), with dishes such as taleggio and basil scrambled eggs, and beef carpaccio with rocket, truffle and parmesan for lunch. Add fish and chips and New York sandwiches, and you can see Majestic Gourmet Grocers has grand plans.
In the future the restaurant on the first floor will be a site for functions and gatherings.