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Monday, August 27, 2007

La Parrillada, Petersham

Mmm... meat...

If anyone knows meat, it's the South Americans. And so we find ourselves in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shopfront along busy Parramatta Road, La Parrillada, a Peruvian embrace for the carnivore within.

The restaurant is bigger than it first looks. The jukebox in the window obscures your view of the large room at the back, especially the partially raised dance floor, complete with disco lights and shimmering disco ball slowly spinning from the ceiling. Spanish arches line both walls, and there's a riff-raff of mementos including mounted bull horns, wooden house decorations, ornamental plates, an overdose of Christmas lights and even a climbing Santa (late, or early, it's hard to tell).

La Parrillada sauces: tomato sauce, fiery chilli sauce
and mild coriander chilli sauce

A bowl of bread rolls, fresh from the oven and warmed till crusty, is the perfect vehicle for exploring the trio of La Parrillada sauces before us. Quickly we dub the orange one in the centre "novacaine". It's hot but in a strange tongue-numbing way, the embers of heat slowly building in the mouth long after you've swallowed, creating a lingering dullness on the tongue and inner cheek.

The green chilli sauce is mild with the flavour of coriander, garlic and lemon, reminiscent of a salsa verde. The red one is tomato.

Sangria jug $15.00

I'm devastated to hear there is no chicha morada purple corn juice today. No Pisco sour either, a Peruvian cocktail make with Pisco brandy, lemon juice, egg whites, sugar syrup and bitters. The Pisco sour is made only on weekends, we hear.

We console ourselves with a jug of sangria instead, a sweeter-than-normal version of the fruity red wine punch.

French fries

The wait for our food is a little torturous. Thirty minutes isn't a particularly long time to wait, but the smells of charcoal and spitting fat and the sight of diners feasting on sides of cow and chicken carcasses doesn't help the increasingly urgent protests from your grumbling stomach.

But suddenly the chips arrive, golden shards of deep-fried carbohydrate glory, and then the garden salad and then...

Garden salad

MEAT! It's a vegetarian's worst nightmare, but the breakout of lecherous smiles at our table is wholeheartedly carnivorous.

Parrillada Isabella’s Deluxe (for six persons or more) $129.90

Mix of fresh tender pieces of meat: 2x beef sirloin steak, 2x beef T-bone steak,
beef New York steak, 2x pork loin chops, lamb grilled and 2x South American chorizo.

Cooked on a char-grill marinated with a special sauce. Individually served on a
sizzling BBQ on the table accompanied with a garden salad, French fries and
La Parrillada sauces.

Seven of us share the platter of meat for six. It's a feast of carnage. Cow, pig, lamb. We tear into sirloin steak, strips of lamb, and pork chops with skin that's been roasted until crackling.

The chorizo isn't particularly spicy, and the sirloin is a little chewy, but the T-bone is marvellous, soft and tender with crispy skin.

The glowing charcoal beneath our grill seems more for decorative purposes than cooking. Just as well, since we'd ordered ours rare but almost everything had arrived medium-well. And it doesn't take long for us to make short work of it all (about 33 minutes, but who's counting).

We luck out again on the dessert menu too. There's a creme caramel, lucuma ice cream (a South American fruit) and tiramisu, but no leche asada, a traditional baked custard made with milk eggs and sugar.

The consolation prize? Four scoops of gelato from Bar Italia instead.

Pistachio, walnut, hazelnut and coffee gelato $8.00


La Parrillada
470 Parramatta Road, Petersham, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9560 0943

Tuesday to Friday 5.30pm-10pm
Saturday 4pm–11pm
Sunday 4pm–9pm
Closed Mondays

Mariachi band performs on Friday and Saturday nights.

All-you-can-eat beef ribs, pork ribs, charcoal chicken and chorizo
for only $19.90 Tuesdays to Thursdays

Corkage $6 per bottle (wine only)

Bar Italia
169 Norton Street, Leichhardt, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9560 9981

Open 7 days 9am-late
11 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 8/27/2007 10:51:00 pm


  • At 8/28/2007 12:45 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I like La Parrillada, but it is very 'leave the vegetarians at home'. Shame they were out of so many things on your visit. I have always wanted to go back and try their deluxe meat platter (apparently it has more quality cuts)... but now I'll make sure I visit on the weekend!

  • At 8/28/2007 1:16 pm, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    OMG! The t-bone was was soooo good. The crispy fatty edge in particular. Pleasantly surprised as I was expecting meat to be tough.

  • At 8/28/2007 4:36 pm, Blogger Dimitri said…

    Love your blog. Check it all the time (looking at all the pics make me think of dinner. Mmmm, dinner).

    How was the saltiness of the meat? My experience of South American meat has been scarred (literally, my mouth hurt for days) by Gaucho Grill in Kirribilli :S

    But the pictures here look so good! Please tell me the meat isn't too salty! Pretty please?

  • At 8/29/2007 12:18 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Jackie - There were lots of disappointed sighs but yes, we should go again during a weekend for the Pisco sour, although I hear the bigger crowds can make for a smoky tear-inducing experience :)

    Hi Veruca Salt - The T-bone was de-lish. The meat was surprisingly tender even though it was more medium-well than rare.

    Hi Dimitri - Thanks. I'm glad you're enjoying the site.

    Re: salt. I had forgotten to mention that. Yes, it was quite salty but it tended to happen in patches. Some people reported no excess salt. I encountered a few lip tingling mouthfuls. Perhaps you could ask for less salt. It seemed to be sprinkled on, so I'm sure your request could be accommodated.

  • At 8/29/2007 6:32 pm, Blogger case-in-point said…

    Hi Dimitri,

    a group of my friends went there last night, and quite a few of them found their meal too salty. It would be worthwhile to ask for less salt before you order, I reckon.

    Hi Helen,

    Don't know what i'd do without your blog. lol. keep up the good work.

  • At 8/30/2007 6:01 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi case in point - The meat was quite salty but surviveable. I'm sure the kitchen could reduce the salt enthusiasm if requested.

    And thanks :) Glad you find the blog just as tasty as I do!

  • At 11/13/2007 2:51 pm, Blogger leo said…

    i agree with the salty comments its not bad for a feast but way too salty i don't know if it was to encourage people to buy more drinks or what but for a south american myself not bad.


  • At 11/13/2007 11:22 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Leo - The meat is rather salty, such a shame there was no pisco sour to wash it all down on the night we dined :)

  • At 6/05/2008 5:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A fantastic tip, I would never have dared the bus up Parramatta Road past all the wedding shops without a GYF review. I think there was a whole cow between two, it was well seasoned (not just salty) but the sangria now $17 washed it away happily.

  • At 6/07/2008 12:39 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi mr_gimlet - lol. The number of bridal shops has really exploded lately :) Glad you braved the trek (and the bus ride). And yep, there are few things better than half a cow for dinner.

  • At 8/11/2012 2:35 pm, Blogger melissa said…

    I had wanted to go to this restaurant for a very long time and I had seen it on tv. The food served at this restaurant looked amazing. The day we decided to go I had looked at their website and seen a “eat as much as you want” special was available. We called to confirm that it is a buffet and that “the eat as much as you want” special is still available. The worker of the restaurant said yes certainly the special is available. We arrived at 7.30pm and saw no buffet set out we were surprised it looked nothing like “eat as much as you like” we ordered the deluxe meat platter at $110. Also they didn’t have purple corn juice on this day =( After we ordered the waitress asked us how we want our steaks we said medium. She walked away and then two men walked in with ten children the waitress walked over and kiss one of the men. I assume they knew each other. After the two men with all the children were seated about 15 minutes later she walked over and said the deluxe platter isn’t available. We were surprised because about half an hour had passed since we ordered and when we ordered she didn’t tell us that it was unavailable. She told us about the, eat as much as you want special for $23 per person. We said ok. We sit at the table for almost an hour before any food was placed on the table. Finally almost an hour later a tiny bowl of chorizo arrived it was about 7 small and tiny sausages. It was a shock at how less it was. We asked ourselves did it take them an hour to cook these 7 small sausages. We asked for more bread and were amazed when it returned with only two piece of bread. When finally the eat as much as you want platter arrived it was mostly beef ribs which was all fat, sinew, gristle and tough as old boots. All the meat was extremely salty, I could see the salt crystals still on the meat. I only liked the sausages in the eat as much as you want platter. We still couldn’t understand how this was eat as much as you want until she said when you finish your platter of meat if you want more ask me and you will get more. We knew the kitchen closed at 9.30pm the food arrived at 8.30pm. So we gathered by the time we eat the kitchen would probably be closed and we also thought who would want to eat more of this rubbish meat. The other people at our table couldn’t eat most of the meat was it was full of gristle and too tough. Without a doubt we were extremely disappointed especially when after the waitress told us the deluxe platter isn’t available we saw the waitress carrying a deluxe platter to the table with the two men and all the children. We wondered did the waitress lie to us and give the deluxe platter to her friends and not us.


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