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Monday, August 17, 2009

Parramatta Park Cafe, Parramatta, Sydney

Is there anything as interesting to read about than food? Apparently so. People also love to read about cats, weddings, and reality tv...

Saturday morning saw ten female bloggers meet for the first ever lunch by Blog Chicks, an online networking forum for Australian female bloggers. The forum is hosted by Leigh, who also puts together the list of Top 100 Australian Female Bloggers, updated every month.

We were a mixed group of women, all warm, friendly and articulate. It was a great afternoon spent in like-minded company, finding out what had prompted others to start their blog, what opportunities it had uncovered, and the intricacies of managing time, partners and work.

Food bloggers were well represented with Chocolatesuze, Jen, Shez and I waving our forks. Also in attendance were Lucy from Chief Bridesmaid, Leigh from Crazy Meezer, Marilyn from Live first, write later, Laura from LR Kane, Trish from My Little Drummer Boys, Emma from Reality Ravings and Liz from Savvy Cat.

I was fascinated to hear that Leigh has been provided with a Renault Koleos for a month to test-drive and blog about. The success of Lucy's tips on how to organise a wedding on a budget in the UK (she's only recently transplanted to Sydney), has seen her appear on BBC2, and filming recently wrapped for her own series on cable channel weddingtv (due to air in early 2010).

Flat white $3.30 with extra shot 30c

We met at the Parramatta Park Cafe, chosen primarily for its ease of parking. It's a huge expanse of greenery that I haven't ever visited before, its one-way road reminding me of Centennial Park.

There's a welcomed sense of tranquility at the cafe. We're at an outdoor table tucked away behind the back of the building, and the sprawling views of green and the twitter of birds in the trees couldn't be further away from the chaos of traffic and shoppers at Parramatta Westfield only a few blocks away.

Avocado smoothie $5.50 and
Vanilla milkshake with malt $5.10

Although we are ten people, our drinks do seem to take a little long to arrive. My extra strong flat white is reasonably smooth with enough of a caffeine kick. I've also ordered the avocado smoothie out of curiosity - it's not as strongly flavoured or rich as the Vietnamese version I'm used to, more like a thickshake that seems to taste more of honey than avocado.

Salt and pepper calamari $16.50
tossed with seasoned Besan flour

It was strange at first to hear us collectively labelled as "the food bloggers", but when our cameras come out, it becomes quite obvious we're a unique species of our own. I can't help pleading with Laura as she's about to put her fork into her pasta, "wait a sec, I need to take a photo!"

Everyone obligingly allows their meals to be photographed. Oh food bloggers, they do amuse!

Big Breakfast $18.00
Two eggs, bacon, tomato, mushrooms, hash brown and toast

Grilled prawn pasta $16.50
with chilli, lime and basil

Grilled barramundi $19.00
with a macadamia crust on sauteed spinach, capsicum, tomato and feta

Chicken quesadilla $16.50
Folded flour tortilla filled with grilled chicken, Spanish onion
and cheese lightly toasted and topped with sour cream

Steak sandwich $17.50 with extra cheese
with roasted mushrooms, rocket and beetroot relish with chips

Is it obvious that this was ordered by cheeselover Chocolatesuze?

Open BBQ chicken burger $16.50
with lettuce, tomato, avocado and aioli with chips

I go for the open bbq chicken burger, the chicken breast fillet a touch dry but easily fixed with the aioli, tomato, avocado and healthy splodge of barbecue sauce.

We talk for so long that most of us also find room for dessert.


Baby chocolate pudding

Baby chocolate puddings are the most popular, the centres filled with a gooey middle and covered in chocolate sauce.

Banana cake

Chocolate tart

Shez's chocolate tart is rich and almost fudgy in consistency. There's a pleasing bitterness to it.

Magnum Almond, Paddle Pop frozen thickshake and Mother

Chocolatesuze and I take advantage of the ice cream fridge instead. She's not so taken with the frozen chocolate thickshake but I revel in the simply joy of a Magnum Almond.

A great afternoon and much fun to meet fellow female bloggers. Thank you Leigh for organising!

View Parramatta Park Cafe in a larger map
Parramatta Park Cafe on Urbanspoon

Parramatta Park Cafe
Parramatta Park, Byrnes Avenue
(enter from corner of Pitt and Macquarie Streets)
Parramatta, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9630 0144

Opening hours
Monday to Friday 8am - 3.30pm
Saturday and Sunday 8am - 4pm

Breakfast available all day
Lunch served 11.30am - 3pm
Licensed (beer and wines)
10% surcharge on public holidays

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Parramatta - Hooters
Parramatta - Temasek (Jan 09) and (May08)
14 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 8/17/2009 02:05:00 am


  • At 8/17/2009 7:15 am, Anonymous Simon said…

    What's the deal with the single rocket leaf on both the big breakfast and Suze's steak sandwich?

    The salt & pepper calamari looks real nice!

  • At 8/17/2009 8:57 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    How interesting! Looks like a fantastic meetup and it's so interesting to see how far blogging can take you-test driving cars, how lucky! Thanks for linking, I added my blog to the directory :)

  • At 8/17/2009 11:46 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    @simon lol my sandwich did have more than 1 piece of rocket it was just hiding under the relish. great catching up dude and was awesome meeting everyone!

  • At 8/17/2009 5:56 pm, Anonymous Fiona said…

    Now that I'm seeing all the food I'm even more jealous :p Though I don't think I would have gone near the car! eeps

  • At 8/17/2009 7:52 pm, Anonymous Marilyn said…

    I've been a westie all my life and I never knew about the park or the cafe!

    It was a great afternoon, especially meeting you and the other bloggers. I could have stayed longer, there was no shortage of things to talk about was there?

    Thanks for the link, and those gorgeous photos. My husband had a look to see what he missed.

  • At 8/17/2009 9:33 pm, Anonymous Arwen from Hoglet K said…

    Parramatta park has a lot of memories since I used to walk there so much, but I never ate at the cafe. The blogger meet up sounds like a great way to meet new people.

  • At 8/17/2009 10:15 pm, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    sounds like a great catchup. I wonder if they'll be a Blog Blocks meet up one day. i'm predicting it'll be at a pub of some sort :-)

  • At 8/17/2009 10:23 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I had a bad experience here, they charged me more than they should, be a enquired about it, they feigned ignorance!! I HATE being ripped off, anyway they dot have much of a menu which is disappointing

  • At 8/17/2009 10:38 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Those baby chocolate puddings look like so much win!! And wow great variety of different blogs! Disappointing there isn't a male equivalent -___-

  • At 8/17/2009 11:35 pm, Blogger mishmashmosh said…

    The BBQ Chicken burger is making me feel so hungry right now. XD I can smell it now, and almost taste it!

  • At 8/18/2009 1:36 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Simon - You spent a lot of time looking at these photos didn't you? lol.

    The S&P calamari did look good!

    Hi Stephcookie - Great to hear you've added yourself to the directory. I am sure there will be more meet-ups. It was quite fascinating listening to what other people were up to.

    Hi chocolatesuze - I think you should start another blog called cheesesuze. lol

    Hi Fiona - The meet-up was fun - always good to hang out with fellow blog chicks :)

    Hi Marilyn - I hope your hubby got hungry! Was lovely to meet you too, and yes, plenty of conversation happening. Even better, lots of food :)

    Hi Arwen - I never even realised such a huge park existed but then I'm not often in Parramatta! The meet-up was fun, would definitely recommend others come along next time.

    Hi Simon Food Favourites - Hah, you could always organise a male version!

    Hi Anon - A shame to hear about your experience, although I would've thought a comparison between the bill and the menu would've fixed matters? I thought the menu was quite comprehensive for a cafe.

    Hi FFichiban - I think you and Simon Food Favourites should start a Blog Blokes groups. Do it! Do it!

    Hi mishmashmoosh - The BBQ chicken burger was a filling breakfast and lunch. lol. Hope you didn't drool too much on your keyboard :)

  • At 8/18/2009 2:22 am, Blogger gloness said…

    I love the pix, they are very droo-able. Your food blog makes me wanna move to Australia so bad!!

  • At 8/18/2009 9:10 pm, Anonymous Simon said…

    That doesn't answer my question though.

    At least you know I don't skim... :)

  • At 8/19/2009 2:09 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi gloness - Thank you and ha, perhaps you could just come for a visit? :)

    Hi Simon - I think you're asking the wrong person, and lol, nah that only proves you look at the pictures a lot!


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