I don’t know what took us so long to visit La Parrillada, to the best of my knowledge one of the oldest Peruvian restaurants in Sydney. They don’t advertise themselves as offering typical Peruvian cuisine because there are only a few traditional dishes in their menu. Instead, they say the do Latin American BBQ.
With so many good American-style, Argentinian, Brazilian and Korean BBQ restaurants around you may ask why bother going to that lifeless highway called Parramata Road? For me, the answer is simple: to feel at home. The minute my sister and I stepped in the restaurant, we were magically transported to the other side of the world. The decoration (a mix of bits and pieces: fabrics, posters, hand-painted decorative plates, a zampoña), the music, most of the patrons, and of course, the staff, were as authentically Peruvian as pisco.
We were warmly greeted (service is stellar) and given the menu, tucked in a beautifully carved leather cover. Traditional items in the menu include salchipapa (sliced frankfurters mixed with potato chips – I know there’s nothing Peruvian about it but it’s “typical” street food), anticuchos de carne (marinated beef kebabs – traditionally made with heart but they use rib steak), crema volteada (crème caramel), lúcuma ice cream, Inca Kola (the local soft drink), chicha morada (purple corn drink) and pisco sour (pisco, lime, egg white & syrup cocktail). We didn’t have any of those (but we’ll try the anticuchos next time!)
Instead, we ordered the parrillada for 2 persons: over 1.5 kilos of meat, including beef spare ribs, pork spare ribs, pork loin chops, beef sirloin steak, lamb griller, and South American chorizo. It’s served with garden salad, chips and sauces. We told the waitress we didn’t want the chips; she automatically offered double salad. Talk about great customer service!
Along with the sauces arrived four complimentary mini chorizos, some bread rolls and butter. We enjoyed the chorizos and the butter while sipping on a great organic Malbec that Gladys brought.
Complimentary bread & butter
The sauces were the classic mayo, ketchup, vinaigrette-style and ají amarillo (yellow chilli). The chilli sauce was amazing, we asked for a refill (I was tempted to ask for a takeaway batch!)
Complimentary mini chorizos & sauces
The salad, as ordinary as it may sound deserves a special mention. While it wasn’t the most creative salad ever (iceberg lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion, capsicum), the dressing took us closer to home than an airplane ticket. If you’re not Peruvian that doesn’t mean much; if you’re Peruvian I guarantee an immediate response in the long-term memory section of your brain.
The meats were very good, some better than others in terms of tenderness, but all equally tasty. My favourite was the lamb, followed by the chorizo. We’re big eaters but we were defeated by the size of the meal (in my defense, I had pigged out in the food bloggers picnic earlier) and returned home with doggie bags.
Parrillada (for 2 persons) ($59.90)
If you decide to try it, keep in mind that while all meats are sourced from quality purveyors, they’re all grain-fed. Also, the restaurant only accepts cash, it’s BYO (wine only) and corkage is $6 per bottle. Finally, if you like salsa music, Gilberto Santa Rosa will be in the house this year for the Independence Day celebration (should be around July 28).
470 Parramatta Rd
Petersham NSW 2049
(02) 9560 0943