Parma Cucina
285A Crown St
Surry Hills, Sydney

Parma Cucina sits right on the corner of Crown and Campbell Streets in Surry Hills. It's a popular and therefore busy place and deceptively big as its seating wraps around the corner inside and it also has an upstairs area as well. It has a nice cosy rustic feel to it with metal chairs with timber seats, painted brick walls and long lounges with scatter cushions giving it a calm relaxed atmosphere.

A lovely way to start any Italian meal is with a glass of prosecco - particularly with a strawberry garnish -  reminiscent of "Pretty Woman" for Mlady. The new Autumn/Winter menu looks very appealing. Why not start with a bowl of tossed warm mixed olives with garlic, chilli, rosemary and olive oil to get the food side moving and the tasty crispy crouton-like bread pieces add even more to the flavourfest. The quality and flavours were excellent.

The Parma House antipasto has got to be the best antipasto we've ever had - amazing! What arrived had it all - and more. It had Nduja (as an extra we think of quite spicy salumi), cured beef, cured pork, hard cows cheese, soft sheep cheese, char grilled eggplant, char grilled zucchini, asparagus, char grilled mushrooms, char grilled sweet potato, warm chick-pea fritters, smoked salmon, marinated olives and a garnish and lemon wedges. A side of house made focaccia and some grissini sticks also accompanied this massive and delicious dish. This had such a wow factor and presentation was just as spectacular as the taste, with fantastic colours across the whole platter. We were hard pressed to know where to start and it was almost a meal for two on its own!

My main course was the Parma signature dish of Lasagne D'Antara - slow roasted duck and porcini mushroom lasagna topped with Parmesan shavings and cooked in the pizza oven. I was always going to order this as soon as I saw it on the menu! It was delicious - and such a generous serving as well. The combination of duck and porcini was a marriage made in heaven and the preparation and presentation was again well done. Mlady decided on soft braised barramundi with cherry tomatoes, olives, capers in a white wine sauce served with a crunchy vegetable salad and mint. It was a bit like barramundi fillets cacciatore - but with a crisp vegetable salad on top. The fish was perfectly cooked and just melted in the mouth and the combinations worked incredibly well. The wafer thin slices of carrot and celery on top mixed in well with the rich tangy sauce. A glass of Italian Chianti washed it all down perfectly.

We were so full by the end of the main courses we had to debate on whether to order dessert - which isn't a common thing with us - or at least not common with me!

I had the tiramisu - what a serving and so so light. This was also one of the best I've ever had and it was made in house.

The serving size was enormous - it could have served two people - and I still finished it - oink!

Mlady had the Rocher. It was ferrero rocher cheese cake with vanilla gelato and a split ferrero rocher to top it off.

She said it was heavenly and she hadn't tasted anything like it.

Presentation was again lovely and the vanilla gelato was also beautiful.
We finished it all off with a glass each of Recioto Valpollicella - a lovely Italian dessert wine that was a perfect end to a wonderful meal. Parma Cucina is a quality restaurant at very affordable prices. Every course was excellent as was the service from Mario, Julia and Elio and this is a MUST VISIT restaurant for quality Italian food.  

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Parma Cucina. Many thanks to Stanley Awraham and to chef Jonathan Fontecchio. 

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