With a seasonally driven menu inspired by Mediterranean cuisine and an aesthetically pleasing space to dine, Willo brings something more refined Parramatta.
Sydney’s humble Parramatta is going through quite the development with high-rise buildings taking over the city. Along with it comes a bunch of new restaurants and bars, and we are quite impressed by Willo which has opened on Smith Street. With ceiling-high glass windows wrapped around the building, you are able to glace into the space from the thoroughfare. From tan leather seating, marble-like textures and chromatic hues, to a spacious bar area and an arched open-style kitchen around the dining room, we quickly notice this isn’t your usual restaurant in the area – Parramatta has gone boujee!
Step inside and the service only validates that this dining experience is more refined, with dapper waiters guiding you to your table. There is a continuous loop of deep house music buzzing through the restaurant, instantly putting you in a good mood and helping you fast-track into weekend mode. Whether you are treating colleagues to lunch, having a post-work tipple at the bar, or having a date night, Willo is sure to impress before you have reached for the menu.
Chef Justin Le is at the helm of the kitchen putting up dishes that draw influence from Mediterranean cuisine. With a combination of fresh, seasonal Australian produce and ingredients sourced directly from lesser-known providores in Italy, he has a basis to create high-quality dishes. The menu is designed to share in true Mediterranean style with a selection of smaller plates and larger dishes.
A glass of champagne and a selection of cured meats is the ideal way to whet your appetite. The Meat Platter features an incredible selection of cured meats that hit your tongue like fairy floss, including the Pork & Fennel Salami De Palma, Wagyu Bresaola, Bertocchi Gold Pistachio Mortadella and Galloni Gold Label Prosciutto.
Starter highlights include the House Baked Sourdough with freshly whipped truffle butter, Zucchini Flowers with grated parmigiana and truffle honey, 115g of burrata straight from Italy with juicy tomatoes, aromatic basil and pine nuts, and the Baby Pork Ribs with roasted capsicum and zesty lemon.
Moving onto larger dishes, the 350g Ranger’s Valley Scotch Fillet was cooked to medium perfection with mixed herb butter served atop. The Crispy Baked Potatoes with fried eschalot, sour cream and chives is the perfect pairing. There’s also a House Made Ravioli with Hidden Valley ricotta, burnt butter, pumpkin puree and amaretti that excited our taste buds.
Dessert is not to be missed with a highlight including the Rice Espuma which takes a certain Asian flare with fermented rice sorbet, kiwi and wattleseed. If you are someone who loves olives and would like to try an innovative dessert, we recommend asking the waiters for a scoop of Kalamata Olive Gelato with a brownie biscuit base. This dish is what we would describe as the Italian take on salted caramel, and you will be addicted to every spoonful.
The Willo bar offers a boutique experience with a selection of signature cocktails, and a premium selection of wines, beers and spirits sourced both locally and internationally. Our preferred drinking method is to pull up a seat at the bar and let the bartender create a bespoke cocktail to suit your tastes.
We were truly impressed by this experience and recommend a visit should you want to venture out of the big smoke. Find out more and book your table at Willo here.