Published on December 22nd, 2009 | by Gareth0
Back in October when we first moved to Sydney we lived very close to Leichhardt, the cities Italian district. You first notice the Italian influence walking along the somewhat run down Parramatta road, the concentration of wedding dress shops fronted by manequins festooned in ostentatious mediterranean style bride dresses give it away. Either that or by the time you turn onto Norton St practically every building is either a cafe or a purveyor of Italian cuisine, with many of the guests sporting national Italian dress – black designer sunglasses, big hair and a gold handbag, they enage in passionate discussion in the language of the old country, with an Aussie twang.
We wander into the Italian forum which is essentially a collection of boutique designer clothes shops and restaurants which are of course Italian. The main area is a relatively accuate recreation of a piazza,the ground level of the square is restaurants, cafes and gelato parlours which are surrounded by tall residential terraces, quite pleasant.
We navigate past several restaurants, trying to glance at the menu’s outside without actually looking at them so as not to alert the waiters at the entrance who will then automatically turn on their sales pitch. This invariable involves a them offering you a free glass of wine or a starter if you eat there, apparently because they like you. We find a place called La Giara, it looks pleasant tucked away in the corner, the waitress is friendly and patient but not pushy.
We have the boccini brusheta, mushroom gnocci and grilled chicken. The brusheta is a winner from the first mouthfall, toasted turkish bread with olive tapenade, chopped roma tomatoes, boccini cheese and fresh basil. Its one of those starters that taste so good you want it for a main too.The main courses of chicken and gnocci are simple but tasty with generous portions.
All in all La Giara offers great value and a nice quiet place to eat. And if you walk back onto Norton st tot he entrance of the shopping centre there is a gelato bar that I thouroughly recommend – great service with an even better selecton of flavours.
La Giarra, The Italian Forum, Shop 35, 23 Norton St, Leichhardt. Tel (02) 9518 3455