A guide to the Sydney Suburb which I call home and a walk through its multicultural offering - Fairfield.
I grew up in the suburb of Fairfield, so this Foodie Guide comes with a lot of thought and care, as it is a guide into my childhood memories. A lot has changed since I lived in the area, but some establishments keep shining bright and producing the excellent food that they did years ago when I lived in postcode 2165. If you plan on heading out to Fairfield, I’d recommend a weekday or Saturday as a lot of shops are closed on a Sunday, and you want to get the full experience of this hustling and bustling suburb.
Theo and Margarita’s Cecinas - 205 Hamilton Rd, Fairfield NSW 2165
People always ask me where we get our meat for our big Chilean asados, the answer is always “El Theo’s” . A great Chilean butcher established in 1986 in Australia, with 3 generations of mastery being passed down over the years. They pride themselves in their top to tail technique where they produce as little as 1 kilo of waste from each animal, they use everything - whether it be the bones for broth, skin for the arrollado (pork loin roll) or blood for the prietas (blood sausages).
With salsa music playing as I enter the cecinas, it brings back a lot of memories of being a child and joining mum to the shops. I spoke to Cristian about their 90 year old story, who tells me that his grandfather became a butcher in Chile and passed this on to his father who migrated to Australia and opened up shop. He now runs the butcher with his mother Margarita and his son Nic is in training, keeping the tradition strong. Their most popular products are the costillar aliñado (perfectly seasoned ribs), which are part of a traditional parillada ( BBQ). Other specialities are of course the chorizo sausages, which are handmade on the premises with a perfectly balanced spice mix, and the aforementioned arrollado made by Margarita. But if you are after something specific, go in and ask hristian what you are after, he is sure to help you out and will make you super excited about everything he has. His energy is infectious.
The little Fairfield Heights butcher also provides small goods from South America. From soft drinks, jams and spices it will help you replicate that true parillada you had when you were back packing through South America.
Gigino - 3/338 Hamilton Rd, Fairfield West NSW 2165
The 2165 postcode is home to a lot of Italian families, and Gigino is the heart and soul of this wave of immigrants come to life through food. Owner Attilio "wanted to bring something cool and different to the area of my roots” and he has accomplished just that with his mix of pizzas, daily specials and the open dining space. You feel like you are eating at a friends house, you never feel like you have overstayed your welcome and you always know they will have you back round for another meal.
The Gigino speciality is pizza, with simple and delicious Italian classics like the margherita, 4 stagione and a spicy addition with the incazzato. Their offering of starters is great for a catch up at the bar with a cocktail, my personal favourites being the perfect arancini balls and the prosciutto crudo with caprese bufala. If you are looking for something a little lighter their salads are great, with the "tonno"offering egg, cherry tomatoes, corn and tuna just like nonna used to make. If you have a sweet tooth definitely leave room for dessert, Atilio’s mama mans this department, and they are buonissimi, with a selection of tiramisu, panacotta and creme brule. You can’t make a bad decision here.
Afghani & Arabic Bread - Shop2, 13 Nelson Street,Fairfield, Sydney, NSW
Fairfield is a real melting pot for immigrants, and in the last 15 years the rise of arabic influences has been notable. A particular mention to this corner store, which sells nothing more than flat bread. But when done well your clientele is bound to keep coming back, being open for over 10 years. They offer Afghani, Turkish and Arabic bread which is hand made fresh every day.
La Paula Continental Cakes - 9 Barbara Street, Fairfield, Sydney, NSW
La Paula is an institution in the Chilean community and with over 30 years of business you know they are doing something right. Known for their baked goods, bread and a quick bite to eat if you are craving a dose of Chile, this is a place I hold close and dear to my heart. As a child I was always keen for probably the simplest of things “lenguitas de gato” translating to kitten tongues a small butter cookie in the shape of you guessed it a little kitten tongue.
But for a first timer, I’d suggest dining in and picking a famous Chilean sandwich there are a few, but top of my list would have to be the completo ( chilean hot dog) or a churasco ( thinly sliced beef in homemade bread with avocado, tomato, mayo and beans), if you aren’t into sandwiches ( who are you?) then I’d go down the empanada route, cheese or beef it doesn’t matter because they are both good.
Now here’s the best part, the pastries. Get a takeaway box, my personal selection would be the “cachito” a horn of pastry with caramel inside, the “chilenito” three sweet wafer crackers filled with caramel and dusted with sugar, the “mil-hoja” a cake translating to a thousand layers with you guessed it caramel and the Berlin a cake filled in with Creme Patisserie. If your mouth isn’t watering yet, then get some hot handmade bread to go, toasted with butter and a coffee you will thank me and never forget your encounter with La Paula.
Al Anwar sweets - 14 Smart St, Fairfield NSW 2165
This gem of a sweet shop lures you in with the smell of honey and pistachios. Traditional Lebanese sweets lined up across the counter it is a sublime addition to the suburb of Fairfield. With it’s Beklawa (aka Baklava) in many variations pistachio,walnut and custard - your sweet tooth will be spoilt for choice.
A special mention to the men who are always playing checkers or cards across from Bing Lee, Carlo's Fruit Market & The Fairfield Fish Markets. You make coming back to the area familiar and like home.
From The Table Top x