Fellow Westies will agree that if you haven't picked a restaurant beforehand, finding one on Church Street in Parramatta can be a chore. It's the go-to place for the area when you've decided last minute that you want to go out for dinner, but with the sheer number of restaurants there, it can become a bit daunting. 317? Too busy. Criniti's? Overrated. And then, as a blogger, I wanted to try somewhere new. Decisions, decisions!
The desire to try somewhere new lead us to Liana's, an Italian restaurant that I've passed dozens of times but never really considered. We had gone for lunch to celebrate Mary's birthday, and at 2pm on a Sunday the place was pretty quiet. We were seated quickly and given menus.
The bread was freshly toasted and warm, and served with the classic combination of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It could have done with a bit more vinegar compared to olive oil, and the oil itself was strangely bitter.
The aranccini, deep fried risotto balls filled with mozzarella cheese, were cooked well, quite crisp and tasty. They were served with a tomato-y napolitana sauce, but all in all there wasn't much depth of flavour.
Sonia's order came out as a towering sculpture of meat. Her plate was loaded with massive pork ribs that had a nice coating of sweet barbeque sauce. There was a fair amount of meat compared to bone, which was a pleasant surprise. They were served with crunchy wedges and salad.
Lovely, fresh barramundi was deep fried in a light, crispy batter. There was a massive amount of chips, but luckily they were cooked well. Salad cut through the oil in this dish, and the creamy tartare sauce was made in house.
We ordered a pizza to share, but it was a great disappointment. There were little nuggets of tough veal and mushroom, and whilst the rest of the toppings were quite tasty, the base was doughy, soft, and completely unappetising.
I ordered the beef lasagna, and it was HUGE; there were at least two and a half servings on my plate. The pasta was lovely and soft and filled with layers of tender beef mince cooked in tomato sauce and bachemel sauce, and the whole dish was covered in a thick layer of cheese, which was a bit much considering the quantity I was given. The rocket made me feel a little bit better about the fat content of this meal.
We were incredibly full, even though the waiter looked at our half empty plates and declared that we hadn't eaten much. He tried to tempt us with dessert, but we had cupcakes from The Cupcake Bakery for Mary's birthday, so we passed. Liana's had some good points and some bad points, making it quite an average restaurant. Still, there are worse places we could have gone to, and the food really was quite decent. I imagine I'll be passing it by for something new next time I'm in the area, though.
306 Church St
Phone: 02 9687 7979
Fax: 02 9687 6969
The Cupcake Bakery
Shop 5025, Westfield Parramatta
Phone: 02 8677 9593