There’s a strong focus on health at Cafe Parker, which opened in a light-filled former furniture warehouse in Rosebery. The bustling Botany Road cafe belongs to new hospitality group Hunger (Redfern’s Norfolk, Darlinghurst’s The Strand and Prince of York), led by executive director and creative director Paul Schulte (ex-The Winery), who saw a gap in the current cafe landscape.
“I get frustrated with the heavy, pastry shops,” says Schulte pamphlet. “Not to mention eating out is more expensive than it needs to be – there’s always too much [food]more than anyone needs.”
At Cafe Parker, the menu clearly lists the ingredients and gives diners the option to build on well-portioned salads to suit their appetites and budget.
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The cafe is named after the former Parker furniture warehouse in which it is housed. It has an open kitchen and a long bar that brings the airy space together. Despite high ceilings and an industrial palette, the space is warmed up with greenery, heavy, rustic wood tables and floor-to-ceiling windows. Schulte believes Cafe Parker’s difference is simple: “It’s fresh, simple ingredients, at a reasonable price.”
With this vision in mind, Schulte brought in chef Adam Burke, formerly executive chef at Manly’s Sunset Sabi, to design a menu around great produce and an emphasis on healthy substitutes.
A key pillar of Hunger’s approach is to give emerging chefs like Burke the opportunity to develop their skills and lead a venue. Burke’s experience creating Japanese-influenced dishes at Sunset Sabi is put to good use here. The noodle salad is “probably the most popular salad on the menu, along with the Caesar,” says Burke. “It’s super tasty.”
The salad consists of shiitake soba noodle, sliced shiitake, shredded red cabbage, mint, coriander, ginger, sesame and soy dressing. The brussels Caesar salad is a standout, combining charred Brussels sprouts, anchovies, crispy pancetta, crispy baby lettuce, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese mixed with a Greek yogurt-based Caesar dressing.
Complement salads with schnitty, smoked salmon, beef brisket, or poached chicken, and add a little extra with crispy Brussels sprouts, chili nuts, ramen egg, or sourdough “crunch.”
Sandwiches include the poached spiced chicken with honey glazed carrots, crunchy almond and cumin crumbs, charred red pepper, wild arugula, and a spicy harissa mayo.
In addition to coffee from Seven Miles, there is a range of breakfast smoothies, including a peanut butter and oat smoothie sweetened with dates and honey.
The inclusive element of Cafe Parker is what Schulte wants people to take with them. “We made these decisions so that everyone can eat here … everyone can come here and know what they are eating, and all for a great price.”
755-759 Botany Road, Rosebery
Mon to Sat 07:00 – 15:00