Making the jump from William Street nearly fifty years ago, Bar Coluzzi, has an impressive history in Darlinghurst. Along with its neighbour Latteria, it has created a little outdoor oasis for middle-aged Italian men along the popular café strip. With Latteria jumping two doors down to slightly more spacious digs, Parma Darlinghurst has slotted into its former digs.
Owner Josh Ewan was a Latteria regular, so he felt confident about taking on the long and extremely narrow space. The new venue’s name is a nod to the area’s tradition, and stems from a desire to fit into the vibrant Italian coffee culture the strip has become synonymous with. While Parma Darlinghurst is Josh’s first café, he has plenty of hospitality experience under his belt, though none in the last five years.
At 10am on a Sunday, the three cafes are alive with a vibrant blend of old and new Darlinghurst. Their outdoor seating blends into an almost communal affair, where it’s hard to pick where one café ends and the next one begins. At Parma Darlinghurst there are hipsters in matching Hawaiian prints; families with kids mucking around on scooters; fit types in barely-there active wear; visible tattoos on both staff and clientele; and a pampered Papillion catching my eye from the collection of diminutive Darlo dogs.
At Latteria, they’re living up to the suburb’s reputation for left-of-centre with Lord Claude The Blind Cat and his mate Cecil - two cats made famous for their strong marriage equality stance - perched on stools and lapping up babycinos from cups placed rigon the table. It’s a pretty charming scene that reminds me – over a healthy Green Juice ($7.50) - of why I loved living in Darlinghurst for more than a decade. With apple, celery, lemon and kale, the ice-cooled juice is a pleasant way to drink your daily greens.
Coffee is by The Black Lab Coffee Co. and is solid across both a regular Latte ($3.50) and a Strong Flat White ($4). We sip them while marvelling at the intensity of working in such a difficult space, as floor staff climb a mounted ladder to get avocadoes down from the floor-to-ceiling storage.
The green and perfectly ripe fruit gathered by their hard labour adorns our well-presented Pickled Chilli Chorizo Scram ($18). Accompanied by Brickfields toast, it’s a tasty scrambled eggs update, with chorizo and cleverly pickled chillies gentling the intensity to a level acceptable to breakfast. Parma ham is the venue's obvious menu omission, though you can add Prosciutto San Daniele ($5.50) to anything you please.
For those eating on the go, the Breakfast Burrito ($16.50) is popular for a reason, though it wants for a little more salt. It's tasty without being too heavy, because it’s mostly scrambled eggs accentuated with bacon, flavoursome black beans, avocado, chilli jam, and the same decadent cheese blend you’ll find on the Parma Five Cheese Toastie ($10). I’ve earmarked this dish for an artery-hardening lunch somewhere down the track at this welcome addition to Darlo's little Italy.
320B Victoria Street, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 9356 8248