Finding Social Hideout is a treasure hunt. Like the luscious filling of a dumpling, the cafe lies illusively hidden out of sight of passersby inside the bounds of the cookie coloured Entrada building on the intersection of Victoria Road and Church Street in Parramatta. Thanks to Google maps, after a bit of hide and seek, we entered one of the two inlets beside Subway and Coles on the Victoria Road side of the structure into a crowded sun-kissed courtyard. The wordless verdict passed by happy murmurs ensuing from the exterior canopied seating sent our spirits soaring, even before we had a chance to judge the food ourselves.
The broad synthetic canopy, large patio umbrellas, white furniture and floral print counter imparted a breezy feel to the whole set up. Sprawled in the midst of all the activity was Ping Ping, a big, fluffy teddy panda - an allure for kids.
We picked a window seat indoors to enjoy the bustle inside out. Selections were quickly made from the crisp menu - Morning Glory, (with a pint-sized curiosity) Red Velvet Latte, Pot of Gold, Lamb Salad and (after much thought and a bit of consultation) Eat My Chick. The all-day breakfast choices are predominantly focused on eggs (with extras, including but not limited to ham, bacon, turkey, and smoked salmon) in addition to hotcakes and granola bowls. The compact lunch menu offers chicken, lamb, barramundi, salmon, beef and vegetable-rich dishes served from 11:30am. Drinks include an assortment of cold press juices, cold drinks, smoothies, shakes, tea and coffee. To picture what your choices might look like, they have a comprehensive wall of fame with pictures of their star dishes for reference. The lunch and breakfast menu is priced squarely between AU$10-$22 and the drinks are wrapped within AU$3-$8.50.
Our fragrant drinks were promptly served. The eye-pleasing latte, dressed in red, smelled of roses while the refreshing morning glory, a blend of mango, peach and passionfruit, had more of summery notes. The cafe's owner-cum-manger, Nader, went about the dining space checking on customers' satisfaction and engaging in amicable conversation wherever he got a chance to.
In a little time, our cosy corner was filled with a multicoloured and multi-textured lunch. To my delight, I loved the look of my Eat My Chick (house marinated chicken, mango cubes, asparagus and watercress, tied together by balsamic sweet chilli sauce) the best. My curiosities about the unconventional amalgamation of chicken and mango were put to rest by the great tasting combination. It was absolutely a to-reach-out-for-some-more dish.
Pot of Gold was a wholesome dish of baked eggs, spiced chorizo, house beans, chilli mushrooms, tomatoes, and Danish fetta, served with Turkish bread. It not only became our go-to dish for a spoonful every now and then but the warm, viscous gravy based item also served as an excellent dip. My recommendations: sky high!
Lamb Salad, as the name suggests, was rosemary and thyme marinated lamb armoured in green. The rocket, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, red onion salad dressed in harissa and mint yoghurt made for a heavy lunch mix. Though my spice fond husband suggested that an extra squeeze of harissa and a dash more of salt would have won the battle against the dominance of yoghurt and heightened the bar of the good dish to a great one.
Walled off from the buzz of traffic, Social Hideout provides a warm and relaxed refuge away from the din of Parramatta. Unless a map is handy, finding the dainty cafe might require putting on your Holmes hat to hunt for the Hideout. And when you find it, you will definitely dig gold.
For our golden lunch:4/5
N.B.: If you plan on driving there, paid roadside parking is available on both Ross and Sorrell Streets apart from the Entrada secure car park.