Review by Broadsheet

Western Sydney’s New Dining Precinct

A 19th-century paper mill in western Sydney is where you’ll find the city’s newest dining precinct. With four eateries under one roof – and a range of foods, from pizza to chicken burgers to oysters to pasta – it’s a game-changer for Liverpool. The dining hall is part of a new apartment development named The Paper Mill, which sits on the banks of the Georges River, just 40 kilometres from the CBD.

The Paper Mill Food is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and coffee seven days a week. Its broad range of cuisines reflects the cultural diversity of the area, where the majority of residents were born overseas. Most eateries in the precinct are casual, with plenty of takeaway options, but there’s also a full-service restaurant called The Fire Pit, which is the only outlet taking reservations.

The venue seats up to 570 people, with an opulent bar acting as the centrepiece, and other eateries and the cafe on the periphery of the space. There’s a number of private and semi-private function spaces dotted throughout as well.

The Fire Pit bakes all its bread in-house in woodfired ovens, and meat and seafood are roasted in a custom-made rotisserie and grill. Carb and meat-heavy dishes from across the globe make up the bulk of its menu. There’s Georgian khachapuri (a cheese-filled bread) filled with buffalo mozzarella, gruyere, egg yolk and truffle oil, and a puffy chilli-and-oregano bread with black garlic.

Popular Greek dish kefalograviera saganaki (fried sheep’s cheese) is served with Tasmanian honey, lemon, oregano and ouzo – it’s similar to the popular version at Potts Point restaurant The Apollo. Steaks, ribs and seafood – including Queensland snapper schnitzel, fish’n’chips and Yamba prawns – are all cooked over coals. There’s also saffron marinara tagliolini and house-made gnocchi, cooked over fire.

For a more casual option, head to Georgie’s Pizza and Bar, which has an extensive list of pies, cocktails, wine and beer. Classics including margherita, napolitana and pepperoni are all fired up in the pizza oven, alongside more creative takes such as the Arabica (tomato, fior di latte, spicy sujuk sausage, lamb kofta, green olives and a spiced pickled-chilli dressing) and the Espanol (tomato, fior di latte, chorizo, roast capsicum, avocado, jalapeño, lime and coriander). It also sells a selection of sodas made in-house, including apple-yuzu and lemonade, lychee and lemongrass, and pineapple and star-anise.

Charcoal Joe’s – named after chook fan Joe Nahas, who heads up Coronation Property, the group that developed the site – claims to serve Sydney’s best Lebanese charcoal chicken. Expect birds marinated then roasted over charcoal, with sides including chips, hummus, tabouli and Lebanese bread. It also serves a range of burgers – beef, fried chicken and mushroom among them – as well as charcoal-grilled skewers.

Finally, at Shepherd’s Lane cafe and dessert bar, expect all-day eating. For breakfast there are healthy bowls, manoush (Lebanese pizzas), morning mezze (falafel, fried eggs, sujuk, hummus, labneh, tahini and pickles) and a more traditional eggs-bacon-and-sausage big breakfast. Guests are encouraged to pop in for weekend breakfast, or swing by for a takeaway coffee on their way to work.

It also has a huge range of house-made desserts such as kataifi (similar to baklava), berry marshmallows, Turkish delight and doughnuts. Its croissant range is rather inspired – a Turkish delight version has rosewater cream, rose and pistachio, while another is filled with Maltesers, milk chocolate and malt cream. Plus, there’s an eight-strong list of waffles.

The paper mill that gives the precinct its name was built in 1868 and was Australia’s largest paper mill at the time. Designer Paul Papadapolous of creative agency DS17 (NourBel & Brio and Alpha) kept the building’s heritage in mind when reinvigorating the space, retaining much of its original brickwork, but adding steel, glass and stone updates to modernise. Carrara marble is used throughout, and cast-iron sculptures imitate 19th-century ovens. A mosaic floor stretches thorough the entire space and greenery hangs from the ceiling.

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