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SSC Newspaper : August 2010
By Bernadette Chua Once the home of Australia's favourite biscuits, the former Arno 's factory in George Street, North Strath eld is now a bustling food hub packed with wholesale and retail businesses. Known locally as "eat street" the precinct is now lined with cafes and restaurants and has become a popular place for inner west residents to enjoy a meal on the picturesque cobblestone streets. Once completely vacant a er the closure of the Arno 's factory, George Street is now a racting big crowds. One of the most popular cafes is Zenja, which has been open for the past ve years and owner Ric Ba aglia says his cafe has regular patrons coming every week. "It's a great area because everyone here knows each other," he says. " ere is a great community feel in North Strath eld and there is a real village feel." George Street was home to the Arno 's Biscuit factory for almost 90 years and was regarded with great a ection by most of the factory workers. Aside from co ages which housed the workers and their families, the area opposite the current Bakehouse Quarter also had facilities for the workers to use in their spare time, including tennis courts. Open elds where the delivery horses grazed once lined George Street. e elds were also used as " ghting grounds" -- boxing was a popular pastime among factory workers in the early 20th century. e Arno 's factory quickly became a local landmark, but nally closed in 1997 when Arno 's moved its operations to Huntingwood. e area was vacant a er the closure, but there were soon plans to redevelop the area. In particular, the Concord Council saw the potential for the area to become a thriving entertainment and food precinct. Today, the area contains a wide variety of restaurants and cafes ser ving every type of cuisine, including Indian, ai, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Italian and Korean. "A whole group of businesses such as our cafe, Harris Farms and Outback Steakhouse have moved into the area," says Ba aglia. " ings have picked up signi cantly over the last three years. It's great to see the area so busy." By Bernadette Chua The transition from furniture designer to restranteur is not an obvious one, but for Jorge Ballas and his wife Joanne their joint passion for food has made the career move surprisingly smooth. e couple opened Zenobia in North Strath eld two years ago following the enormous success of their rst restaurant, also called Zenobia, in Leichhardt. " We started out the business in Leichhardt from nothing," says Joanne. Ballas, who is head chef of both restaurants, has experience working as an executive chef at ve star hotels in Lebanon, Syria, Dubai and Australia. "Jorge grew up in various countries in the Middle East," says Joanne. "Being in the industry for years, he has created menus, recipes and signature dishes throughout our establishment." By trade a furniture designer, Ballas acquired his love of cooking by spending time in the kitchen with his mother. "Since both of us are from an Arabic background, what we o er our valued customers at Zenobia is what we enjoy eating with our friends and family," says Joanne. Zenobia's crowd pleasing dishes are the skewers -- seafood, lamb and chicken -- and its ka a which is made from ground beef or lamb mixed with spices and onions. e restaurant's decor is lively and fun, featuring embroidered cushions, Lebanese lanterns and ceramic tables. Belly dancers perform on Friday and Saturday nights. "We also cater for vegetarians, vegans and people who su er from coeliac," says Joanne. e couple will be opening up a new restaurant called Eatalia at the end of August, opposite the North Strath eld Zenobia restaurant. "We just have a love for running restaurants," says Joanne. Zenobia, Bakehouse Quarter, Level Street, Shop T3, 9 George Street, North Strath eld Phone: 9746 8424 Cuisine: Lebanese/Mediterranean Price Guide: entrees from $8, mains from $18, banquets from $45 www.zenobiarestaurant.com.au New food precinct is bustling Contemporary Lebanese cuisine Strathfield Scene 11 "It's a great area because everyone here knows each other. We all know the customers and they know us. There is a great community feel in North Strathfeld.” -- Ric Battaglia, owner Zenja Cafe FOOD www.ourstrathfield.com.au Shop G4, 22 Georges St. North Strathfield 9746 8707, 0404 089 169 www.707restaurant.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org Trading Hours: Mon-Fri Lunch 11am-4pm, Dinner 5pm-10pm Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 12pm-10pm sevenOseven Japanese Restaurant Japanese ◊ Sushi and Sashimi ◊ Sushi Rolls ◊ Course Menu ◊ Lunch Special ◊ Dinner Special ◊ Special Hot Food The place where modern and tradition, jazz and classic meet INGREDIENTS: 2 whole Snapper (about 500g each), cleaned 2 tablespoons olive oil ½ teaspoon paprika Salt and pepper to taste TAHINI: ½ cup lemon juice ½ cup tahini water ½ teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon olive oil ½ teaspoon salt FILLING: 4 cloves garlic 1 chilli 50g (1/3 cup) walnuts 1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander leaves & stalks 1 tablespoon olive oil ½ teaspoon salt METHOD: Preheat oven to 200°C. To make flling, mince together garlic, chilli, walnuts and coriander. Add oil and salt and mix together. To make tahini, combine all ingredients well. Thin with a little water if too thick. Make three incisions across the body of snapper. Fill incisions and inside cavity of snapper with flling. Place fsh in a baking dish and pour oil over. Cover dish with foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove foil, pour tahini over and return to oven for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika and serve immediately. Source: Abla Amad, Abla’s Lebanese Restaurant, Melbourne. SAMKE HARA Diners at Zenja Cafe, in the Bakehouse Quarter Baked fish with tahini and spicy filling