A local’s guide to Western Sydney with Will Mahusay
Western Sydney, including Parramatta to Sydney Olympic Park and Blacktown, is rich in diversity and culinary culture with an adventurous, lively spirit.
You grew up in Western Sydney and your relatives all live close to one another in Blacktown – what do you love most about the area?
I love the diversity of Western Sydney. It’s a melting pot of many wonderful cultures. For an Aussie-Filipino like myself, Western Sydney has been a place that the Filipino community has called home for more than three decades.
The dining scene in Western Sydney boasts a delicious collection of global tastes and modern eateries. Where is your go-to cafe and why?
I enjoy visiting the Leaf Cafe and Co in Stanhope Gardens. It’s a cosy place and my go-to drink is the Belgian dark chocolate mocha.
At your restaurant, Sydney Cebu Lechon, you cook with your favourite Filipino ingredients. Tell us what they are and where you might find them in Sydney?
I cook with staple Filipino ingredients such as garlic, onion, ginger, fish sauce, tamarind powder mix, okra, eggplant, snake beans, water spinach and chicken thighs or pork belly. My favourite place to replenish my pantry is the fresh food market in Rooty Hill; they have all these ingredients and more.
Sydney is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, plating up cuisines from across the globe. Tell us your favourite dining experiences in Western Sydney, and any other incredible eateries you would recommend across the city.
We can go all around the world with our tastebuds in Sydney. In Western Sydney, I love A- Team’s Kitchen in Rooty Hill - their all-day Filipino breakfast brings back fond memories of the Philippines, and it’s something I eat every day. In Mount Druitt, there’s a tasty American-Asian fusion burger joint called Mate Burger.
Further afield, try Don’t Doughnuts in Darlinghurst where renowned Filipino pastry chef Miko Aspiras serves unique doughnuts made with a hybrid sourdough-brioche dough.
In the Inner West, you can’t miss the bold traditional flavours of my charcoal pork roast at Sydney Cebu Lechon! It’s considered a ‘gateway’ dish for anyone curious about Filipino cuisine. Also, in Newtown on King Street, there’s a lovely Italian restaurant called Belle Bruttaplus, nearby in Glebe, don’t miss Jambo Jambo Africa serving traditional Ethiopian cuisine.
What are your top three must dos in Western Sydney that you would recommend to visitors?
- Visit the Nurragingy Reserve Park in Doonside for a gathering with family and friends. It’s a sprawling park and we’ve had some wonderful picnics there.
- Take a day trip to Sydney Zoo or Featherdale Sydney Wildlife Park.
- Catch a movie at Skyline Drive-In movie theatre in Blacktown.
Do you have a favourite secret Sydney experience you can reveal?
I recently discovered a great place in Parrramatta called the Lake Parramatta Reserve Walk. What a hidden gem! I’ve lived in Sydney almost all my life and it’s only this year I stumbled upon it thanks to the Taste of Australia with Hayden Quinn series. It’s a place for anyone who wants to enjoy the great outdoors, where you can walk alongside the lake or swim.