During my school days, I always looked forward to Friday’s. Not because the weekend was near, but because Friday was sports and activity day. I played the standard netball for a while until I discovered my true love: Rollerskating! And, I was GOOD at it!! ( Insert lack of modesty here).
The suburb of Petersham was the place, located in Sydney’s Inner West. After getting off the bus and lining up outside, I couldn’t wait to get inside to collect my roller skates from the man behind the counter.
Skating in an anti-clockwise direction, I would eagerly await my favourite song as music screeched from speakers above the rink. ‘Celebration’ covered by Kylie Minogue was my favourite skating song:
“There's a party goin' on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times and your laughter too
We're gonna celebrate your party with you
Come on now
Let's all celebrate and have a good time
We're gonna celebrate and have a good time”
I felt the song helped to propel me around the rink. I liked to skate fast – right foot over left going around the corners of the rink, picking up speed as I went along. It was such a rush and I loved it. I was always sad to hear the man’s voice come over the speaker to tell us it would be our last song, by which time we had worked up quite an appetite.
Across the road from the rink was THE famous Portuguese charcoal chicken shop where we would head straight after, ordering hot chips with lots of chicken salt and the odd splash of vinegar whilst we waited for the return bus.
For these reasons, I have fond memories every time I visit Petersham. The rink facade is still there on New Canterbury Road, but to my knowledge it no longer operates as a business.
Whilst Petersham may have once been known for its rollerskating many years ago, it has always been a popular hub for Sydney’s Portuguese Cuisine.
Situated only a few doors up from the old rollerskating rink are a few of the best Portuguese Patisseries you will find in Sydney. Most will head straight to Sweet Belem which appears to have somewhat of a cult following amongst foodies, however La Patisserie is my favourite. It’s a simple place stocked with Portuguese pastries where you can sit down and have a coffee or milkshake if you desire. Every time I visit it’s usually filled with friends or family of the owners and service is always efficient and friendly.
Fernando Ramos has been baking since he was 11 years old and you can tell this experience has paid off. His most popular seller is the famous pasteis de nata ( custard tarts) and on Saturday’s he sells over 1500 of these beauties. And at $2 each, they're a steal! An investment in total deliciousness.
These ambrosial tarts are reported to have been created prior to the 18th Century by Catholic nuns at a monastery in Belem, Lisbon. Since then, their popularity has exploded and we can’t get enough of them.
Best known for their crispy outer puff pastry shell, these tarts are filled with a rich silky golden egg custard and have a slightly burnt appearance on top. Unlike their Chinese cousins these custard tarts do not have that strong eggy flavour one often associates with custard tarts. The only bad thing about these tarts is that you can’t just stop at one. They truly are Sydney’s best tart.
Finally, no trip to Petersham would be complete without some Portuguese style chicken or a chicken burger and if you’re thirsty make sure you try Sumol Orange, made with both juice and pulp - this zesty orange soft drink is one of Portugal's favourites.
Chilli Chicken Burger with the LOT -from Silvas
Sumol Orange Drink from Silvas
For your Portuguese Cuisine fix visit the following:
45 New Canterbury Road,
1/82-86 New Canterbury Road,
Petersham Charcoal Chicken
98 New Canterbury Road