Palooka - Stratford.
When I first heard it, getting a one way ticket to Palookaville wasn’t actually a good thing. More a pejorative than a positive, so in the case of Stratford’s newest eatery I can only assume the name is ironic.
The next sibling in the group that already includes NOA, Guerrilla and Mama Coco owned by the seemingly ubiquitous Billie McDonnell, Davey O’Rourke and Sam Byrd, Palooka now occupies the site of the well known Stratford Deli and brings a new dimension into what is becoming a busy strip in the heart of this subdivision.
These owners are sticklers for detail and anyone familiar with their other venues knows that these guys create great spaces to meet and eat. Palooka is no exception to that and takes the bones of the rambling former deli turning it into a chic destination for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The menu, like NOA and Mama Coco, reflects a fresh take on Mod Oz, providing effective presentations which are both familiar but also unique. We were the first ones in to presented with the new lunch menu, it was eclectic and varied providing ample alternatives to fit the mood or the pallette of any diner. The service was excellent, the staff pleasant and attentive, showing none of the usual opening day jitters. And the food arrived promptly, and with uncomplicated presentation. With meals, even the simple cheeseburger, showing a depth of flavour with all the elements present from good seasoning to a delightful aioli for fry dipping and sprinkle of truffle salt. The Brussel salad was sensational, a beautifully balanced dish, just right with two cheeses (Halloumi and Fetta) playing off the headline flavours of Brussel Sprout and pear. If this day one lunch experience was anything to go by then Palooka will have no trouble positioning itself as the centrepiece of the Stratford dining scene. It is without question well worth a visit.
Breakfast, Lunch 6am to 3pm and Dinner coming soon. Find out more here