Home to one of Darwin’s oldest markets – the Saturday Parap Village Market – this once-sleepy suburb became the locals’ weekend hangout of choice when Parap’s creative set started opening shops in and around the markets, generating a low-key, artsy vibe for the neighbourhood while creating pioneering businesses, from a new breed of butcher to an exhibition and retail gallery space dedicated to artists based in Australia’s Top End.
1. Laneway Specialty Coffee
The coffee scene was noticeably flat in Darwin before this specialty roaster opened in 2014. It’s all about fair and direct trade here, using numerous single-origin beans to brew filter and cold-drip coffee. The scratch-made mega muffins sell out every morning, especially on white chocolate and peanut butter with blueberries day.
2. Saffrron Restaurant
Originally from Tamil Nadu, chef Selvam Kandasamy’s cooking has been drawing visitors to Parap for almost a decade. This newly renovated restaurant was the first in Australia to use biodegradable tableware, and remains committed to sourcing locally for dishes such as barramundi poached in ginger, coconut milk and turmeric.
3. The Local
Shopping local is the entire focus behind this new artist-run retail space in Parap Shopping Village, hence its name. The vibrant store only stocks works and goods from Northern Territory artists and makers, giving shoppers direct access to handcrafted jewellery, pottery, art and fabrics from local talent at commission-free prices. Perfect for picking up a unique souvenir.
4. Outstation Gallery
Aside from presenting Indigenous artwork from around Australia, this gallery sources pieces from art centres that support fair work practices for its artists. Director Matt Ward’s connection with local artists through Outstation has spurred a spin-off project that will open in Parap soon and exclusively showcase work from artists with a connection to Australia’s Top End.
5. The Butcher on Parap
This modern butcher is a far cry from a traditional meat market. Artwork from local artist Wayne Miles hangs from the walls and ready-to-grill meals are stocked alongside tender dry-aged cuts. It specialisea in free-range and grass-fed meat, and its Aussie lamb burger (made with rosemary, cheese and Vegemite) is all you need for an impromptu barbecue in the park.
6. Parap Bakery
At this family-owned bakery, all the breads, pies and cakes are baked fresh on-site daily. Breakfast is the showstopper – egg and bacon rolls are served with freshly baked brioche buns while sugar-dusted doughnuts are topped with decadent treats such as KitKats, gummy worms and Tim Tams. Lunch options are hard to beat too, with the avocado and brie sandwich served on fresh sourdough bread.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.
The information is accurate as of press time. For the latest travel advisory updates, please refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.
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SEE ALSO: The cultural hotspots of Darwin
This article was originally published in the September 2019 issue of Silkwinds magazine