Punchbowl is a quintessential Western Sydney area located on Dharug land and home to a community of culturally diverse locals. Punchbowl is a go-to destination for authentic and fresh Lebanese food, and culture.
There is plenty to see and do in Punchbowl, but a look back at the history reveals that there’s more than meets the eye. Punchbowl in the 1920s and 1930s was a higher-class suburb home to several popular theatres. One of these was the famous Astoria Theatre which was opened in 1935 and seated 915 people. Down the street was another theatre known as The Punchbowl Regent and could seat over 1200 patrons. The evolution of the suburb has seen both theatres replaced with shopping buildings, apartments, and office spaces, facades that continue to shape the face of Punchbowl today.
Begin your day at Punchbowl Station on The Boulevarde. As you emerge, you’ll have a great downhill view of the local shops. Pause and see the locals going about their business. You’ll see many hairdressers, kebab shops, coffee shops, and small grocers. Punchbowl is one of those places where the charm of the hard-working small businesses really comes through.
Make your way down The Boulevarde to the very trendy Eighteen22 Café. This casual dining café and restaurant is very popular among locals and is sophisticated from the moment you enter. With a timeless fit-out with green motifs, Eighteen22 is a cosy café by day, and a pumping restaurant by night.
Their menu is excellent, with a fusion of café classics and a middle eastern twist, you’ll enjoy their Toby’s Estate Coffee all the more. We ordered ‘Tripoli in Sydney’ a hearty brunch featuring sujuk sausage, whipped beetroot labne, olives, eggs and of course, tomatoes and Lebanese cucumbers. Delicious! Other favourite are their burgers, pastas, pizzas, and grill – many with a culinary twist.
After you’ve eaten and enjoyed a coffee, head back up towards Punchbowl Road towards the station and get ready for some sweets. Here you’ll find Al Afrah, a popular Lebanese sweets shop that has remained family owned since opening in the 1980s. Grab yourself plenty of baklava to take home and share – you can never have too much!
Next door you’ll find Alarz Modern Bakery, a Lebanese bakery making fresh flatbread on site. An absolute essential to any Lebanese meal, this bread is a must-try.
Head down the hill a little further, and you’ll find Choco Gate. As the name suggest, you’re in for a very exciting visit. Lining the walls and shelves of this small store are hundreds of colourful chocolates from Lebanon. Super tasty, and with many different flavours, you’ll want to pick up a little bag of assorted chocolates.
Finally, the next stop is the very trendy and popular UTURN Outlet a giant vintage and second-hand contemporary clothing store. With locations in Newtown, Rozelle, Surry Hills, and Bondi, it’s no surprise that their outlet store and headquarters here in Punchbowl is filled to the brim with pre-loved gems ready to find their new owner. This is a way to shop sustainably on a budget, and in Western Sydney.
Whatever time you visit UTURN, you know there will be a buzz as shoppers from all around the city rummage through the thousands of items that could be their next treasure! Grab a basket, fill it, and enjoy the feeling of ethical shopping!
Punchbowl is full of great finds, from superb hospitality venues to the humble bakery, this is Western Sydney in its element. So get out and explore!