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Parramatta is known for its large Westfield Shopping Centre, but when exploring the city, we look for the hidden away and often we find the unusual – fashionable designers, unique services, waterfront restaurants and big hotels.

Granted, both Parramatta and Harris Park have their share of two-dollar and discount shops, but as we explored we found the exceptional and the uncommon.

Our favourite finds this year are in the creatively refurbished Darcy Street and we discovered more upmarket businesses and services on Phillip Street, Marion Street (Harris Park) and Wigram Street (Harris Park)... wonderful surprises everywhere.

distinctive services...

Urban City Consulting

02 4587 7000

With all the construction going on in Parramatta, planning and building approvals need a smart team for all your construction - a team accustomed to working through the maze of councils and the often confusing statutory building requirements. We have worked with this team as have others such as property developers, owner builders and commercial and industrial developers. What we really appreciated was the 'no nonsense' approach.

If you need private certification or building approvals and inspections, this team is on top of it and those pesky DA(s) - UCC takes the fear out of all mysterious processes to get you through the construction of your project.

UCC oversees projects in all of Sydney Metropolitan areas - Blacktown, Penrith, The Hills District, Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury.

FlowersBike Racks

Tuli Jewellers

Address: 79 Marion Street, Harris Park
Phone: 02 9635 5994, m. 0422 401 199

Tuli Jewellers is a family-owned business with a long, long history in India. In 2003 the family brought their expertise to Australia, and the business is now tucked away in a charming early Harris Park cottage.

When Indian women prepare for a holiday party, stylish jewellery always plays a big role in 'looking chic and beautiful'. In the days before the Diwali Festival we observed the ladies' increasing excitement as they discovered shelf after shelf of perfect choices – diamonds, opals, pearls, silver and other precious stones. With four display rooms, it is easy to miss some beautiful object.

Working with the unique likes and dislikes of those who come through the door, designer Jyoti Tuli maintains her serenity. She is always calm while subtly drawing attention to the beautiful pieces – perhaps a birth stone – that the client may have overlooked.

Tuli Jewellers is home to an array of glittering diamonds, opals, and other precious stones. Here, the owners design and manufacture to your choice. And as styles do change, Jyoti will rework a customer's existing ring or family heirloom.

Tuli's exquisite 22 karat gold jewellery is stunning. Gold bullion and gold coins are also available for purchase here. The Glittering Symbol of Power & Strength is the old adage of Tuli Jewellers. Diamonds and Gold – we fully grasp its meaning.

Nakhle Shirtmakers

Address: 1A/69 Phillip Street
Phone: 02 9633 4696
Hours: Monday – Friday: 8.30am – 6pm Thursday: 8.30am – 7pm Saturday: 9am – 2pm

Charles Nakhle continues to design and craft beautiful bespoke shirts. His skills are unique and his personality so compassionate that customers return to his shop year after year. When we drop by, Charles will occasionally share a humorous story about malfunctioning machines or his frequent 'lost in translation' moments when talking to his German manufacturer. Still, Charles does not lose his cool and his customers are aware of this defining feature.

The great technical proficiency in pattern-making, the number of fittings he requires before the pattern is cut – all speak of his dedication to excellence – definitely rare today.

Charles imports exquisite cottons from England, Switzerland, Italy and the U.S. and customers can choose from many different collar and cuff styles. If you are quite tall, you know that finding the right sleeve-length in off-the-rack clothes can be problematic, but that issue is taken care of with personal tailoring. Charles knows that making allowances for wearing a watch can make a considerable difference in the fit of the finished product. Now, this attention to detail and comfort is why people return to experience the craftsmanship of Nakhle Shirtmakers.


Address: 8/10 Station Street East, Harris Park
Phone: 02 9687 0024
Hours: Daily 9.30am – 10.30pm Sunday 9.30am – 11pm

Our GenY entrepreneurs in Harris Park have recently expanded their full-service market into Blacktown (40 Third Ave, Shop 8). Demand for fresh produce has risen and for easily prepared curries. Radhe owners encourage eating out less and preparing healthy meals at home by listing interesting recipes on their website.

If you're in a rush – an indicator of our busy lives – Radhe specialises in ready- to-eat curries. Pick up a few fresh veggies, quickly steam and you have a healthy meal with so little effort. However, if you are really pushed for time, Radhe now offers home-delivery services – large or small items. Anything you need can be ordered online. Exotic spices and Indian seasonings are always stocked.

We observe that frequently Radhe serves young families and on weekends babies and toddlers are in-tow. And in the lead up to Diwali Festival, young women were lined up in a corner of the shop waiting their turn for beautiful Henna designs – ornate and delicate small floral drawings covering the entire hand or arm.

If you can't find your favourite item, ask the staff – they are happy to find it for you. Clean, bright, the Harris Park market is located just steps from the Harris Park train stop. (We have yet to visit the Blacktown Market but feel certain the same exemplary service is there.)

Did You Know? Harris Park Community Centre is located on 11 Albion Street in Harris Park – phone 02 9635 0157. The members plan activities throughout the year and 'Harris Park Neighbourhood Week' is a highlight. For dates, check out their website.

Parramatta Farmers' Market

Address: Centennial Square, CBD, Parramatta
Hours: Friday 7:30am – 3pm

On Fridays, Centennial Square takes on the appearance of a medieval fair. International food stands pop open their windows and farmers set out an appealing display of the freshest produce to be found locally. A baker arrives with freshly baked tarts and mouth-watering cakes.

An arriving train churns out its masses and within minutes, Centennial Square – the city centre – wakes up as the first customers – the Parramatta workforce —fill the square. The aroma of freshly ground coffee wafts upward and the baker smiles at the hungry crowd.

Later, in front of Town Hall, life-sized chess pieces are set up in the shade. Pawns, rooks and bishops stand erect silently waiting for the gauntlet to be thrown down! A tennis-table (ping-pong) is rolled out and flags high above flap gently against the restraint of their tall dark posts.

Musicians warm up and when the weather cooperates, early folk claim a seat on the benches along the city gardens and the St. John's Cathedral gate.

And so it has been since September 1791, as recorded by the Colonial Secretary of the Colony.

Lucky Finds

Hüttel Boutique

Address: Shop 1, 105 Macquarie Street, Parramatta
Phone: 0420 458 967

A petite clothier where new stock arrives several times a week. Stylish, yet moderately priced.

Fraser and Hughes

Address: Shop B, 79 Phillip Street
Phone: 02 9633 2937

While the Australian family-owned shop is known in the industry for its chef uniforms, for those wannabe chefs at home, this kitchen-boutique retails the most beautiful knives and will have you longing for tools of the trade. Can knives be beautiful? Comfy shoes for the kitchen also in stock.

Underwood Jewellers

Address: 28 Phillip Street, Parramatta
Phone: 02 9689 1022

A large jeweller adjacent to the Royal Park Hotel. Estate sale jewellery caught our eye and if you have a daughter or granddaughter in your life, you'll find a Pandora collection she'll love.

Lavish Flower Merchants

Address: 180 George Street (cnr Charles Street), Parramatta
Phone: 02 9635 0111

Like sculptors, Murray and Shawn design dramatic floral arrangement for weddings or parties. Terrific duo, stunning flowers

De Chic

Address: 104 Wigram Street, Harris Park
Phone: 02 9633 4079
Hours: Closed Sunday and Monday

The formal and semi formal attire is stunning – such colours! Owner and designer, Naimi Sadiq sources materials from overseas. Indian and Pakistani bridal wear is her area of expertise. A lovely and chic Harris Park boutique.