Fairy lights could be seen from a distance, as they covered the trees from top to bottom. In the background, you could hear the soft murmur of Spanish dialogue coming from the Spanish film that was showing in what could only be described as a mattress theatre. Walking through the gates, beds were lined up in rows as people unwinded after a long day with blankets and a good international movie. Outside were food stalls, showcasing cuisines from all over the world. This was PicNic Cinema, residing in the heart of Parramatta over the course of 16 days.
For the first time this year, PicNic Street Food and Cinema set up in Prince Alfred Park in Parramatta, allowing spectators to go around the world without the hefty cost. Promoting diversity and cultural awareness, PicNic features films that illustrate the art of creating a successful film, regardless of country. The credibility of that lies in the Oscar nominations many of the films have received. Spanning from Hollywood to Spanish, Germany and of course Bollywood. Viewers were treated to the luxury of double beds with ambient lighting and blankets, taking the phrase ‘Netflix and Chill’ to a whole new level. Couples, families and friends eased off the week as they laid beneath the night sky, watching a film they knew would be worth watching. Tickets for the film ranged from $15.90 – $19.90, with a different film showing each day of the week.
It’s hard to resist the temptation to have a sneak around the food festival outside the open air cinema, as the aroma of various amounts of food wafted throughout the area. As people walked around from stall to stall, ultimately deciding on what they should eat, the staff were more than hospitable. With a wide variety of food to choose from, ranging from Japanese to Spanish, one thing they all had in common was that they looked delicious. As I made my way around taking in the copious amounts of food, I stumbled upon Tsuru (pronounced zu-ru), a Japanese food truck that specialises in Asian street food. Lined the front of the stall was street food beautifully presented as if it was meant to be gourmet. The sort of food that made your mouth water. To top it off, the cooks for Tsuru made the experience even better, as their kind and welcoming attitude made you want to come back for more.
Also making a name for itself at the food festival was the outdoor bar that included a selection of international wines and beers. From Japanese beers to French wines, you were able to experience how the other half of the world lives with just one sip. Unless you’re an alcohol connoisseur, chances are you haven’t tasted every drink available on the menu. At around $11 a drink, you will be able to experience a beverage that you haven’t tried before.
But let’s say international food isn’t really your thing, and you just want to grab a greasy burger to give you comfort on a cold Autumn night. Well you would be pleased to know that PicNic also has that aspect covered. You wouldn’t have been able to miss the comic book covered cart, displaying the sign ‘Slippin Sliders’. With various burger and fries’ combos, Slippin Sliders also had Japanese and Malaysian style sliders, in case you want a little twist on your meal. Prices ranged from $4-$15, making it an affordable option that doesn’t compromise on quality or flavour.
In a nutshell, even though it was the first year in Parramatta for PicNic, they did a phenomenal job at creating an environment that people from all walks of life could enjoy. Whether you go to watch a good movie in the comfort of a double bed, or you want a bite to eat, there is something for everyone at the PicNic Street Food and Cinema. Residing in the heart of Parramatta, it was hard to miss and I can see it returning next year and every year after that.
PicNic Street Food and Cinema ran over the course of two weeks, from the 8th of April till the 23rd of April. For more information go to www.picniccinema.com or check out their Facebook page www.facebook.com/picnicinema.