Social Hideout is one of my least favourite cafes in Parramatta, and judging from the number of posts on this blog I feel like I have a broad-enough experience to hold an opinion on this. My first encounter with Social Hideout was in 2018, when my partner took me at the end of a run of ward cover night shifts (my last ever), at the start of my annual leave. Though this was well before the creation of this blog, and before I really started thinking about keeping track of what was good and what was bad, I remember my impression being that the cafe had seemingly spent a lot of effort in decorating, and perhaps could’ve better spent that energy into its food. I have the photos from that September 10, 2018 visit, though given it’s been so long and I honestly have no idea how it tasted I don’t think there’s really any point in my sharing them now. We had a red velvet latte, a taro latte, poached eggs on beetroot toast, and a french toast.
This first visit all the way back in my first year out in the real world of employment and dining out must have left a serious impact on my psyche however, as I spent the next four years trying to avoid going back, until I couldn’t. Dragged by my tail from the exhausted safety of my workplace Entrada Centre in Parramatta by a group of colleagues, I was to remember why I didn’t like this place.
The decor at Social Hideout remains as floral as ever, and though I had hoped that perhaps time and iteration might have resulted in some improvements in their food menu I was disappointed. The Lamb and Cheese Pot of Gold ($22.90) was an extremely salty mixture of tomato, slow cooked pulled lamb, beans, miso mushrooms, and labneh served with sourdough bread and butter. In my opinion this is definitely a dish that looks and reads better than it tasted – I just can’t understate how salty it was, the only saving grace being the bread, while it lasted.
I was glad to hear that opinions were not merely held by me, but also a number of my colleagues, who did not love their chicken-waffle dishes.
Ultimately I think that some cafe-goers want a place where they can take cute photos of their food with attractive floral backdrops, and some just want a place to have a nice meal. Some places manage to do both – the similarly named Social Society in Zetland (and actually quite close to Social Hideout’s Waterloo branch) comes to mind, but in my opinion Social Hideout just doesn’t cut the mustard.
Social Hideout Parramatta
2a/20 Victoria Rd, Parramatta NSW 2150