October 4, 2023


Food & Travel Enthusiast

Isla & Co. bringing Australian-inspired cuisine to Fairfield

A new dining experience is coming to Fairfield by way of Williamsburg, Brooklyn — and Down Under.

Isla & Co. is officially opening June 16 at 1420 Post Road, featuring Australian-inspired cuisine. The restaurant is adjacent to the Sacred Heart University Community Theater, and will offer breakfast, brunch and coffee during the day. At night, Isla & Co. becomes “a cocktail-driven dinner destination,” according to a press release.

Parched Hospitality Group, the Australian team behind New York City’s Hole in the Wall restaurants and The Sentry, Daintree, Isla and Ghost Burger, opened the first Isla & Co. in Williamsburg in March.

Breakfast dishes and coffee as served at Isla & Co., opening in Fairfield.

Alexandro Loayza / Isla & Co.

“We started as a coffee shop, and then we introduced breakfast, brunch, and then cocktails and dinner. By doing it that way, I think we were able to make sure we did each one at a really, really high level, rather than trying to do them all from the start,” said Tom Rowse, Parched’s chief strategy officer. 

Rowse said Australian food isn’t as clearly defined as some other cuisines; rather it’s a “mixing pot” of cultures, taking influence from the United Kingdom and southwestern Europe. Australian chefs often visit Southeast Asian countries, he said, and bring those flavors back to their cooking.

Dishes at Isla & Co. are “very seasonally charged and colorful, lots of vegetable focus and high-quality meats,” he said. Brunch offerings include seasonal smashed avocado with additions like sugar snap peas, cucumber and feta, and an egg scramble with chili sambal sauce, green harissa and parmesan with sourdough and choice of bacon or avocado. Veggie-focused dishes include a butter lettuce salad, mushroom toast, warm farro and mushroom salad and a grain bowl with chicken and vegetables.

Pork sausage rolls,  as served at Isla & Co.

Pork sausage rolls,  as served at Isla & Co.

Alexandro Loayza / Isla & Co.

Main courses at dinner feature plates like a grass-fed beef burger, fish and chips with yuzu kosho tartar sauce, braised short ribs, half-chicken, spicy shrimp vodka rigatoni and a Thai green vegetable curry.

The menu also features some Aussie staples, Rowse said, like pork sausage rolls with sweet chili sauce. Another breakfast item, the brekkie roll, is made with scrambled egg, bacon, cheddar, arugula and aioli on a toasted brioche bun.

“It’s very influenced by Australian coastal towns and the cafes that pop up along there,” he said. “Going in for a brekkie roll after going for a surf is very nostalgic for us.” 

Matt Foley, formerly of Michelin-starred Marea in Manhattan, designed the menu as Parched Hospitality’s corporate executive chef.

A brekkie roll, as served at Isla & Co.

A brekkie roll, as served at Isla & Co.

Alexandro Loayza / Isla & Co.

Cocktails will change seasonally, Rowse said, but drinks like an espresso martini with cold brew liqueur and an Isla OF (Old Fashioned) with bourbon, amaro and eucalyptus bitters will remain constants. Wines by the glass naturally feature selections from Australia and New Zealand, but also others from France, Germany, Spain, Italy and California.

Rowse said Parched is “growing quite rapidly” as a hospitality group, and they’re looking to identify “cool, fun areas” that are family-oriented. With Fairfield’s proximity to New York City, “it felt like a really obvious place” to build the new restaurant, he said.

“We aim to be someone’s favorite place to come through for a coffee, or someone else’s favorite place to come to for breakfast, or a lunchtime meeting, or after-work happy hour, or a date night, or catching up with friends or family,” he said. “We truly believe that we can offer each one of those at a really, really high quality.”

Parched also plans future Isla & Co. restaurants in Atlanta and Dallas, and two in South Florida: West Palm Beach and Miami’s South Beach. 

Isla & Co. will be open Monday through Sunday in Fairfield, with brunch served from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner offered from 5 to 11 p.m. The restaurant has seating for about 45 guests indoors and another 60 outdoors.