UPDATE: 10 February 2012 – Sadly, this restaurant has permanently closed for business. We had some great meals and memories there.
Hopefully the owners Michael and Rohana Halim will start again somewhere to offer Sydney diners their wonderful food. We wish them well.
There are so many restaurants along Anzac Parade’s eat street in Kingsford and Kensington. Students from the University of New South Wales are often seen frequenting these eateries offering Asian mainstays of Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian and Taiwanese. Student budgets mean restaurants along this dining strip of Sydney need to be a little more creative where tasty food is on offer at very reasonable prices.
There are classic dishes such as laksa, nasi lemak, steam dumplings, noodles, roast duck, Hainanese chicken rice and ayam goreng with prices bordering those of a busy non-descript food court. A little more upmarket and you may find mud crabs an other popular seafood dishes at prices which are still very competitive.
We are at Ratu Sari, an Indonesian restaurant which is slightly more upmarket than its neighbours, but we are here for a reason. There are a least half a dozen dishes on the menu that rank among the best in Sydney. Prices here are slightly more expensive but is still relatively cheap for the quality of food and service.
One of Ratu Sari’s standout dish is the ayam goreng pemudi. Crispy golden brown pieces of breast, drumstick, wing and thigh arrives with its fragrant marinate of tumeric and spices and a serve of sambal belachan. To really get into this dish, use your hands and fingers and the connoisseur would get to the flavours around the bones too. The chicken skin is crispy and flavour packed with the marinate while the meat is tender, juicy and succulent. Best of all, it is not overly greasy and oily.
I commend the chef because this version of sambal belachan is a marriage in heaven with the fried chicken. Not overly spicy but still a good pungent kick to accompany the succulent chicken meat.
I don’t eat rice but when at this restaurant, I surely make an exception. This is because the terung hebi comes in the form of chunky eggplant that is sitr-fried with sambal belachan and dried shrimp.
The gravy is a pungent and spicy while the eggplant is like a sponge soaking up all the flavours.
The bihun goreng or fried vermicelli comes with its a smoky wok aromas which sets this dish apart from those I’ve had elsewhere. Slices of fishcake, prawns and meat balls are mixed with egg and fresh beansprouts and some greens providing textural contrast. Personally, this dish is the best interpretation of so many fried vermicelli variations in chinese and asian restaurants and includes the Singapore noodles that has been bastardised to death in Sydney. This dish is only available for lunch though. But if you go there frequent enough for dinner and twist the owner Michael’s arm, he might just relent.
We have been coming to this restaurant for years now and are never disappointed despite ordering predominantly the same dishes. It’s nice when the wait staff reels off our orders because they remember the dishes we like.
So dear readers, where can we find good fried chicken (non fast food kind :)) in Sydney?
470 Anzac Parade,
New South Wales 2032
+612 9662 8788