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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Indo Rasa, Kingsford

Ayam goreng Indonesian fried chicken at Indo Rasa, Kingsford

If you’ve always been unsure about what to order at an Indonesian restaurant, Indo Rasa is the perfect place to start figuring it out. The pictorial menu – that’s 61 shots spread over 11 pages – makes order-by-pointing a much more accurate exercise.

Dining room at Indo Rasa, Kingsford

In the uni student/cheap eats haven that is Kingsford, Indo Rasa is one of the fancier-looking restaurants on the strip. And by that we mean there are waitstaff here who will cheerfully take down your order. At most other Indonesian joints in the area, you’ll have to write out your own. (Seriously.)

More importantly, the place is always full, reassuringly jumping with Indonesian families, friends and couples no matter what time you pass by.

Nasi kuning komplit at Indo Rasa, Kingsford
Nasi kuning komplit $11
Tumeric rice with fried chicken, mix of giblet and sambal vegetables, marinated beef and sambal egg

Eating on your own? The nasi one-meal rice plates run a wallet-friendly gamut of $9 to $12.50. They come with all kinds of components including fried chicken, salted fish and nasi gudeg, a green jackfruit and coconut milk curry. The nasi kuning komplit ($11) is a winner based on the mound of tumeric rice alone – the bright yellow grains are incredibly fragranced with coconut milk.


Sate kambing grilled lamb skewers at Indo Rasa, Kingsford
Sate kambing $8
Grilled lamb skewers with peanut sauce

You’re better off bringing all your mates for an all-in share feast, though. That way you can order sate chicken, lamb or beef at $8 for four skewers.

Ayam bakar grilled chicken at Indo Rasa, Kingsford
Ayam bakar grilled chicken $6

And they do up to five kinds of chicken Maryland including the classic grilled ayam bakar ($6) and the fried ayam goreng ($6), blanketed with flakes of deep fried batter called kremes (it means crunchy in Indonesian).



Ayam goreng Indonesian fried chicken at Indo Rasa, Kingsford
Ayam goreng Indo Rasa fried chicken $6

Empal goreng fried marinated beef at Indo Rasa, Kingsford
Empal goreng $4
Fried marinated beef

Terik daging ($16) might look ominous, as it's coated liberally with a bright red chilli sauce. But the slices of fried, marinated beef underneath are impressively tender.


Buntut bakar grilled marinated oxtail with soup at Indo Rasa, Kingsford
Buntut bakar $9
Grilled marinated oxtail with soup

Plow through the buntut bakar ($9), hunks of marinated oxtail grilled so they take on a smoky sweetness.

Buntut bakar grilled marinated oxtail with soup at Indo Rasa, Kingsford
Vegetable soup with the buntut bakar marinated oxtail

Terong belado stir fried eggplant in mild chilli sauce at Indo Rasa, Kingsford
Terong belado $10
Stir fried eggplant in mild chilli sauce

Or try the terang balado ($10), fat slices of eggplant stir-fried until soft and sticky and smothered in a spicy tomato sauce.

Babat goreng fried tripe at Indo Rasa, Kingsford
Babat goreng fried tripe $5 (two serves)

You can even get into the deep fried tripe ($2.50 per piece) if you’re game.

Beef rendang at Indo Rasa, Kingsford
Rendang $4
Spicy beef in coconut cream

And there’s always room for rendang, especially when the beef is this tender and only $4 per scoop.

Es duren blended ice and jus alpukat avocado drink at Indo Rasa, Kingsford
Es duren durian blended ice $6
and jus alpukat avocado drink $5.50

Drinks double as dessert. Go all out and get the durian blended ice ($6) or the avocado juice ($5.50) with chocolate syrup. Do it.

Indonesian food at Indo Rasa, Kingsford

Indo Rasa, Kingsford


Indo Rasa on Urbanspoon

Indo Rasa
1/309 Anzac Parade, Kingsford, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9697 2003

Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday 11.30am-3pm and 5.30pm-9.30pm
Sunday 11.30am-4pm and 5.30pm-9.30pm


This article appeared in the March 2015 issue of Time Out Sydney in my monthly Food & Drink column Eat This! [Read online

Read more of my Time Out Sydney reviews

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/29/2015 12:03:00 am


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Palace Tea Room, QVB, Sydney

Scone with jam and cream at The Palace Tea Room, QVB, Sydney

It's an age old question: which goes first on the scone? The jam or the cream? Sure you need good lashings of both - but the order in which you dress a scone inevitably crops up at every afternoon tea. All it takes is a raised eyebrow and a pointed look to spark a heated discussion that rarely leads to people switching sides.

Gallery seating at The Palace Tea Room, QVB, Sydney
Gallery seating 

The popularity of afternoon teas (often incorrectly called high teas) seemed to hit its peak a couple of years ago, but the ritual of cakes, tea and elegant china will never completely fall from favour.

Last year I received a media gift box sent out from the QVB. In among the package of chocolates, tea and hot cross buns was an Afternoon Tea for Two gift voucher to The Palace Tea Room.

Seating inside at The Palace Tea Room, QVB, Sydney
Dining room seating

Perched on level one, the elegant cafe includes a large dining area as well as external seating that runs along the QVB gallery. Thick drapes, heavy chandeliers and Victorian grandfather chairs create an air of old world opulence. Victorian grandfather in style. The main service counter is lined with a rainbow of pastel teapots and gleaming tea canisters.

Spanish omelette at The Palace Tea Room, QVB, Sydney
Spanish omelette $21

We're celebrating Miss Nine's birthday early but everyone else is in search of more savoury options. The breakfast menu runs all day, including a Spanish omelette that is heftier in size than we expect considering it's listed under the snack section. It's impressively fuffy, cooked to a golden brown on the outside and filled with chunks of potato, chorizo, roasted cherry tomatoes and feta.

Tomato, avocado, feta and smoked salmon on sourdough at The Palace Tea Room, QVB, Sydney
Tomato, avocado, feta and basil on a soy and linseed toasted sourdough $14
with smoked salmon $5

The tomato, avocado, feta and basil toast is simple but delicious. We boost it with an extra side order of smoked salmon.

The breakfast menu also includes eggs benedict ($18), granola ($14) and bircher muesli ($12) but it's the buttermilk pancakes ($19), French toast ($16) and a croque monsieur ($17) that all catch my eye.

Smoked salmon open sandwich at The Palace Tea Room, QVB, Sydney
Smoked salmon open sandwich $25 

There's a wide selection of open sandwiches on the lunch menu. We get the smoked salmon - generous if a little on the salty side - that comes with salad and a poached egg. There's a hefty layer of cream cheese spread onto the toasted sourdough.

You can also order open sandwiches with chicken, pulled pork, steak or grilled vegetables. More substantial options include potato gnocchi ($26), prawn linguini ($29) and a wagyu beef burger ($28).

Wedgwood fine china tea set at The Palace Tea Room, QVB, Sydney
Wedgwood fine china tea set

About a third of diners today are partaking in some form of afternoon tea and almost all of them are female. You can order sandwiches, scones and cakes on their own with tea, or combine them into a classic afternoon tea served on a tiered cake stand.

Afternoon tea plate and sugar bowl at The Palace Tea Room, QVB, Sydney
Afternoon tea plate and sugar bowl

The arrival of fancy crockery sets the scene. Who wants chopping boards and slate where you could be eating off gold rimmed fine china?

Traditional afternoon tea for two at The Palace Tea Room, QVB, Sydney
Traditional afternoon tea for two $80 ($40 per person)
Petit pastries, finger sandwiches, scones and tea or coffee


The traditional afternoon tea for two will set you back $80, not a cheap undertaking but then luxury always comes at a price. Although you can order coffee, it seems wrong not to sip from a pot of tea.

The tea list racks up 26 different choices. There's everything from darjeeling to dragon pearls to pomegranate oolong tea. Between us we try the Japanese sencha and the chocolate tea. The latter is the winner, a black tea heavily scented with dark chocolate that gives a sense of rich sweetness.

Scone, crab cornet and finger sandwiches at The Palace Tea Room, QVB, Sydney
Scone, crab cornet, finger sandwiches and cheese shortbread

We start at the bottom. Surprisingly there isn't a standard doubling of every option. Although there are two chicken caesar finger sandwiches, there's only one each of the tuna and the egg salad.

The cheddar shortbread biscuit is short and buttery, sandwiched with red capsicum paste. There's a lovely sense of whimsy with the crab cornet, filleted with plenty of flaked crab but it's served without any mayonnaise dressing. On the upside it means our cone doesn't go soggy.

Cakes and tarts at The Palace Tea Room, QVB, Sydney
Cakes and tarts

The top two tiers afford an assortment of dainty cakes, slices and tarts. We end up sharing our cakes with the entire table, after dabbling in tastings of everyone's savoury dishes earlier. The white chocolate, raspberry and mango slice is light and tangy, and the meringue tart leaves everyone with a guilty trail of evidence across their lips.

Salted caramel macaron at The Palace Tea Room, QVB, Sydney
Salted caramel maracon

A coconut-dusted chocolate slice has echoes of lamington about it and the salted caramel macaron is quite a beauty, filled with a thick layer of soft and salty caramel buttercream.

Scone with jam and cream at The Palace Tea Room, QVB, Sydney
Scone with jam and cream

The scone is undoubtedly the highlight. One plain scone and one fruit scone necessitates rapid dibs or democratic sharing. These are spectacular specimens, baked so a gentle crust has formed on the outside without compromising its fluffy and pillow-like core.

I'm a keen advocate of jam first as evidenced above, maintaining it's much easier to spread jam on the base and then dollop on a thick layer of cream than attempting it the other way around. You can also surreptitiously add extra cream halfway through, because really, scones are just an excuse to indulge in bucketloads of cream.

Shops inside the QVB, Sydney
Inside the Queen Victoria Building

What we do appreciate about the Palace Tea Room is the sense of peace and serenity. Although the dining room is large, there aren't a lot of tables inside, and most patrons are quiet and subdued in their conversation. It's an oasis of calm before we rejoin the weekend shoppers, blending into the crowd before the clock chimes above.

The Palace Tea Room menus and the QVB clock, Sydney

Grab Your Fork redeemed a complimentary gift voucher received from the QVB for an Afternoon Tea for Two. All other dishes on this visit were independently paid for. This visit was anonymous and unannounced.


The Palace Tea Room QVB on Urbanspoon

The Palace Tea Room
Level 1, Shop L1 20-22
Queen Victoria Building, George Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9283 2222

Opening hours:
Open daily 8am-6pm

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/25/2015 06:05:00 pm


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta

Mud crab with vermicelli, ginger and shallots, and garlic butter sauce at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta

Mud crab for $10.80 per half kilo? We couldn't get to Golden Palace fast enough. The market price for seafood changes regularly here, but as we parked in the sprawling council carpark in the middle of Cabramatta, the scrolling LED sign outside the restaurant confirmed tonight's price. We would be in for a bountiful night of seafood.

Dining room at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta
Golden Palace dining room

Golden Palace sits above an arcade of shops - all closed by dinner time on a Friday - but take the escalator up one floor and you'll be spat out the front of sprawling restaurant that looks blinged up for a wedding. Glittering disco balls, a draped chiffon ceiling and gold fabric chair coverings with giant bows make for strong wedding reception vibes. They host a lot of wedding receptions here, but tonight it's just a motley crowd of families, friends and one guy tucking into a whole crab on his own.

Seafood menu at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta
Seafood specials

Mud crab for one doesn't sound too ludicrous when you check out the prices. On weekends, the current price for mud crab is $29.60 per kilo but during the week that drops to $21.60.

Live mud crabs at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta
Live mud crabs

After ordering, the live mud crabs are brought out for you to inspect before they're sent to the kitchen.

Live coral trout at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta
Live coral trout

The live coral trout gets a cursory inspection too.

Complimentary soup at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta
Complimentary soup

An urn of house soup sets the scene for Speedy's celebratory birthday dinner. It's a sweet pork and vegetable broth, jam packed with pork bones, carrots and greens.

Pipis with XO sauce at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta
Pipis with XO sauce $29.80

Pipis arrive with speed, the glistening bivalves cooked in a thick - if a touch too sweet - sauce made with XO. The sauce is worth relishing over a pile of fluffy white rice.

Steamed scallops with ginger and shallots at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta
Steamed scallops $5 for three

Steamed scallops are on the modest size, but at $5 for three we're not complaining. The puddle of soy and ginger in the shell is always the best part.

Mud crab with ginger and shallots at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta
Mud crab with ginger and shallots $55 (crab $21.60/kg plus $10 for cooking sauce)

We splash out on two kilos of mud crab cooked with a classic combo of ginger and shallots. There's plenty of meat inside the shell. Usually we'd get this with e-fu noodles, but tonight we're all about the crab.

Mud crab with garlic butter sauce at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta
Mud crab with garlic and butter sauce $32 (crab $21.60/kg plus $10 for cooking sauce)

We order a kilo of mud crab swathed in garlic and butter sauce. It's our first time trying this version. The sauce has been thickened with corn starch but garlic butter and seafood? You can't go wrong. The garlic chips on top add an extra hit of garlicky goodness.

Mud crab with vermicelli at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta
Mud crab with vermicelli $37 (crab $21.60/kg plus $15 for cooking with vermicelli)

Mud crab with vermicelli is a neat way of soaking up all the crab juices. The nest of fragrant vermicelli noodles hides of tangle of crab pieces. The going is slow when extracting crab from the shell, but the reward is worth it.

Beef in wasabi sauce at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta
Eye fillet steak cubes in wasabi sauce $25.80 

Beef with wasabi sauce causes a few sinus-clearing moments. The cubes of eye fillet are soft and tender, pan-fried with squeaky green beans and served with an pot of wasabi sauce on the side.

Shandong chicken at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta
Shandong chicken $18.80

The shandong chicken is a little on the dry side, with only a hint of vinegar in the dressing, but the crispy skin makes some amends.

Spicy eggplants with minced pork in clay pot at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta
Spicy eggplants with minced pork in clay pot $19.80

Spicy eggplant with minced pork is a clear winner. Those soft sticky pillows of eggplant melt in the mouth, peeled so there's not even the annoying distraction of eggplant skin. They soak up all the garlic, chilli and soy bean sauce so each bite explodes into a hot tasty mess. A scattering of pork mince adds an occasional protein hit.

Steamed live coral trout at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta
Steamed live coral trout $78

The steamed live coral trout arrives beneath a blanket of finely shopped shallots and a scattering of coriander. The flesh is plump and flakes easily off the bone. The sauce - sweet and salty with a hint of the sea - is magical.

Fried rice noodle with beef fillet at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta
Fried rice noodle with beef fillet $16.80

There's some wok hei finesse with the fried rice noodles too, cooked with plenty of oil at high heat without feeling overly greasy in the mouth. The flat fresh rice noodles are slippery, coated with a good dose of oyster sauce and tumbled through with slices of seared beef fillet. Garlic chives, bean sprouts and sesame seeds add freshness and crunch.

Mud crab with salted egg yolk at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta
Mud crab with salted egg yolk $33 (crab $21.60/kg plus $10 for cooking sauce)

And to finish... more crab! An order mix-up meant the kitchen sent this one out late but it proved a fitting end to our feast - mud crab coated in a layer of salted egg yolk.

Mud crab with salted egg yolk at Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta
Salted egg yolk 

The egg yolks of salted duck eggs are used to create a buttery, salty and eggy finish to the crustacean. We lick and scrape it off with our teeth, relishing its richness.

Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta


Golden Palace Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant
Level 1, 24-32 Hughes Street, Cabramatta, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9723 7668

Opening hours:
Daily 9.30am-3pm and 5.30pm-10pm


Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Mud crab - Eaton Chinese Restaurant, Ashfield
Mud crab - House of Crabs, Redfern
Mud crab - Hung Cheung, Marrickville
Mud crab - Keung Kee Seafood Restaurant, Campsie
Mud crab - New Shanghai, Ashfield
Mud crab - Temasek, Parramatta

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/22/2015 12:24:00 am



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