26 October 2011
Nasi House ~ Indonesian - Sussex Centre Food Court, Chinatown
Most interesting and delicious Chinese Indonesian with a Japanese twist at Sussex Centre Food Court, Chinatown.
Nasi House Menu - Click To Enlarge...
One of the more intriguing joints in Sussex Centre Food Court is Nasi House. Nasi House serves Chinese Indonesian with some Japanese dishes and flourishes thrown into the mix. Unusual perhaps, but it works. I asked the lovely boss lady where the Japanese influence comes from and she rolls her eyes and grins. "The chef" she says. I guess she means the chef is is nuts about Japanese food. Who can blame him?
We love the the little Japanese touches. All dishes whether they be Indonesian, Chinese or Japanese, are served with a bowl of miso soup, and with a Japanese style garnish of finely grated cabbage. The fresh clean Japanese touches work really well with strong, spicy Indo flavours, love it!
Indonesian is the key cuisine though, and we see a lot of Indonesian regulars during our visits.
Garlic chicken with tomato rice - $9.50. This dish gets near top billing on the menu so we have to try it. We think this dish is a mashup of Chinese, Indonesian and Japanese and it works really well. Lovely garlicy chicken, deep fried in what we think might be panko, Japanese bread crumbs. We love the rice, it has a rustic texture and the tomato flavours are subtle. The dipping sauce is Japanese bulldog sauce, sweet rich barbecue normally sauce served with tonkatsu, fried pork cutlets. Served on a Japanese style salad with miso soup on the side.
Ikan sereh (lemongrass) - pan fried fish with spicy sauce - $12.80. This is excellent, perfectly cooked with sort of a smoky barbecued flavour to the fish. The sauce is mild on the heat with a fresh tomato and lemongrass flavour. The flecks of flesh left at the end mixed in with the sauce were heavenly. Served on a Japanese style salad with miso soup and rice on the side. This is our favourite dish from this stall.
Cah Kang Kung - spicy water spinich with beef - $9.80. Stir fried water spinach in a mildly hot and sweet Indonesian sauce, with a base note of belacan, shrimp paste. We wonder if those slithers of beef are a Japanese influence. All good.
Beef rendang set - $12.80. Indonesian nasi campur served Japanese bento style. The rendang is tender and the sauce is rich. It also comes with two sticks of chicken satay, cut in thick chunks with a sweet, heavy, peanut sauce. The sambal eggplant is probably my favourite part. The rendang and satay are well cooked but not my style (we're starting to think that rendang is like spaghetti bolognaise or a Sunday roast, always better cooked at home). The set is excellent value and very filling. Fish, chicken and vegetarian sets also available.
Sop buntut - oxtail soup - $9.80. A clear light broth with some nice big hunks of tender slow cooked oxtail plus carrots and potatos. Served with rice, a slice of lemon and a wonderful vinegary, sweet chili sauce. The perfect cure for Alison's hangover.
Nasi goreng with chicken - $8.80. According to the signage it's 'Sydney's best Indonesian fried rice.' Is it? I don't know but it tastes bloody bagus to me, and we've had a reader recommendation for it too. I enjoyed it so much I didn't even put any kecap manis (Indo sweet soy sauce) on it, and I love kecap manis to bits. I've barely touched nasi goreng since overdosing on in Sumatra nearly two decades ago, likewise tequila, but I'm back baby.
Octopus with spicy sauce - $9.50. Pan fried octopus in a sauce that tastes of kecap manis with a belecan base note. It's nice but not a mind blower, excellent value. Served on a Japanese style salad with miso soup on the side.
A favourite treat at Sussex Centre food court is the huge cups of homemade iced lemon tea from the drink stall, this big sucker was only $3.
Nasi House is in the Sussex Food Centre. The Sussex Centre Food Court is at 401 Sussex Street, Chinatown. Head up the escalator into a budget version of food heaven.