Where to find Indonesia in Sydney
One thing you will do in Sydney if you stay long enough is eat a lot of Asian food. It’s everywhere and in every variety: Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Indian and Indonesian. I started craving the latter after a friend gave me an interesting description of the cuisine: “Something between Indian and Thai.”
Sounding like a happy marriage of flavours, I went in search of this hybrid food to bridge the salivating gap of my curious taste buds. Located in the Chinatown district and just steps away from the Darling Harbour is Delima Restaurant. I arrive so-so hungry but order with the appetite of a queen: Tahu Kipas ($11.95), Ikan Pedas Medura (24.95) and steamed white rice ($2.00).
First to arrive is Tahu Kipas: a deep fried tofu puff stuffed with seasonal vegetables and minced prawns. It’s wonderfully crisp on the outside and chewy soft on the inside with spiced cabbage as the “seasonal vegetable” of choice. A side of sweet chili sauce tempers my buds with a delicious equilibrium of hot and tangy flavours. But hang on, where are the minced prawns? Already in my stomach or never present? Regardless, I down my third serving because it’s just that good.
Next up is Ikan Pedas Madura: Steamed Dory fish fillet topped with potato noodles, seasoned with mixed chili and bean pastes and peppered with scallions. I heed the advice of the waiter and order rice to reduce the spice a few notches. A perfect merriment of bold bean paste followed by bursts of chili drench each noodle and pop on my tongue like Harbourside fireworks. The fish is tender-protein-perfect and clean of skin and scales.
Of equal measure in taste is the atmosphere and customer service at Delima Restaurant. Red Oak tables and hardwood floors make chic surface, while wood carved statues and metal facings provide wall art. Waiters are friendly and attentive, bringing a plate of prawn chips to my table immediately after I arrive, filling my glass with water and informing me of last call to order with a smile.
Bonus points for a storybook-like bound menu that includes punchy, colourful photographs and to-the-point dish descriptions. Extra bonus points for seedless watermelon slices – served on the house – that provide a nice, cool ending to the meal. Sweet and refreshing just like the fruit, Delima Restaurant delivers an above par experience in Indonesian taste, service and hospitality.
Delima Restaurant is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner.