Saturday, July 28, 2012

RESTAURANT: Delima Restaurant

Despite being fairly similar to Thai, Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine, Indonesian food has been lagging being it's friends in setting up a strong foothold closer to the CBD. Instead, most of Sydney's Indonesian eateries are located around Kingsford and Randwick.

oh gado

Delima is different. It sits on the One Dixon block, around solid eateries like Uyghar Cuisine, Crazy Wings and Kura III, which perhaps explains why they need two spruikers out the front to entice you in. It's an odd dance: they hold the menu out and ask you if you want to eat, but if you say "yes" it will only cause confusion. Do as most people seem to do and just walk straight past them, up the stairs and into some faux tranquillity.

If the fish tank near the entrance wasn't enough there is also a pond filled with more fish. Any restaurant this keen to show off fish is alright in my books.

We're not so much shown to our table as we are shown to our little room. For two people, the room--which easily seats four--is equal parts excessive and excellent. We have our own pot plants and our own window which peaks through to the monorail which is directly on the other side of said window. It's not loud and it's not distracting. If anything, it makes you feel like you've stumbled into some sort of hidden bar near a Tokyo train station.

The menu is a little confusing, with entrees and mains of all type scattered seemingly without reason throughout the book. Though with every dish having an accompanying picture and description, you get pretty comfortable pretty soon.

Bintangs hit the table, along with some complimentary prawn crackers to get the party started. A lot of tempting choices, but we kick off with tempe tahu kuning. Seasoned and deep fried tofu and fermented tempeh with sambal, and definitely not a tribute dish to the nondescript Sydney suburb. There is surprising a hell of a lot of flavour in the tofu and especially in the tempeh.

Tahu kipas--crunchy, puffed tofu, stuffed with vegetables and prawns--has the feel of a lighter, more textually interesting spring roll and is another solid starter. Lumpia udang too is as solid as prawn mince put in pastry and deep fried can be, proving to be an adequate bed-fellow for another round of Bintangs.

Gado gado is one of the better known Indo dishes and this one isn't a bad attempt. PLenty of textures, plenty of crunch and a nice sweet/savoury sauce to bring it all together.

It's oddly difficult to find great rendang in the city, but Delima's is bloody nice. It's the wetter style and the sauce has a lot more spicing than some of it's contemporaries. The chucks of beef, of course, break apart with a spoon.

Not that we had room for it, but we decide to give desserts a shake. Es cendol and es kampur are both nice offerings, with shaved ice and palm sugar combining well with jellies and other toppings.

The restaurant advertises itself as fine dining, but you'll struggle to drop more than $50 a head here. With that you get good food, comfortable surrounds and friendly service. In a city lacking many other Indo offerings, I can definitely see myself coming back here for more.

RATING: Will return to [?]

Delima Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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