Aslan Coffee, St Peters
Koi Dessert Bar, Chippendale
Koi Dessert Bar, Chippendale
Just a decade ago, Indonesian restaurants in Sydney were few and far between, but now, we’re spoiled for choice. From street food to fancier fare, there are plenty of places dishing up Indo delights like ayam bakar (grilled chicken), sambal (chilli relish) and nasi goreng (stir-fried rice). We’re officially hooked – here’s where to go for your fix.
In Kingsford, Anzac Parade is heaving with Indonesian restaurants, but none have lines out the door day after day like Ayam Goreng 99. Whether it’s your first visit or your 50th, it’s hard to go past the most popular menu item: chicken. It’s juicy and succulent, and you can ask for yours to be fried (ayam goreng) or chargrilled to smoky perfection (ayam bakar).
464 Anzac Parade, Kingsford
For delectable, Indonesian-inspired desserts, go to Koi. After winning over the masses in Masterchef2015, Reynold Poernomo set up the dessert bar, and it’s been a hit since day one. His attention to detail shines through every sweet, but our top pick is the ‘Co Co Nut Nut’: caramelised pineapple with burnt butter crumble, palm sugar, hot vanilla yoghurt and guava sorbet.
46 Kensington Street, Chippendale
To start your morning, Indonesian-style, make a pitstop at this St Peters café. Aslan roasts three different batches of beans in-house at a time, so there’s always a new brew to try. While you’re sipping, tuck into the chorizo and avocado bruschetta, or the breakfast bun stuffed with crispy bacon, rocket, tomato relish, sweet chipotle aioli and a fried egg.
1 Council Street, St Peters
Just like the town after which it’s named, Ubud is beautiful with the right amount of buzz. With dim lighting, a huge dining room, and carved wooden wall panels, the ambience is perfect for date night or dinner with the girls (be sure to book) and the food is fantastic. Think bebek ubud (duck pancakes), lumpia (crispy prawn spring rolls) and nasi uduk, a coconut rice dish with beef, egg and lashings of peanut sauce.
582 Anzac Parade, Kingsford
The true test of an Indonesian restaurant lies in its sambal – a hot sauce traditionally made up of chilli peppers, garlic, ginger, shallot, lime juice, vinegar and fish sauce. There’s room to be a creative, but the best is spicy with a lot of punch. At The Sambal, there are a whopping seven types of sambal on the menu. For an authentic experience, use your pick as a dip for dishes.
Shop A, 432 Kent Street, Sydney
Jimbaran has been a staple on the Indonesian dining scene for years thanks to its Balinese-style décor and fresh, aromatic food. If you can, nab a table in the outdoor courtyard, and get ready to feast! Choose from the melt-in-your-mouth rendang, beef nasi goreng or the signature deep-fried chicken marinated in palm sugar. Seafood-wise, there’s a spiced milkfish, and a beautiful whole steamed fish coated in turmeric sauce.
129 Avoca Street, Randwick
To try the most delicious gado gago (Indonesian salad) in Sydney, head to this cute canteen in the heart of Ultimo. The salad has a hundred variations, but the mainstays are rice and peanut sauce. Chef Willis Utama makes her peanut sauce fresh to order the old-fashioned way: using a mortar and pestle. While you’re waiting for your dish dig into the iga penyet (beef ribs and sambal), batagor (fish cakes) or sop buntut (ox-tail stock).
Shop 197, 392 Jones Street, Ultimo
Take a break from Javanese-style cooking and try something different at Medan Ciak, where the food has more of a Malaysian influence. The restaurant serves the kind of dishes you’d find in the foodie capital of Medan, Indonesia – think veggie curries with shrimp, coconut and snake beans, and coconut rice with sambal eggs, fried chicken and chilli potatoes. The crowd favourite is the rendang, which is marinated in 20 ingredients and cooked for four hours.
Shop 3, 460 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills