I’m not sure what’s going on with Sydney’s weather this Spring, wet and windy one week and then hot and humid the next! But I much prefer when the sun’s out because Sydney has some great spots for eating outside and the newest place to eat outdoors is at Spice Alley on Kensington St, just next door to Central Park and with an entrance directly opposite Automata.
Spice Alley has that hawker centre vibe but with the bonus of being much cleaner lol. There’s four permanent Spice Alley stalls, rock up to a counter and order your food and then wait for your order ticket number to be called before grabbing a seat in the courtyard. Oh and keep in mind you can only pay using Paywave or you take your cash to the little window to the far left of the stalls and get a Spice Alley credit card.
I’d brought the family and we start off at Alex Lee Kitchen. I’m impressed with the super flaky Roti Canai ($6), it’s light and fluffy and comes with two puddles of chicken curry and dahl sauce plus a fiery red sambal sauce that has me sneakily swiping more than my share. The roti is definitely on par with Mamak and best of all there’s no queues (yet)…
Katong Laksa ($10) is bang on in flavour, rich from the coconut and just the right amount of spice to set the tastebuds a-tingle. Noods opted for the rice vermicelli noodles but you can choose egg noodles or flat rice noodles to fraternise with slices of juicy chicken, ribbons of fish cake, beapsprouts and squishy cubes of tofu.
Next stop is Old Jim Kee with a plate of deep fried goodness. The Curry Puff ($3/each) is a nice fat specimen, stuffed with curried chicken and cubes of potato and wrapped in the flakiest pastry that has a gazillion layers. The Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings ($1/each) blew our minds, especially at only one smackerooney each! There was this savoury, umami flavour and the batter was super light and not at all oily and super tender and juicy meat oh man so good! And we also got a Pork Bun (Char Siew Bao) ($4) for good measure which the parentals loved, the bun was absolutely packed with juicy bbq pork and the pastry was ridiculously flaky.
The Penang Char Kway Teoh ($10) has a good amount of smoky wok hei flavour and is studded with slices of lap cheong sausage and my favourite crispy pork fat.
Over at Hong Kong Diner I ordered the Braised Beef Brisket with dry noodles which ($10) was so massive, I barely made a dent in it and had to get the rest packed for takeaway! The beef is meltingly soft with gloriously fatty striations and the mound of leafy green veg was much needed to cut through the fat. Oh and it came with a complimentary peppery soup too.
Dessert time! We headed back to Old Jim Kee for Ice Kacang ($6) which is served in a bowl the same size used for noodles so it’s a pretty generous serve! There’s the usual grass jelly, creamed corn, Atap Chee (palm seeds) and jelly worms on top of a mountain of shaved ice but there’s also crushed peanuts and sultanas which I wasn’t a fan of. But it’s cold and refreshing and the only thing that stops us from melting in the heat.
I of course couldn’t resist trying Alex Lee Kitchen’s Durian Roti ($9) and it was pretty awesome. Someone correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think anywhere else in Sydney does durian roti? The durian was wrapped inside the buttery and flaky roti and comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and seriously if you’re a durian lover, GET THIS!
Aaaand visited Bang Luck for Mango Sticky Rice ($7). It’s a bit steep compared to the rest of the stalls prices on food but eh I really wanted this and it’s tasty. On a previous visit I tried the Crispy Pork Belly ($10) and watch out the spice levels are pretty cray for someone who can’t handle the heat! The pork is awesome though, crispy and deliciously fatty with stir fried veg on a bed of rice.
There’ll be a rotation of popup stalls on the far end of Spice Alley, currently it’s Pok Lol with their salads, tacos and Banh Mi pork rolls. Masterchef 2015 alum Reynold Poernomo will be opening up a dessert bar in the Alley later this year too and Bar Chinois is hoping their liquor license will kick in shortly.
Chippendale (look for the red signage in the alleyways between the restored houses)
Open daily: 11am – 10pm