Sidney's Best Bargain Meal

Sidney's Best Bargain Meal
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A KENSINGTON restaurant selling food in the traditional style of West Sumatra, Indonesia, has been named as Sydney's "biggest bargain".

There's no alcohol and the decor is sparse but the price for nasi padang – where diners choose two meats, a vegetable and a rice dish from the bain-maries – at Pondok Buyung in Anzac Parade is $9.50.

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Best bargain ... Kensington Indonesian restauant Pondok Buyung.

Best bargain ... Kensington Indonesian restaurant Pondok Buyung. Photo: Wolter Peeters

The inaugural award is given in Everyday Eats 2011, a book published today listing Sydney's best meals under $30.

Published by Fairfax Books, it's a companion to The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide.

Spice I Am in Surry Hills gets the top award, named as the Everyday Eats 2011 Champ. Other awards are given for the best breakfast and vegetarian dish.

The Pondok Buyung owner, Peter Sjarief, describes his food as "100 per cent original, real Indonesian".

Diners can choose from 20 dishes including beef rendang, spiced fish pieces and lamb's brain curry. There is also tempeh (fermented soybean cake), spinach in coconut milk and noodles.

Mr Sjarief migrated to Australia from West Sumatra in 1976 and his restaurant has been operating for more than 20 years.

During that time the price of a plate of rice and three curries has only risen from $5.50 to $9.50. Mr Sjarief says he is able to keep prices low because he runs a family business.

Mr Sjarief believes increased holiday travel to Bali, when tourists often return with a taste for Indonesian food, has helped the business.

"I don't do anything, it's just word of mouth," he says, "You have to have a good standard – it's about working hard."

Everyday Eats 2011, edited by Angie Schiavone, names Chefs Gallery in Sydney as the city's best culinary theatre and Zensation tea house in Redfern as its best stress-buster.

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