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Ayam Bakar 7

Restaurants, Indonesian Penshurst
3 out of 5 stars
Indonesian grilled chicken on a plate
Photograph: Shaun Gowans

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

You eat your Indonesian chicken by the Star Wars lego at this home-style eatery in Penshurst

This Indonesian cheap eat in the quiet, southern suburb of Penshurst is well camouflaged. There are still signs for a fish and chip shop visible on the hoardings and brickwork, but a closer look reveals a friendly family place making classic soups, snacks and grilled chicken, Javanese style – not a battered sav in sight. Where the Chiko Rolls and prawn cutlets once lay waiting there’s now fried tempeh, tofu, beef rendang and vegetable dishes.

Ayam Bakar 7 Saudara specialises in Indonesian-style grilled chicken and the pasa bakar – thigh and leg pieces – is the juicier order, with skin that’s crisp and charred from the grill and meat that’s fall-off-the-bone tender. Go for the extended chicken experience with small grilled skewers of liver or giblets. Though they’re full of flavour, they are often overlooked – more fool those who pass up a chance to have at these tasty little snacks.

Go all out and make up your own dinner set from the ready-cooked options with turmeric yellow rice (nasi kuning) for something extra special, or the coconut rice (nasi uduk) for something sweeter.

Chicken might be their priority, but their beef game is strong. Order a side dish of empal, an Indonesian take on homestyle sliced meatloaf made using shredded and spiced beef, or there's a slow-cooked, sticky-sauced rendang. And you have no reason to fear the soup filled with tender slices of tripe. Those wobbly and frilly pieces of meat have a texture close to calamari and absorb whatever flavour hits them. You can choose your soup base: there’s a Jakarta Betawi coconut broth (closer to a laksa) or the spicier ginger, pepper and yellow turmeric Madura style as a base. They don’t come bulked out with noodles so order a side dish of rice to spoon up with the broth.

The family vibes are strong here. Out the back in the seating area is an impressive and proud display of Star Wars Lego assembled by the owners’ 11-year-old son. And the shop name comes from the seven siblings (saudara) who branched out from a single Jakarta restaurant family, landing as far as Sydney and spreading their mother’s cooking across the world. Ma taught the kids well, and hungry diners on the hunt for authentic Indonesian fare reap the rewards of her tutelage.


Address: 34 Penshurst St
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 10am-3pm, 5.30-9pm; Sat 11am-9pm; Sun noon-9pm
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