If there was an award for most unassuming eatery in Sydney, Rosebery Martabak would probably win it. The pint-sized, utterly austere café-restaurant is about as unfussy as it gets – half-torn posters and faded imagery of moustachioed chefs outside, the unwashed restaurant sign, the complete lack of decoration of any kind anywhere, and a messily stacked counter to boot.
But none of those things can cook. The reason you, and countless UNSW students and local Indonesians, go to Rosebery Martabak is for the $8.50 wok-hei heavy nasi goreng and the eponymous martabak.
Martabak comes in two completely different forms, the first of which is a fried roti package. Imagine gozleme, with far more crunch on the outside, stuffed with egg, onion and Indonesian-style spiced mince. The other, known as martabak manis, is a sweet version. It’s more like a fluffy pancake with hundreds of crumpet-like tubular holes. Each one is raised in a flat pan, topped with whatever you choose (cheese, chocolate, peanuts, condensed milk, banana, sesame, you name it) and then folded onto itself. Rosebery Martabak is probably the best place for both in Sydney (though Martabak Café in Ultimo gives it a run for its money).
Due to the sheer caloric intake involved, eating a savoury martabak followed by a sweet one is near impossible for a single human being, so if you’re looking to get the top three orders here – a savoury martabak, a sweet one, some fried rice and maybe even a plate of bready Indo-style meatballs – then bring a team with you.