If there were ever a restaurant to challenge the bain-marie stigma, it’s Sedap Rasa. The selection here is impressive – two bars long and featuring twenty-odd curries, stews, chunks of fried chicken, sambal-dressed eggplants, deep-fried whole fish drenched in chilli, potato fritters, sambal eggs, tempeh, noodles and more. Someone of them rotate with the season, but others like the dry-style rendang and the batter-less fried chicken are everyday options.
The owners set up the restaurant like this because they wanted to give Sydney a taste of Padang food, a spicy, coconut-heavy and particularly rich cuisine specific to the capital of Indonesian Sumatra. Each meal there consists of many plates of pre-cooked food arranged around a table, each diner taking what they want with their hands before the plates are presented to the next diner. That raises food-safety regulations here, so instead, you get a plate of rice and choose what you want to go on top. There are cooked-to-order options, too, namely barbecued ox-tongue skewers with a thick and curry-like turmeric sate, fried rice and simple cucumber and tofu gado gado.
Sedap Resa’s been extremely popular with the local Indonesian and student communities since 2012 because all those dishes are under $15, and in some cases less than a tenner: the rice and three option speciality starts at just $9.50.