Tucked away on the quieter side of Parramatta station sits Pondok, a new Indonesian restaurant that has only opened in the last couple of months. I first came here at a bloggers dinner with Miss Piggy, vegeTARAian and Muppy and it was so good I knew I had to come back to review it (thanks for introducing this place to me guys).
Pondok is quite spacious inside and looks fairly empty because of this. We’re here on a Saturday night without a booking and it’s not that busy (yet), so if you’re looking for last minute dinner plans, you’ll probably find a table here. The ambience is a bit strange as they play random jazz music which doesn’t seem to suit the Asian theme, but each to their own.
Sate Ayam 6pcs (Chicken Satay topped with peanut sauce) – $8.50
Our first dish is the satay chicken skewers which are covered in peanut sauce. We order the mains size as it is a lot more value for money than the entrée size. They are cooked well, with juicy succulent chicken but I find the sauce could have more peanut flavour.
Chicken Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) – $10.50
Next is the fried rice which is served with salty egg, pickled carrots and cucumber, and mini prawn crackers. This is a classic soy sauce based fried rice which is flavoursome and delicious. The cucumber adds extra texture and is also refreshing through the saltiness of the dish.
Seafood Bifun Goreng (Stir-fried Vermicelli) – $10
Following this is our stir-fried vermicelli which is also cooked in light soy flavours. It’s tossed through with shallots, bean sprouts, carrots, prawns and fish cake, but for a ‘seafood’ dish, it is disappointing that there are very few prawns and fish cake pieces in there.
Gado-gado (Steamed mixed vegetables with peanut sauce) – $8
To mix it up a bit, we get the traditional Indonesian vegetable dish Gado-gado. This consists of steamed soft beans, carrots and lettuce with egg, crunchy chips, crispy tofu and peanut sauce. Usually I’ve had this dish served cold but Pondok serves it warm which is different, much better than eating cold and soft vegetables. The crispy chips and tofu adds some crunch through the softness and the peanut sauce adds some much needed flavour to the steamed vegetables.
Rendang Sapi (Indonesian style beef curry) – $8.50
Our last dish is the beef rendang which consists of soft beef covered with curry. The beef has absorbed most of the flavour and falls apart when eaten. Compared to other curries in the Malaysia/Indonesia region, it’s not too spicy either which is good! Given the amount of sauce, this dish is best eaten with rice.
Prior to this, I had never really had a good experience at an Indonesian restaurant, but Pondok has delivered a flavoursome experience. It’s delicious, affordable (all that food for 5 people) and currently guarantees a seat, but it’s a shame it isn’t busier. Hopefully their traffic picks up because this is exactly the type of restaurant Sydney needs more of.
23 Wentworth St, Parramatta, NSW 2150
Ph: (02) 9891 6857