Temasek | Parramatta
There are few sentences more popular at work than ‘Temasek this week. Heads will pop up, chairs from adjoining desks and pods will swivel, conversations will stop…and everyone will frantically bring up their calendars. After settling the day – never an easy task, as everyone wants to come – the week is instantly made brighter, outlook more positive. Am I exaggerating? Maybe a teeny bit…but this place is definitely a cult favourite at Parramatta and my work crew is no different.
Either is the rest of Parramatta and surrounds, it would appear. If you’re heading in for lunch, try 12pm and you’ll miss the crowds. If you’re heading in for dinner, definitely book. I’ve previously pleaded my way in, however this is not always possible.
The restaurant is tucked into the lane ways of the Roxy arcade, and sprawls into another space across the corridor of the lane way. I guess even they weren’t expecting the kinds of crowds they’ve been pulling. I must interject here and say, you don’t visit Temasek for the ambiance. It’s a strictly a good, quick feed type experience, plastic water glasses and all.
But the food!
I’ve been a number of times, and I can’t seem to get past the Hainanese chicken ($19,50 for half, plenty to share between 4). It’s boneless and skinless, and the chicken is always tender, silky and juicy. There’s a reason why this dish is the star attraction here, and it arrives perfect each and every time. The usual ginger, chilli and soy on the side are all there and manage to elevate the dish from nice to wow.
Temasek also does a great Singaporean style char kway teow ($13.80). The noodles are flavoursome, yet not oily or slick. The serving size is decent and goes down a treat.
Next comes the Serai (lemongrass) pork ($17.80). I find that lemongrass can sometimes overpower the dish, however it wasn’t the case here. The flavour was delicate and subtle – sort of reminded me of the flavours in sweet and sour dishes. The texture of the dish was amazing.
The Assam (tamarind) prawns ($19.80) are another must try. The prawns come in a lovely broth which is both tangy and hot. As a heavy user of tamarind, I thought the flavour was pretty subtle, however my colleagues felt it had enough kick.
Other favourites of mine include the laksa, the nasi goreng, the sambal kang kong…heck, even the RICE is good here! Actually, what I’ve found a most effective way of ordering is to order whatever seems to be ‘trending’ at the restaurant that day. I wouldn’t try this at many places, but it seems to work at Temasek!
My recommendation? Go with a large group and share the dishes. Experiment each time you go back (and, yes you’ll be back!) The only dish I’ve ordered a second (and third, fourth, fifth…) time is the Hainanese chicken and Laksa. I’ve ordered something different every other time, and each dish has been fresh, flavoursome and satisfying!
The Roxy Arcade
71 George Street
Ph: +61 (02) 96339926
Overall: Visit for the tastes, not the looks.
Price: Very reasonable. They do a mean lunchtime special menu, with most popular dishes under $11
Taste: Ah-may-zing! I dare you to think otherwise! In fact, leave me a comment below!
Decor: Plenty of seating, some nice pictures up, but mostly just a quick feed type place.