Located down an unassuming, and well-hidden, little arcade in Parramatta is the new love of my life, Temasek.
Temasek is located in a tiny arcade (that leads through to a public carpark) next to the fabulous art-deco, and completely over-the-top Roxy building (the sight of a former movie cinema, now a night club).
If you didn't know this fabulous Malaysia/Singaporean restaurant was here you'd walk straight past it. Which is what The Boy and I had been doing for the first three months after we moved to Parramatta. After about three months someone mentioned this place to me and I've been hearing great things about it ever since. On the weekend I thought it was high time The Boy and I went to check it out.
When we arrived at Temasek the place was absolutely heaving with people. The restaurant spans two large rooms on either side the arcade and staff race back and forth across the narrow passageway delivering meals to the hungry masses. I was starting to worry that, as we hadn't booked, we wouldn't be able to get a table. Our waitress tells us if we can eat our meal within an hour and be gone before 8pm she can seat us. Can we ever - she obviously doesn't know who she's dealing with.
As we under a time-crunch we decide to just order what we know and love, and leave the exploration of the menu til our next visit (oh, yes there will be a next visit asap)!
I already know what I'm having. My all time favourite Malaysia meal is Beef Rendang ($18.80), and I order this along with two pieces of Roti Bread which are perfect for mopping up the rich, flavoursome sauce. Temasek's Beef Rendang is beautiful. The generous chunks of beef are melt-in-your mouth tender, and the sauce has just enough of a chilli-kick to have us reaching for our glasses of water.
The Boy has a soft spot for Nasi Goreng ($14.80) an Indonesian fried rice dish that comes peppered with prawns, chicken pieces and sliced shallots. The rice is a rich, dark brown colour from the ABC Sauce - a thick, sweet soy sauce that is rich and sweet in flavour. Our Nasi Goreng is topped with a fried egg, whose yolk is still soft when we break through it with out fork.
I also wanted to try something I've never had before so order myself a Chendol Drink ($4.50). Chendol refers to the green, grass-like jelly in the drink, which is made with rice flour and coloured green with pandan. The Chendol is then mixed with palm sugar, coconut milk, red beans and shaved ice. I loved this drink as it was sweet and refreshing, but next time I'm going to pass on the red beans as the flavour was a bit too savoury, and the texture too "mushy" for me.
Chendol is actually a Malaysian dessert (well, it's listed under desserts on the Temasek menu at any rate), but I found that it was great to drink throughout the meal as the ice and coconut milk are the perfect antidote to the spiciness of the food. Eating the soft, wiggly-worms is also quite fun!
It's funny how food can bring strangers together. The table next to us had an interesting looking green bean dish (I'm sure by now you all know of my love for green beans). When I asked them what the dish was they offered The Boy and I a taste AND insisted I take a photo of the beans. A table by the door asked us if this was our first visit, when I said that it was, they ran off a string of dishes that we MUST come back to try. These two random encounters brought a big smile to my foodie face.
Temasek is in the Roxy Arcade, 71 George Street, Parramatta. I'd suggest booking a table, especially if you have a group of more than two people. Their phone number is 9633 9926.