The Best of the West (so far)

Originally published by Two Thousand in 2014

Six months ago I made a promise to both you and my stomach that Two Thousand’s EATDRINK section would widen its reach (while widening my stomach). For every review of a new restaurant opening in the new restaurant thunderdome that is the stretch of Newtown to the CBD, we would write about an incredible institution out in the suburbs. Specifically, the Western Suburbs.

Now, maybe I’ve lost my way in the last few weeks, writing about Vegemite pizzas and Maccas cafes when I should’ve been in the burbs, but here are some of the best meals I ate in 2014, all out west where the miracles happen. Plan a day trip and see how many can eat at in 12 hours. Less than six and you’re soft.

2015 UPDATE:

For the last six months we’ve made it a bit of a mission statement to expand the reach of our restaurant write ups. For every brand new Merivale mansion or CBD based fusion hot spot, we’ve featured a classic eatery from the true heart of Sydney: the Western Suburbs.

Some would call it a pilgrimage to find the realest food Sydney has to offer, others would call this Parramatta based editor too lazy to go to the city every week, but one thing is certain: listed below are 20 of the best joints in town, all of which are worth visiting, preferably all on the same day.

Consult these articles before roadtripping out west for some outrageously good Vietnamese in Bankstown and Cabramatta, supremely satisfying Lebanese in Granville and the best African food you can find in Merrylands. You see those little red dots ten centimetres from the city in our directory? That’s real progress, people. Delicious progress.


The best meal in Cabramatta

“Let’s call this the Cabramatta Happy Meal – consisting of roast chicken banh mi from KK Bakery, a large fries from Red Lea Chicken and a sugarcane juice from Thu Phung N. If you want the complete package you can buy a cheap knockoff toy from one of the variety stores nearby.”

Phu Quoc

“I love a good spring roll, and would say that Phu Quoc is where you’ll find the best ones in Sydney. The cha gio come long and thick, stacked on your plate and surrounded by herbs. They’ve spent a nice amount of time slowly deep frying, the layer of rice paper developing an impressive and golden crunch.”

Que Huong

“Que Huong keeps things crunchy, even after a prolonged swim in the spicy fish sauce. Make sure you get a plate of banh khot, cute little deep fried cakes with a school prawn sitting proudly on top. Like banh xeo, the cakes are eaten with herbs and lettuce, but their insides are gooey and coconutty!”

Tan Viet Noodle House

“Tan Viet Noodle House is probably the most popular and famous restaurant in Cabramatta. But nobody goes there for the noodles. They go there for the fried chicken.”


El Jannah

“If you have leftover garlic sauce do not take it home – you will eat it with a spoon and have nightmares for a week.”

Abla’s Pastries

“The real Abla’s magic happens at 1am on a Sunday, there’s always a few families and friends enjoying a coffee and some baklawa, like it’s the most normal thing in the world to do at 1am.”

Afran Lebnan Bakery

“The plain manoush goes through the oven with a thick smear of za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice mix with sesame seeds and olive oil. When it comes out you can cut it up like a pizza, or roll it up with tomatoes, mint and olives.”


New Star Kebab

“I’ve eaten the mixed shish plate from New Star Kebab at 11am, 3pm and 12:30am. It’s a thing of beauty. Three skewers of meat (chicken, lamb and minced beef, all expertly cooked over charcoal for all to see) sit atop a pile of various salads and a stack of freshly made Turkish bread.”


Lao Village

“Nam Khao is the Laotian take on fried rice and they don’t mess around – balls of rice are deep fried, then busted into bits and served with pieces of sour pork, coconut, peanuts and herbs. As soon as you sit down you should order two plates of it, planning to order one more later in your meal.”


Sky Mountain Hand Made Noodle Restaurant

“The highlight of the meal is a giant plate of multi-textured plants, meats and miscellany (delicious miscellany), carefully arranged around a bowl of ‘family sauce’. The dish had a great name, but all I can remember about it is the family sauce, a vaguely vinegary satay-like liquid that was poured over the other parts of the dish.”

Harris Park

Taj Indian Sweets & Restaurant

“Taj’s is one of the few places in Sydney that serve puri – an amazing south Indian snack that comes in different variations. At Taj’s you can get pani puri; small crunchy balls filled with chickpeas, potatoes, chutneys and tamarind water, bhel puri; puffed rice with chickpeas, vegetables, tamarind and mint sauce and sev puri, crackers topped with all of those aforementioned ingredients.”


Pho An

“The meat at Pho An in Bankstown is incredible. Thin, raw and abundant, it’s just one of the supporting actors in a bowl of pho tai. The star of the show is the broth, a rich, hearty and slightly sweet stock that will effectively ruin every other bowl of pho you eat in Sydney.”

THY Vietnamese Eatery

“Banh cuon is Thy’s signature dish. Freshly steamed rice pastry, rolled loosely around minced pork and chopped mushrooms. On the side there’s thick slices of Vietnamese ham, a pale processed meat with a sponginess that goes well with the wet rice pastry, broken into pieces with your hands and stuffed into your mouth after a brief dip into the sauce bowl.”

Nhu Y Juice Bar

“Eating avocados is just one of the many things they do better than us in South Asia. Never will you see a thin smear of avocado hidden beneath a few layers of cheap ham. Instead an avocado is a decadent dessert. In the Philippines it’s common to slice one in half after dinner and fill the hole left by the seed with condensed milk. Simple, sweet and rich – this combo is made even better when blended with ice and poured into styrofoam, as is done on the streets of Vietnam, Thailand and Bankstown.”

Bay Ngo

“Everyone’s got their favourite banh mi spot. That magical place that can feed you a football’s worth of meat, carbs and vegies for less than five bucks. For mine, the best pork roll can be found at Marrickville Pork Roll and the best chicken banh mi is at KK Bakery in Cabramatta. But the best all rounder? Is that something that any sane person should care about? Probably not, but I will fight anyone at my height or shorter who tries to tell me that Sydney has a better overall banh mi spot than Bay Ngo in Bankstown.”


El Shaddai

“El Shaddai specialises in West African cuisine – you can tell this when you walk in due to the smell of ginger and hot spices, plus the Nigerian dancehall videos showing on the TV. It looks like a humble takeaway joint from the outside – and those looking for humble takeaway food will find cheap fish and chips on the menu – but the rest of the fare is proper sit down knife and fork stuff.”

Aaboll Cafe

“So excited was I when I found out about the existence of Aaboll Cafe that I didn’t even curse the heavens for learning about a restaurant just ten minutes from my house from a fucking Broadsheet article, instead cancelling plans so I could go for dinner there that night.”


Boom Chicken and Bing Master

“Boom Chicken and Bing Master is one of the many fast food options in the underground strip that connects Westfield to Parramatta station. They offer two things: Taiwanese fried chicken (aka Boom Chicken) and jian bings, which their name states they are the masters of. Where Mr Bing’s menu inspires you to sample as much of it as possible, here your eyes are drawn to one thing only: The Boom Chicken Bing. Taiwanese fried chicken wrapped in an eggy crepe. Have Good Food Guide ever given somewhere four hats?”


Mister Gee Burger Truck

“By night, Burwood Deluxe Car Wash is home to Sydney’s newest food truck, Mister Gee Burger Truck. Pulling up on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7pm, Mister Gee offers a burger, fries and shake on a menu that changes week to week. Last week’s burger was the ‘Truffe’ burger, with beef, cheese and truffle mayo, their fries were ‘dirty fries’, covered with cheese, salsa and mayo and the shake on offer was a baklava flavoured. We ordered all three and took a seat on a milkcrate in the parking lot. It was a tremendous vibe, surrounded by 30 others taking advantage of said milkcrates and vibe.”

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