Sunday, June 1, 2014

Radio Cairo | Cremorne

Sometimes you just find awesome places by word of mouth. Radio Cairo’s webpage says “I hope Radio Cairo makes a small difference?” Radio Cairo makes a big difference in a small sleepy suburb of Cremorne. I think if there is one type of food that Sydney needs more of it is good quality creole food from the Caribbean, or African subcontinent. It is difficult to single out Radio Cairo’s food as either Caribean or Cuban or Sri Lankan or African or Moroccan. It really is a mesh of cuisines from different regions. The dining experience at Radio Cairo is just different and unlike any other place you will experience in Sydney.

Radio Cairo, owned by Srian Perrera, was originally borne in 1992 from a desire to look culturally forward in Australia using food and music, during a time when Indian restaurants were quite happy using old chipped crockery, staff spoke or pretended to speak very little English and brown was a themed decorator colour. 22 years on, I would still regard Radio Cairo as different which could say something about how much diversity of cuisines in Sydney have progressed, or not progressed when it comes to food sourced from certain foreign regions, but we are getting there.

Radio Cairo is essentially a statement that each country’s cuisine is influenced by another. Radio Cairo’s cuisine is deliberately diverse as “after all Creole in New Orleans wouldn’t exist without French occupation in South India (trading spices), what would North Africa, Europe or Mexico do without cinnamon from Sri Lanka, the finest turmeric from India, cloves from Sumatra and Zanzibar, pepper from Laos and Sumatra, coffee from Ache, Sumatra and Sana’a, Yemen, pimento berries (allspice) from Jamaica, saffron and barberry from the borders of Iran and Russia, prickly-ash berry from Sichuan”.

The first thing I noticed stepping into this establishment located on Spotforth Street in Cremorne just off the busy Military Road is a buzz in the atmosphere that conjures a warm and laid back vibe to give you the Africana and Caribbean experience. There is an air of fun in this restaurant, with pleasant waitstaff, and laughing crowds. It is a great casual restaurant to pop into either before or after a movie at the Hayden Orpheum Picture Place which is just across the road. But be warned, it can get busy, particularly on a Friday night so you would be wise to book ahead. The restaurant has two sittings: 6.30pm – 8.30pm and 8.30pm onwards.

The food on Radio Cairo’s menu is made for sharing….and ohh the spices! These are the dishes I would recommend you try if dining for two, bearing in mind I would recommend more than one visit to try everything else on the menu.

#1 As a starter, Cajun Popcorn is a must try. This is a New Orleans style seasoned shrimp with spicy apricot sauce dish ($14.90). A simple rustic starter. Forget the knife and fork. The Cajun Popcorn is meant to be eaten by the handful.

#2 Pulse of Africa. A popular ‘Dhal’ of slow braised assorted lentils and split peas - flavoured with cumin, coriander and clove (Side $15.85/Main $18.85). The spices in this dish tantalise the taste buds - mild and not too strong.

#3 Cuban Juju Sirloin Slippers. This dish contains Angus grass-fed sirloin steak slippers BBQ'd with exotic Juju-Cubano spice rub-served with sour cream and fresh cut chilli ($23.75). The steak is moist and succulent.

And as a base, try the Sri Lankan Kaha Rice. It’s a traditional style tempered yellow rice sprinkled with sultanas (Regular 5.75(2p) Large) 7.75(4p)

Address: 9/83 Spofforth St, Cremorne NSW 2088
Phone: (02) 9908 2649
Hours: Daily 6:00-10:00 pm

Radio Cairo on Urbanspoon

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