Selected reviews from Good Food Under $30 2013

Big Brekky

It’s heat that makes Big Brekky cool. Everyone’s warmly welcomed (regulars are bestowed hugs and kisses) and sunlight pours through picture windows to a room painted warm blood red. Poached eggs with chilli fetta bruschetta might come accompanied by a Red Hot Chili Peppers soundtrack, and plates of corn fritters, eggs-any-which-way and berry pancakes arrive still steaming. Match a piping hot Campos coffee or big bowl of hot chocolate with a monster muffin. Outside, communal toys and oodles of rare inner city space make this a parental hotspot. They do lunch too, but brekky is where all the heat is.

Frango Charcoal Chicken

At Frango (Portuguese for ‘chicken’) chooks are in constant rotation over a charcoal barbeque smokier than a Mad Men  bar scene. The takeaway set is mostly after meat and one veg (chicken and chips). But squeeze past the crowds to a no-frills, Ikea-esque table for chicken with charred, caramelised-skin and side jug of zingy piri-piri chilli sauce. Add a Greek-style salad, a rustic main of diced chicken with clams and roasted potato, or one of two dozen-odd permutations of grilled/barbequed/marinated chicken, beef, pork, cod and prawns. By dessert the chicken or egg riddle is solved: creamy egg-based dishes (crème caramel, mousse) always come post-chook.

Sideways Deli Cafe

The Sideways dialect might be mod-Oz, but it’s spoken with a noticeably Greek accent: corn fritters, ricotta pancakes and steak sandwiches keep company with mezze plates, moussaka, tzatziki and octopus salads. The menu also speaks fluent Dr Seussian, judging by the popular green eggs (eggs scrambled with house-made pesto and fetta). Everything’s made on-site (they employ a full-time pastry chef) and delivered by an ample cast of attentive staff. The coffee might have the online punditry divided, but the numbers are overwhelming in the one-of-Sydney’s-best-cuppas camp. Sideways overlooks a five-way roundabout, but joining the human traffic here is never a wrong turn.

Faheem Fast Food

The chicken tikka’s as juicy as the menu promises, but consider a mango lassi to douse the spiciness: Faheem is “100% halal” so beer is not – er – kosher. A cucumber, mint yoghurt and (never more aptly named) iceberg lettuce salad also helps. Dishes, from butter chicken to lamb paaya (lamb’s feet) arrive as quickly as patrons pile in and bubbly naans fly out of a clay oven. Lamb biryani with fluffy rice, tender meat and the occasional whole cardamom pod is the real (spicy) deal. Grey paint and beige tiles are less Lahore and more a bore, but who cares when food’s this fast, fresh and fine?

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