I’ve never been invited to dine at a restaurant in exchange for social media exposure, and I think this probably has to do with my general aversion to lying to people. I write this blog essentially for my own memory, so that I can look back and know which places I liked and which places I didn’t like, even if I develop some kind of cognitive impairment in old age. Ria Ayam Penyet’s newly opened Parramatta branch upheld the tradition of not inviting me for free food (and to be fair, my social media reach outside of this blog isn’t even worth a blip on anyone’s radar), but did get my business after I saw them featured on an old high school mate’s Instagram, who did get to eat for free. I guess the system works.
Ria’s front page dish is their Ayam Penyet ($11.90), pictured here with the addition of a Telur Penyet ($1.50 – fried egg). This is a dish of deep fried chicken maryland, accompanied by a piece each of deep fried tofu and tempeh, fried crumbs, fresh sliced cucumber, some garden salad, and sambal sauce. I thought the chicken itself was a little bit drier than I would have liked, though my partner had no problems with it. My previous experience of Indonesian fried chicken, at Ayam Tulang Lunak in Mascot, was more palatable, though to be fair a completely different dish. I enjoyed the fried tofu, and in particular its extremely thin batter, similar to what I’ve had at Vietnamese restaurants but haven’t been able to find in Chinese cuisine. We opted for the sambal ijo (green chilli) sauce over the classic sambal terasi as my partner is less spice tolerant, and enjoyed its varying and complex textures, as well as the sense of freshness it added to the dish. Overall, this dish had pretty reasonable flavour and variety, and was good value for the excellent price.
The telur penyet, fried egg, was nothing to write home about.
The Rawon ($11.50) was next up. It is a black beef soup with fried shallots, garlic crackers, and sambal. While I enjoyed the taste of the soup with its beefiness and black pepper flavour, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed by the quantity of the beef inside. I’ve taken this photo of the soup with two pieces of cutlery inside simply to prop up the small amount of beef available, otherwise you would not be able to tell from photos that it contained any meat. The beef itself wasn’t amazingly tender or special either, but I would’ve just liked more of it to chew on. The garlic crackers were alright, especially with the sambal which I liked better than the sambal ijo reviewed above.
This Basko beef bone side soup ($2.50) was quite nice, if extremely oily. It had a rich beefy flavour, and seems to normally accompany the full Basko dish with meatballs and noodles. At $2.50 it was very fragrant and delicious, and would be a good recommendation for your starving university student looking for something cheap, warming, and energy dense.
I’m sad I didn’t get the full Basko experience, but it’s probably not really that good for me anyway. There are lots of things that I’d come back to try, were my metabolic profile not so bad.
Ria Ayam Penyet Parramatta
312 Church St, Parramatta NSW 2150
(02) 7809 0899