Indonesian you never knew was fabulous.
MENU HIGHLIGHTS Vegemite roti; wagyu rendang pie
AMBIANCE Minimalist and social
WOULD I GO BACK? Definitely
Sunda is impressive from the moment you step inside. It’s got a minimalist layout, consistent with its design and logo. There are two long, shallow, wooden tables along which couples are seated, so you’re sitting at the same table as strangers on either side of you. It’s humble, with a warehouse look and a wholly unpretentious feel. Service is extremely warm and attentive.
Although very tempted by the $85 selection of dishes (a sporadic tasting menu), there were too many must-haves on the a la carte menu for us to resist.
The punchline of Sunda is: satay. The dominant flavour of most of the dishes revolved around curry and peanuts.
We began by picking at pickles, which arrive in a small bowl as a time-filling chopstick challenge.
A surprising delight were the coconut-covered oysters ($6 each), which were really enhanced by the curry twist.
Just so you’re aware, you cannot miss out on this rendang pie ($10). The pastry is piping hot, and is basically brioche, with a generous amount if meat inside. It’s only a few bites big, so don’t be daunted by the word ‘pie’.
The flavour of the Vegemite condiment was fairly subtle and not necessary. I could have eaten the roti alone. It was also a bit too thin – I like roti that is more flakey with some body (this one was so fine and hard that it crumbled into tiny pieces). Still, can’t go wrong with buttery pastry.
Irritatingly, the roti is a ‘special’ at the restaurant, so don’t freak out if you don’t see it on their online menu. It’s definitely their signature dish, so it doesn’t matter that I can’t remember how much it cost, because you have to order it.
I loved the Otak Otak ($29), a cold, smooth, slab of curry. Spanner crab is torched on top of the curry parfait prism, sweetening the deal. I loved eating the sculpture-like rice cracker, displaying individual grains of puffed, crunchy rice.
Interestingly, this veal tartare ($28) was partly cooked, served in large chunks, with a pho jelly layer on top. It was extremely rich, and not for the faint hearted (texturally). Easily the highlight of this dish was the kangaroo tendon puff chips, which added even more fat and flavour to the tartare.
The jus on the wagyu ($50) was amazing, but by now we didn’t need any more satay. The yellow globule was pasty and floury, and stuck to the roof of your mouth. Not the greatest beef dish I’ve ever had, and I wouldn’t know it was wagyu if I hadn’t ordered it myself.
Sunda seemed to be the choicest business lunch spot in the area, and it’s a social way to dine. You could easily meet new people, given how closely you’re sitting to your neighbour. This is Tinder date territory, because there’re too many bodies around for awkwardness. If lost for words, you can observe what your right- and left-hand men are eating.
Visit date: 5 December 2019