Lankan Filling Station
O Tama Carey’s Sri Lankan restaurant and bar is a rare chance to eat good quality Sri Lankan food in inner Sydney (though it’s well-represented elsewhere in the city by old-school joints such as X Dreams in Toongabbie).
Carey learned most of the recipes in Sri Lanka. There are the dishes you can eat solo: hoppers (cup-shaped rice-flour crepes), pan rolls (like a flakier Sri Lankan-style spring roll), spicy deep-fried crab balls, and swirly chickpea fritters. And then there is a traditional Sri Lankan-style dinner comprising a couple of curries, such as a dry mutton curry or a fiery and tart prawn curry; some pickles; a sambol or two; and vegetables, such as green spinach with chilli or tangy tamarind and tomato eggplant. Add in hoppers to soak, dip and scoop it all up. The balance of flavours is heat, sourness and freshness.
On weekends, Lankan Filling Station serves one of Sydney’s best – and most unique – brunch menus. Come for sweet hoppers with whipped coconut; roti toasties filled with bacon, onion, green chilli and green tomato; and breakfast curries. Even dishes that sound familiar aren’t really. The crisp fried-egg roll, for example, is dolloped with fermented chilli sauce and pol sambol.
You can also order a sambol-splattered egg hopper with a minimal-intervention wine by the glass, or a custom-blended Sri Lankan tea (sold retail, too) and down both over a polished-concrete bar backed by a sleek fit-out by David Mitchell Architects.