There are many things to love about Lao Village. The bargain basement prices are just one of them. You could easily eat there for about $15 a head, feasting from a menu of 30 dishes with nothing priced over $12.
The restaurant itself is unassuming: one of several businesses housed in a long red brick building. Entry is via a white flyscreen door, depositing you into a room that is minimal in decor. Bare tiles, wood panelling and brick walls painted in blue are offset by banquet chairs in violet.
Dining room inside Lao Village
It's a family-run business with casual, if somewhat distracted service. Everyone on staff seems to be multi-tasking, but eventually you will be attended to, even if you have to hover near the kitchen to get their attention.
Papaya salad Lao style $8
The food, thankfully, arrives with lightning speed. We start with Lao pork sausages ($9), crispy and charred from the grill and spiced with lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves.
The Lao papaya salad is darker and fishier than its Thai cousin, assaulting your senses with the pungency of salted crabs and anchovies. Hot, salty, sour and sweet, it's a rush of flavours that sends you buzzing with a tingling tongue.
BBQ liver $9
A plate of barbecue liver is a huge portion, especially given the richness of this offal. It's perhaps a little overcooked, with a middle that is dry and tacky, but a generous dunking in the accompanying chilli sauce easily fixes this.
Soda with lemon $2.50
It's a warm day today and in addition to a round of coconut juices, we suck down cold mugs of fresh lemonade, made with lemon juice, sugar and soda water.
Fried quails large $14
Fried quails are fiddly but when done well, they are easily worth the effort. Here they're marinated and then fried to a noteworthy crunch. The skin is crisp and sweet, and the flesh is tender and slightly gamey, enhanced by a spritz of fresh lemon and a dip in salt and pepper.
Crispy fried rice with Lao-style ham $9
We order baskets of sticky rice ($2.50 per basket) but the crispy fried rice steals the show. It's studded with little rafts of crunchy rice bits, along with slices of Lao-style ham, shallots and roasted peanuts.
Take a trip to Lao for only a handful of change. Your tastebuds will thank you for it.
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1-3 Anzac Avenue, Fairfield, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9728 7136
Open 7 days 12pm-10pm
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4/11/2012 01:39:00 am