#navbar-iframe { display: none; }

« Home | Saint Honore Cake Shop, Haymarket » | Paddington Inn, Paddington » | Daniang, Haymarket » | Apple cinnamon porridge with toasted hazelnuts » | Sydney Fish Market, Pyrmont » | Soup Plus, Sydney » | Longrain, Surry Hills » | The Porterhouse, Surry Hills » | Rise, Darlinghurst » | EoMEoTE #6: Warm and sunny »

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Cafe Joy, Haymarket

EDIT: Cafe Joy has closed

Cafe Joy sits on the corner of Quay and Thomas streets. Students are constantly sitting at the window counters digging into their meals, and most impressively--I would note as I walked past--they had a bottle of my favourite sambal asli chilli sauce on every table (Cap Ibu Jari Jempol).

So I really really wanted to like this place. It was cheap. It was relatively unknown. It was filled with Indonesian uni students.

Nasi Tim Ayam $7.90
Hainam chicken rice with mushroom and chicken served with soup

Nasi Rawon $8.50
Tasty tender diced beef cooked in East Javanese-style black soup

Bakmi Komplit $8.50
Indonesian-style chicken noodle served with fried wonton and beef balls in soup

Beef balls in soup (served with the bakmi komplit)

After visiting here twice though, I've yet to be convinced. I had the nasi tim ayam on my first visit, and found the rice rather soggy and flavourless.

I was bubbling with excitement when I ordered the nasi rawon on my second visit. The picture out the front had a black, opaque soup, seemingly rich with flavour. Alas my soup was merely tinged with brown, very salty and I found my beef a little tough and stringy, rather than "tasty and tender". My dining partner's bakmi komplit looked a lot more appetising (darn it, don't you hate it when you get order-envy?).

The food here reminded me of home-cooked meals. Simple, uncomplicated and far blander than I expected Indonesian food to be. Maybe that's the appeal for the Indonesian students here.

Perhaps I don't appreciate good Indonesian food. Maybe I've missed the point. But despite the name, there's no joy for me here I'm afraid.

8 Quay Street, Haymarket Chinatown
Tel: 02 9212 1991
17 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 5/15/2005 11:59:00 pm


  • At 5/15/2005 11:52 pm, Blogger Reid said…

    Hi AG,

    I love Indonesian food. It's a shame that there is only one Indonesian restaurant here and it's buffet only. I feel like I'm at the mercy of the Chinese owner! LOL!

  • At 5/16/2005 1:07 am, Blogger Ms One Boobie said…

    I've definitely seen beter indonesian food.

  • At 5/16/2005 11:32 am, Blogger deborah said…

    Hey AG - I've wanted to eat here since Haymarket has been one of my student haunts for 5 odd years. I have yet to make it there.

  • At 5/16/2005 3:31 pm, Blogger eat stuff said…

    Hi AG,

    There is so much good indo food in Sydney, make a trip over to Kingsford the mecca of indo food :). Get some Ayam dada Bakar/Goreng, Ketoprak/Gado Gado, Empal Goreng and Emping... :), or Soto Ayam be sure to have HEAPS of Sambal Terasi with the chicken.

  • At 5/17/2005 12:23 am, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Reid - You do tend to get strange flavour mutations when you're at the mercy of the Chef!

    Hi MrsT - I'm glad to hear you say that as I wasn't that impressed.

    Hi Saffron - Maybe you can let me know if it's any good or not. For comparison sake.

    Hi Clare Eats - Thanks for the tip. Not often around Kingsford way, but I'll bear it in mind.

    Would be interested to hear your opinion of the food here. The students in the cafe seem to love it.

  • At 5/17/2005 12:56 pm, Blogger Debora said…

    Hi, there is an Indonesian restaurant under the new Broadway apartments called Shalom, which does really decent Indonesian food. Try the empal belado *Yum*. The Ayam rujak is also pretty good. You get a dish and rice for $8!

    BTW, I'm a huge fan of your site - keep up the good work!

  • At 5/18/2005 4:15 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Debora - I've actually walked in here a few times on my travels for a bit of a look-see and gotten good vibes from the place as a "genuine Indo joint".

    I'll definitely have to make the trip now (and yes, of course, take the photos).

    Thanks for commenting and please do keep up the suggestions. As much as I love all the international visitors, I'm always keen to hear about experiences by other Sydneysiders. I need gastro-gossip!

    Thanks for the compliment. Sounds like you should have your own food blog too! =)

  • At 8/16/2007 1:54 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    its not the best indo restaurant, but you can try the ayam penyet or ayam bakar , they are not bad

  • At 8/16/2007 10:01 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi abc - Thanks for the recommendations. I'll keep them in mind the next time I'm in there :)

  • At 12/23/2007 2:36 am, Blogger Chunky Bacon said…

    I lament the state of Sydney's Indo food scene

  • At 12/24/2007 11:13 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Unablogger - Let me know if you find anything that tickles your fancy. I think Kingsford is probably your best bet.

  • At 3/15/2010 11:51 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    OMG, Cafe Joy has been newly renovated and I heard that it's been taken over by a new owner. It's much more cozy and brighter. I noticed that Cafe Joy is much more organized and they've added many more dishes on the menu and the food is so much more delicious and Yummy. My favourite food is lamb curry (tongseng). Try it guys! u won't regret it.

  • At 3/17/2010 1:42 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anon - Thanks for the update. I had noticed the Cafe Joy seems to have been renovated recently. Have yet to check it out - may have to pay a follow-up visit soon!

  • At 3/18/2010 11:28 pm, Anonymous Annice said…

    Hi AG,

    I just went to the cafe a couple of days ago, it's actually the only place in sydney that sells chicken risoles (indonesian chicken roll. I had chicken balado which I would highly recommend for those spicy food lovers with ice durian. The durian was simply too good (esp on the hot weather)! Definately coming back to try more food there!

  • At 3/18/2010 11:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi everyone,
    no doubt, this place is one of the best indonesian cuisine I ever tasted.

  • At 3/24/2010 2:02 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Annice - Thanks for the info - I will have to check out those Indonesian rissoles pronto! I'm a big fan of durian so will have to seek that out too - sounds like a perfect match with the chicken balado!

    Hi Anon - You sound like quite a fan. Thanks for your input!

  • At 7/25/2011 2:11 pm, Anonymous Dim said…

    such a shame that that was your experience. one of the first things i ordered there wss the bakmi komplit and i also found it bland. but then i tried the gulei, ayam kari, nasi goreng, kwe tiau goreng and they definitely werent bland. i never really had much indonesian food so i just order anything to try and it's definitely a place i love getting food from


Post a Comment

<< Home

      << Read Older Posts       |       >> Read Newer Posts