It doesn’t look that much different to your everyday city cafe, at least in terms of fit out. Wooden tables, hot dishes behind the glass counter, drinks cabinet, pleasant enough but a bit humdrum. What did make a good impression right from the start was the delightful women serving us, who managed to combine being polite and friendly but a little shy all while suffering from an occasional burst of the giggles.
The food is Malaysian and both Hungry Pete and I headed for the nasi lemak. This is a rice based dish where the use of coconut in the cooking gives the rice a richness in taste, texture and aroma. It’s one of my favourite comfort foods and at Swinging Bowl Satay for a few dollars you can also select from one or more of the sambal or curried meats available. Hungry Pete’s choice was the tamarind chicken, something I had also been thinking about and which looked good.
I ended up deciding to go with the beef rending though. The peanuts and ikan bilis were crisp and crunchy, the sambal sweet with just a hint of a spicy kick and the beef rending the drier version which I much prefer. While I wouldn’t classify it as particularly cheap the serving size was generous and represented an excellent value for money lunch.
While there I was also determined to try the roti chanai. Bingo – crispy/flaky on the outside, fluffy in the middle and served with a rich and full of flavour curry dipping sauce. Combine that with a cup of tea tarik (stretched tea) and you have what for me is almost the perfect mid-afternoon or late night snack.
What can I say, my kind of food served by nice people in ok surroundings. Everyone needs a food security blanket, somewhere not fancy but where you can go when you need to get away from it all. I suspect Swinging Bowl Satay could be that place for me in Adelaide.
Food – 8
Ambience – 7
Service – 7.5
Price – 7
18 Stephens Place
Adelaide SA 5000
Tel: 0402 342 684