PIMP MY PLATE is my weekly series of reviews of cafés and restaurants in city and regional areas. My food challenge to have my lunch-or-brunch plate pimped for $18 or less.
‘How hungry are you …. reeeally?’
Ashfield is in Sydney’s inner west. It’s an old suburb with working class roots, but like many Sydney suburbs its demographic is transitioning with redevelopment. The sound of building work is its heartbeat as apartment blocks emerge along busy Liverpool Road.
Most of Ashfield’s commercial hub consists of small, independently owned retail stores and restaurants.
I decided to review the busiest café along the main strip, located on the corner of the busiest intersection – Harika.
In Turkish, the word Harika means ‘wonderful, or fantastic’. The staff I met were very friendly and welcoming, and their plates of food generous.
Harika’s menu is a mix of Turkish flavours, with daily specials like Chicken Schnitzels and Burgers, and desserts including pancakes and slices.
As I ordered my lunch at the counter, I noticed a dainty silver teapot set used for serving Turkish Coffee.
I do use powdered Turkish coffee to flavour some of my cooking, but I’m not a fan of the brewed coffee itself so I ordered a more predictable flat white coffee instead.
When my coffee arrived it was a 10/10, which is never predictable. My table gave me a great vantage point of the busy pedestrian crossing outside as I sipped my caffeine and people-watched.
And then for a moment I couldn’t believe what I saw, as I watched a motorist drive into the middle of the crowded crossing. Then, still oblivious to the people around him, he performed a U-turn. Pedestrians looked on in disbelief and so did I. Thankfully you don’t see that every day. And thankfully no one was injured.
How hungry are you?
Boom! The plate of Kafta Lamb ($15) arrived and it was enormous. This was food to fuel a marathon run. The side salad was fresh and crisp, and the lamb kafta patties were moist and flavoursome. Sauce on the side was a house-made mango-flavoured mayo with a hint of spice.
I knew I could not eat this all by myself, but I didn’t have anyone to help. Would it be sexist to call this a man-sized meal? I felt waves of Food Wastage Guilt as I apologized for leaving half the meal on the plate.
Narika delivers generous, hearty servings of food, and seriously good coffee. It offers variety – flaky French style croissants, Australian favourites as daily specials, burgers, Turkish Coffee, and hearty Turkish breakfasts.
This is the destination for a takeout coffee, or a serious feed, or both!
RATED: PIMPED! FOOD: 4/5
VALUE: 4/5 ATMOS: 2/5 VIBE: Hearty and generous
HARIKA – Corner Hercules St & Liverpool Road, Ashfield, NSW (7 days)