A retired business owner, my passions are cooking, photography and eating. I use all three of these when I write for recipeyum.com.au which is on HubGarden
Published April 1st 2019
You must try this fabulous, cheap Indonesian restaurant
I have used the phrase 'hidden gem' before but this cafe is just that! It is set in an area that is not what you would call affluent. This cafe from the outside looks like a little old deli! It even has bars on the windows as I assume the area is not the best.
But what a surprise when you read the menu and even more so when you eat the food! It is one of the few I have discovered that is so cheap, you really could not make a meal for the prices they charge. The average meal is only about $10 to dine in.
The menu at Sparrow
Furthermore, the owner Wei Chin is such a character. He is flamboyant, full of life and jokes and has the most friendly and amazing nature, not often seen in a cafe like this. He was born in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and came out here some 37 years ago. The cafe used to be in Northbridge but is now in Highgate on the corner of a busy street. There is free parking on the side streets.
Wei Chin owner
It is very small and possibly a small deli before Wei took over it. There are perhaps only seven tables in there and one is for about six people. The cafe was about half full, however, there was a continuous stream of people coming in to get takeaway.
The simple inside of the Sparrow Cafe
I was told about this cafe by a friend of mine from Bali, who has mentioned several genuine restaurants, all of which are extremely cheap. The last one was recommended to me by a Thai friend and was the Hu Tieu Mi Ben Tre Vietnamese Restaurant.
The total bill for two people at Sparrow came to $26.50 and we had an entree and two meals, so it is fantastic value at just over $13 each; where else would you get a genuine sit-down meal for this price? We were even given a 10% discount being new customers, which brought it down even further to around $24 for two people!
We were ushered to a table by Wei and this was just a simple, plain and no fuss table and chairs. The menu was quite ample and had 68 different dishes on it.
These included several different Nasi Gorengs, soup and noodle dishes, chicken, beef, seafood, vegetable dishes and drinks.
We knew the servings would be large but we could not decide what to have, so we ordered two meals plus a small serving of Ikan Bilis, which is crunchy whitebait and peanuts in soy sauce - this was $5.
Ikan Bilis - Crispy white bait with peanuts
We did not finish this as we knew we would never be able to eat the two meals if we did! We then went on to no. 13 on the menu, which was Nasi Goreng Special. This was Indonesian chicken and minced beef fried rice and this cost just $9.50, plus we ordered an extra egg, so we would both have one.
We shared this dish and had an egg each!
This had an unusual taste as it had bits of mincemeat in it, however, it was delightful - a bit spicy but not too spicy!
This was just one quarter of the total meal!
The next meal we ordered was no. 49 and this was a Fuyunghai, which translated means chicken and mud crab meat omelette. This was unusual in that it had a sauce over it. They obviously did not skimp on the eggs in this dish and this was also very good, however, we both preferred the first one.
Mud crab and chicken omelette
This omelette was the most expensive meal on the menu and was $12.50.
Half share of the crab omelette
This cafe is situated at 301 Lord Street, on the corner of Lord and Lincoln Streets in Highgate. They are open for lunch from Monday to Friday from 11.30 am to 2.00 pm. They also open for dinner from Monday to Friday from 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm and are closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
Sparrow -Nothing flashy about this place apart from the food!
All in all, I would give this cafe a 10 out of 10, as there was nothing we could fault. It is well worth a visit for good food and a casual atmosphere!