Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Review: Radio Cairo, Cremorne

When you're overseas, usually the one thing people ask you about the place you're from goes something like this:

"So what's your favourite thing about Sydney?"

Responses usually go something along the lines of "Weather's great, yeah and obviously Sydney harbour is beautiful..." etc etc....whatever.

But then if they happen to run into a foodie then chances are the response will be somewhat different. In fact, it would probably go something like this:

"Weather's great - y'know the sun and all - but OMFG you can eat ALL the cuisines of the world on FOOT! It's like the world on a platter!"

And what better place to show off the culinary diversity in Sydney than the understated Radio Cairo in Cremorne.

Negumbo Harlmassa (Deep fried whitebait with Sweet Chilli Sauce and Garlic Mayonnaise) - $15.95

I can't remember where I first heard about the place, but wherever it was, it certainly made a deep impression on my mind. But I must admit I have a strange fascination towards African food - there's just something about the use of strong spices and fragrance that makes the food wonderfully enticing.

Afro Fries - $5.95

Here at Radio Cairo, the authenticity of the African fare is questionable, but nonetheless bursting with flavour with every bite. Mixed in with the casual and eclectic decor dressing the walls and the various dining areas, the ambience may be described as a tonne of fun and rusticity, with plenty of smiles all around the room.

JL and I ordered two entrees to share. From the photos it is easy to tell that the portion sizes are rather friendly and suitable for sharing. I found the Afro fries salted and spiced a little too heavy handedly, preferring the delicate sweetness of freshly fried whitebait. The garlic mayonnaise provided a light tang, with just enough acid to cut through the greasy feel of fried goodies.

Tunisian Slow-Roasted Lamb Shanks - $22.95

Despite being a hot summer day, I found the option of a slow roasted lamb shank impossible to go by. The serve here was enough to feed two people, or one big eater - because I certainly wasn't even close to being able to finish this plate. Unfortunately JL is no fan of lamb, so failed miserably in the department of BF plate-cleaning duties.

Cous Cous - $4.75 (small)

I honestly thought the lamb was beautifully cooked and the meat was falling off the bone in all directions with the gentlest touch of the fork. The sauce was absolutely divine to mix in with the cous cous. The lamb itself was quite chilli, so I ended up having to down quite a fair bit of water to plough through the meat - possibly why I was bloated so quickly. Nevertheless, this is definitely a winter-warmer, and perfect for chilly nights. (Get it? Get it?)

Cajun 'Blackened' Snapper Fillets - $22.95

JL opted for a seafood option and chose the Cajun 'Blackened' Snapper Fillet. Upon first sight one would quickly notice that it was indeed 'blackened' all over, but the fascination soon subsides upon the realisation that unfortunately 'blackened' is synonymous with 'dry' and 'overdone' in this case. The fish was wonderfully tasty, especially with the Louisana Hot Sauce, but as much as I appreciate the taste and difference in texture that this cooking method produces, I would probably pass on the dish next time round.

Pink Grapefruit and Vodka Sorbet

Last but not least, we could hardly give up the chance to try some delicious Pink Grapefruit and Vodka (not-so-African) Sorbet. After all that spiciness during the entree and the main, it was absolutely delightful to dig into some palate cleansing dessert to finish the meal. The thing I love most about this sorbet was the light bitter-sweetness from the Grapefruit. Some places sadly prefer to mask the bitter flavour of grapefruits by drowning in with sugar or some other fruit juice, but truthfully speaking, I'd often much prefer a gently bitter tasting grapefruit flavour than a sour lemon sorbet.

Some people may throw shoes at me, but I'm just going to call it creative differences?

Radio Cairo
83 Spofforth Street
Cremorne, NSW 2088
Tel: (02) 9908 2649


  1. Have always meant to visit here. A shame about the blackened fish but I agree - apart from the temperate weather, what I love most about Sydney is the access to fresh fruit and veg, seafood and meat and the wide diversity of restaurant cuisines! We're truly spoilt for choice methinks!

  2. I'm not at all familiar with African cuisines so this could be a good place for me to start. Bonus is that it's not too far from home! But I agree that Sydney is an excellent melting pot of different foods, and we are indeed very lucky to be able to sample them all while venturing through our own city.

  3. There's not much I don't love about Sydney (except the public transport!). Been meaning to try Radio Cairo for a while, might drop in before 2010.