Temasek is a Singaporean and Malaysian restaurant in an alleyway a few minutes’ walk from the main strip of restaurants in Parramatta. Look up ‘places to eat’ or ‘best restaurants’ in Western Sydney and the name will invariably pop up as one of the best places for Haianese chicken and laksa in Sydney.
After some minor trouble finding Temasek, we start off with Beef Curry Puffs ($6 for 3 pieces) and Vegetable Curry Puffs ($6 for 3 pieces).
Both the beef and vegetable curry puffs are identical from the outside, and to our surprise, also the inside with the beef (right) being a shade darker than the vegetable (left).
The thin layer of crispy pastry hid a thick layer of uncooked pastry that had the same texture as the mushy innards. Overall, the puffs lacked texture and we found it hard to identify vegetable or meat flavour in either puff. That said, the beef did have the flavour of holy basil, while the vegetable one took on a more grassy note. The cucumber garnishes were also limp and old.
T goes for the Haianese Chicken Rice ($14), with ‘succulent tender boneless chicken served with flavoured rice, soup, chilli and soya sauce’. He enjoys his dish, describing the chicken as moist, but not as amazing as the online reviews suggest.
I love fried chicken, so I go for the Fried Haianese Chicken Rice ($14). The pieces of chicken were all various sizes, most on the small side, meaning that while the two big pieces of chicken were juicy and tender, the smaller pieces were overcooked and very dry. While T enjoys ginger, I hate it with a vengeance and found the ginger flavoured rice with shredded ginger throughout unappetising.
D dabbles in non-instant Mee Goreng ($15.80), a Malaysian style fried egg noodle with prawn and potatoes in sweet tomato sauce and chilli (optional). He enjoyed the slightly chewy texture of the egg noodles and the mild chilli heat (he can eat very spicy foods, though).
And, N tried their much praised Laksa Singupura with Chicken ($17.80, no photo), describing it as being spiced very pleasantly without the overt flavour of shrimp paste used in the broth.
With such high praise for Temasek, we came in with high expectations. While many dishes were decent, they weren’t so tasty as to make Temasek a destination restaurant, although D, T and N would order their dishes again if we revisted . There are cheaper restaurants with a quieter setting and comparable food, like Albees.
Temasek is located at 71 George Street, Parramatta NSW 2150.