It boggles me everytime I walk around my suburb, the number of crap joints that pull people in droves somehow. Or the really crap ones that somehow still exist. Which is also actually very encouraging. I thought I’d write a bit about my recent experiences eating here in this strange burb that is overrun with yellow skinned “asians”. Forget Eatability. This is the real deal, street level jive on eating out in Chatswood. Local info by a local idiot.

There’s a few OK places to eat. Nothing I’d bring people to. If you want to know something worth making a trip for, turn away now. There’s no such place in Chatswood. This is for peeps who live around the area but seem to suck at feeding themselves. Actually, it’s just for me to catalog my thoughts and write inflammatory comments that border on libel and justify that by sugar coating shit.

I’ll compile a list.

  • Cantonese. By this, I mostly mean half assed Chinese and Canto roasts. There’s 2 places. One is Chatswood BBQ Kitchen, which has the best roasts. The duck is good. So is the soy chicken and roast pork. BBQ pork is alright. Their other fare is passable at best. I usually don’t bother. The other place is just across the road, Chatswood BBQ & Hotpot. Their roasts are the suck. However, they have good claypot rice and soup. A 20 minute wait is all. Just sip that soup and chill.
  • Korean. There’s a sizeable Korean population in Chatty but decent Korean is hard to find. Soban is a newish joint with a crap detailed decor that’s apparently won awards or whatever. If you look carefully at the crap chipboard, you’ll see how crap they were at joining the curves. Anyway, I just get their stews. Seafood Doenjang Jjigae, Mackeral Kimchee Jjigae or Sundubu Jjigae. They also have absurdly gigantic salads that come with strawberries and some fucked up “fusion” concept. There’s also a halfway decent Korean Chinese joint called Towon or Tao Yuan (peach garden) on the other side of the station, near the office blocks. They do a passable Jajangmyeon and nothing else.
  • Japanese. Sushi Ya is quite alright. Sushi or set meals that are good value. They gave my friend 3 big pieces of Tonkatsu once.
  • Pizza. Crust is where it’s at. Just call them and order a large seafood, crack a beer and chills. This chain things does good stuff. Don’t go too schmancy. Don’t get fuckin’ figs or marinated lamb or whatever they try to oversell. Get frickin’ meat heavy shit or seafood. I love figs by the by. I just like them fresh is all.
  • Chicken. Nando’s. Another chain but one I frequent. There’s actually 2 in Chats. The one nearer my house is suck. The one in the middle of Chats is fine. Half a chicken and chips, extra hot. Do not waste time with burgers or “chicken steaks” or skewers. Just get the bloody chicken.
  • Vietnamese. De-Pho is actually owned by Hongkies but the chef is apparently Viet. I just get their crispy skin chicken with stir egg noodle. Pho is ok. Golden Bo has attained cult status amongst my friends. Chiefly because we like to call it GO-DEN-BOW! In a supremely thick Hongkie style accent, which I can get away with since I’m CAN-TOE-NEES! They serve ok stuff. Just stick to whatever’s got some form of liquid in it. MSG haters stay away.
  • Italian. Rossini just opened in Chatswood Chase Food Court. When it did, it had the most absurdly, insanely value for money, bang for buck meal I ever had in my life. It was a porcini and fennel risotto cooked a la minute that cost me $9.50. It was cooked decently, ok creaminess, good bite and flavor but underseasoned. It also had about $15 worth of frozen porcini in my one serve. I’m talking 7 or 8cm long buggers that were fat and juicy. If you ate at some Italian joint like say Lucio’s or Buon Ricordo and they served a porcini risotto, you’d get $5 worth of porcini and it would cost you $30. Rossini have since wised up and instead of the porcini are some sliced portobello and cup and I think they’ve even stopped a la minute service but it’s still decent fare. Honestly it was a touch insane to have one chef for a busy food court doing restaurant level pasta. Which sucks cos I thought I’d have got to fleece them a couple more times and watch that fat brit sweat it out some more.
  • Steak. $8 shit at Chelsea bar. Everyone whinges about how the quality/portions have gone down but it’s still alright. Not quite as good value as the $2 steak I had in town but when in Chatswood and you’re white collar, this is the place to flaunt your wealth and eat $8 steaks with Too Heys.
  • Yum Cha. There’s one place. Fook Yuen. Which sounds awesomely vulgar. It’s OK yum cha. I have not tried Kam Fook or Chequers, which even gets mentioned in the Good Food Guide. I hesitate because I’m Chinese and as someone who’s Chinese, you do not step into places that have shark’s fins on the displays unless you’re doing it in obtuse displays of your ability to pay for a wet towel or whatever useless extras they dump on a table. I reckon they should be OK too. But I’m not OK paying for wet towels.
  • Coffee. In The Cafe serves a decent cuppa. When the main barista is in. Or the girlie chick with the glasses.
  • Pastry. Pattison’s when I’m desperate. Hello Happy is a Korean style shop that just opened. They look passable but the decor is cute. Breadtop does a mean crap in a good way donut twist and sesame balls. If you want nonsense but nicely decorated cupcakes, there’s Cupcakes On Pitt with it’s newish branch in Westfield. If you want godawful, cheap shit pastries decorated like a Chinese/Taiwanese teenager’s mobile phone, hit up 85 Degrees.
  • Thai. Express Thai Noodle Hut is all the way on Penshurst Street and pretty much not quite Chatswood anymore. However, they do passable stir fries. It used to be my goto when I lived closer to there. Sadly, there’s no other decent enough Thai.
  • South East Asian. Tamarind Spice in Chatswood Chase food court is seriously decent. Strangely enough, they have a decent laksa, arguably the best in Sydney I’ve had so far and I’ve had all the rubbish ones recommended to me in town etc. They do decent stuff. Would rec.
  • Dessert. Pink Guava has the best frozen yoghurt in Sydney right now. Don’t bother with toppings though. You’ve also got all your run of the mill, completely acceptable crap like New Zealand Natural, Gelatissimo and freakin’ Easyway but Pink Guava is probably “best kept secret” right now.

At this juncture, I would like to state that at no point, should you be spending more than $25 pax on a meal in Chatswood. It’s simply not worth it. Top dollar goes to fresh sushi and even then, I’d recommend you stick within the $8-$15 range. Best value, bang for buck is probably still Rossini. Even though they’ve changed things around a bit and are still settling in. If they stick the prices the same, they’re good value. Missing $15 worth of porcini notwithstanding, it’s restaurant quality pasta under $10. Not too many food courts where you see Orechiette with meatballs or Preseved Lemon and Thyme Ravioli. Or Tamarind Spice, which gets my vote for down home cookin’ steez. Pink Guava also rocks for $5.

Single best thing to eat in Chatswood is located in the sale section at Quattro Formaggi, where you can pick up soft ripened cheeses at half price sometimes. Good stuff, just depends on your luck. Reason being most people don’t know any better and they’re forced to push the product or lose it entirely.

Coles is surprisingly good value too. Maggie Beer’s Burnt Fig Jam, Honeycomb & Caramel Ice Cream for $9 is always a win. Their cheese section also runs sales at times. It’s clearly not unique to Chatswood but it’s good enough to mention in my book.

For stockists. There’s an ok selection. Fruit Ezy is a very good green grocer, they recently started to sell Sonoma bread at above market prices but their fruit and veg is typically on point. De Costi also tends to have decent seafood. Peters Meats does fine with their stuff as well. Quattro Formaggi actually has a variety of cheeses that gets updated amongst a host of Italian deli steez, jamon etc. Porter’s Liquor is probably your best bet if you want some wine. Little Bottler, on the other hand, is the place for good beer.

Speaking of beer, our alcohol fixer upper happens to be Orchard Tavern. Mainly because they open late. They don’t do anything good. In fact, I had the most watered down rum & coke in my life and the single worst excuse of a Sangria that probably caused God to weep a thousand rivers at the sight of such an epic fail and Satan to reconsider the concept of evil.

For suppers/late nights, we like to get crap coffees at Andronicus (I usually get tea) or crap Pajeon at Tomato. It’s really awful stuff. We only do it because we need a place to hang out. I do not recommend this to anyone seeking good taste. Come to think of it, Chatswood has also provided me with some of the worst eating experiences in my life.

Like the one time we ventured in this Mongolian BBQ joint which sucked ass like a blackhole on a mission. It was so pits. You pay way more than you should for a buffet and then you pick these random semi frozen slices of meat and add sauces and shit and give it to a duder that throws it on a flat plate behind a screen. He flicks shit round and gives it back to you. Regardless of what type of protein you pick, it tastes the same. The man is fuckin’ magic. Consistent as. In serving shit tossed in soy. So vile. So vile. This place confirmed the existence of hell.

I also dared to eat Subway once. It was early days when I’d just arrived in Sydney. The person before me got a chicken sandwich, which to my horror was this strange slice of bleached white. I promptly got a selection of cold cuts which somehow tasted crap. How the hell do you fuck up a salami sandwich?

I’ve also eaten random blobs of the worst pastries in my entire life all over the place as well as the most wonderfully shitty char siew excessively redolent with the perfume of star anise. Or extra salty roast pork and various incarnations of “Chinese” dishes that taste like hot water, corn starch, MSG and a fluttering of red goop over protein. Not to mention the incredible examples of geology as shown by “rice” and “fish” encased in seaweed at more than a few sushi joints. In truth, any place is full of shit joints. People still go there. Most of ’em don’t know any better, can’t taste shit and can’t be bothered. Eating well, healthy or tastily just isn’t important to them. Gastronomy is an exercise in luxury. I have it because I made it part of my job. Most people don’t have the time or patience for it. So they rush around, eating crap, shitting crap and living crap. Fair enough. At least they don’t write ill-informed blogs that dispense “advice” about the best places to eat in Chatswood. Heaven forbid you read some trite bag of shit like that. What kind of maladjusted misanthrope would think himself haughty enough to suggest anything like that anyway? Who knows what these cretins will come up with next?