Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more
The Good Food Guide finally published this year’s list of 50 top cheap eats in Sydney. For me, the holy grail of dining is the hole in the wall restaurant that you wouldn’t look at twice if not for the long lines snaking out of it. Don’t get me wrong – I love fine dining, but those restaurants are so expensive (and frankly, so la-di-da) that one can only indulge once in a blue moon. To find good, cheap food is more of a challenge, so I was pretty excited to see what new eateries made it to the list.
One weekend, soon after the list was published, we made our way to Rockdale for what the Good Food Guide promised was amazing bureks. The Balkan Oven Bakery Cafe is on a the corner of Rockdale’s main pedestrian thoroughfare. It’s a simple little cafe with plastic tables and chairs outside in the sun. Inside, the star of the show is the burek or Turkish pies covered in flaky layers of phyllo pastry. There are three standard fillings – beef mince, cheese, or cheese and spinach – and for $5 for a quarter serve or $20 for the whole giant burek, this is a cheap meal indeed. There are also sweet options, but these are served as whole pies.
Our spinach and cheese burek was lovely, and much like Greece’s spanakopita but not with feta. But our favourite was the beef mince burek.
The Macedonian coffee is thick and strong and comes in a little espresso-sized copper pot. Careful not to tip the dregs at the bottom of the pot into your cup – that stuff will put hairs on your chest.
As I greedily licked the final shards of pastry off my fingers, I reflected that while I’ve never been to Macedonia, and only vaguely recall where it is on a map, their cuisine is definitely heavily-influenced by the Ottoman empire. But whichever country claims this food, whether Turkish or Macedonian, I will definitely be back to this little hole in the wall.
For more cheap eats in Sydney, visit my dedicated page here.
Balkan Oven Bakery Cafe
Shop 2, 1-3 King Street
Rockdale, New South Wales
Open Mon – Sat 6am – 4pm, and Sunday 6am – 3pm
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