Finally we step inside to discover Sizzling Filo's decor is beautifully b-kyu, like your classic hole-in-the-wall restaurant crossed with a reception centre, plus a grand karaoke throne as a centrepiece. We love the cloth and bow wedding chairs, which look a lot fancier from across the street. We love the authentic faux chandeliers and the mirror frames with Venetian masks hanging from the centre. And what's with that exposed redbrick splashed with jet black paint wall design? We're not sure, but we love it.
It's a Filipino restaurant so of course the staff are wonderful. And so are the customters. Folks dine in big happy family groups, the place has a great vibe at weekend lunchtimes, we can imagine a real party atmosphere on weekend evenings, especially on Boodle Fight nights, where a mountain of food is served on banana leaves down the middle of the table and folks dive in with their hands. That's our kind of fight club.
On our first visit we felt like something healthy and refreshing so we opt for a sinigang - prawn (or pork) with veggies cooked in tamarind soup - $16. The soup has a couple of prawnies each and a bunch of veggies in a light broth that is like a very clean, mild tom yum. It's a big sharing serve, more than enough for two piggies like us. Sinigang is one of those life affirming simple dishes that make you feel better for eating it (if you're in the city try the $11 Sinigang lunch special at La Mesa). Sinigang is an excellent counter to some of Filipino cuisine's heavy hitting artery clogging dishes, such as...
Lechon kawali - crispy fried rack of pork with a side of liver sauce - $13. This small but naughty serve of lardy crispy skinned pork worked wonders with the light and healthy siningang soup. If the words 'liver sauce' frighten you then don't worry, it's not super funky and it's served safely on the side.
On our second visit we felt like giving our arteries the punishment they deserve with the house specialty, crispy pata - deep fried crispy pork hock with crushed garlic and soy vinegar dip - $21. It takes a while to cook but it's worth the wait. There's a small amount of super juicy flesh but the star of the show is the crisp crunchy crackling, it's sensational and there's loads of it. It's a super lardy dish by nature but it's not super oily. Crispy pata is not the kind of dish we usually order but we loved it, it's the must-try dish here. We ate piggy-loads of crispy pata yet still had enough leftover to fill takeaway container.
To balance out the medical evils of crispy pata we order a veggie dish - pinkabet - pumpkin, green beans, okra, eggpant and pork pieces sauteed in shrimp paste - $15. The shrimp paste and little pork pieces give a real oomph to a bunch of humble veggies. We could easily order this and just some garlic rice.
We try garlic fried rice - $6 (medium) just for a change to plain rice. This hearty rice good is enough to eat on it's own.
The drinky-poos are popular and only $8.50 per jug, or $4 per glass. The iced tea (left) is sweet and lemony and much nicer than bottled lemon tea. For more action-adventure try the sago't gulaman - tapioca pearls and gelatin with caramelised sugar, it's a bevvy and desert all in one.
Sizzling Fillo is at 6 Railway Street, Lidcombe. Phone 02 9649 7939. www.sizzlingfillo.com. See menu here: http://www.sizzlingfillo.com/#!menu/cfpj
A few doors down from Sizzling Fillo is the glorious Royal Oak Hotel which features $4.50 schooners 24x7 and tops old blokes putting a fiver each way on race four at Doomben. If this isn't your cup of tea then just stand outside and marvel at the gorgeous signage for the Seahorse Bar, the retro nautical themes promise untold maritime adventures, lashings of rum, floozy mermaids, 30+ sunscreen and treasure chests. The reality is a fluorescent water feature in a pokie den. Close enough for us.
Love this patch of Parramatta Road in Lidcombe, there something so Nowheresville, USA about it.
This post was brought to you by a stumpy tail pussycat of Ashfield. The pussycats are so tough in Ashfield they headbutt you to get a pat. The Ashfield kiss we call it.