194-196 Enmore Rd
Enmore, NSW 2042
I love it when my sister comes up from Melbourne to visit. Not only is she great fun, she also provides the perfect excuse for me to try out places that I normally wouldn’t visit, usually due to health and/or price reasons. And today, the plan is to have a huge Indian/Pakistani feast at Faheem’s Fast Food.
Calling Faheem’s a restaurant would be a stretch; it’s barely even a canteen, with its rows of Formica tables squashed into a tiled room with zero décor. Service is strictly limited to three points – when they take your order, when they bring out your food, and when you head up to the ancient register to pay. But ambience and hospitality is not what anyone is here for. What draws the locals and expats is the unapologetically authentic Pakistani curries featuring everything from tripe to brains, and the tandoors going full-pelt in the front window, slinging out blistered rounds of naan and fragrant chicken on enormous skewers that double as longswords.
Having never been bothered with ordering tandoori chicken in the past, the Garlic Tandoor Chicken ($11, half) is akin to a religious awakening. Charred black in spots and alarmingly orange almost the entire way through, the chicken was nonetheless remarkably juicy, and absolutely bursting with flavour. The only concession is a hint of tanginess from the yoghurt marinade; otherwise each bite is a full-on assault to the tastebuds with its explosive combination of smoke and spice. Many experts claim that this is the best tandoori in the city, and I for one am inclined to agree.
One of the main reasons I decided to come to Faheem’s is to introduce my sister to the magic that is Lamb Biryani ($14.5). Admittedly, this isn’t quite as good as the rendition from Student Biryani that one of my co-workers kindly brings in every now and then. It’s not as rich and spicy as I had hoped, and the grains of rice a little too loose for my liking, though they were admirably generous with the chunks of lamb. Make sure you get this with a side of Yoghurt Mint Sauce ($1.5) – it does wonders in bringing out the flavours of the rice, turning an average biryani into one worth your time.
I couldn’t leave without trying their famous Haleem King of Curry ($14), a traditional Pakistani concoction of 4 types of lentils and beef. This was different to anything I’ve ever had before, the lentils cooked down into a thick gravy and mixed with tender shreds of beef. More stew than curry, it is the ultimate comfort food, the rich creaminess a hug to both the stomach and the soul, whilst the fresh ginger and chillies on top stopped it from being too heavy. Have it with Rice ($3.5), have it with naan, it’s all good.
Speaking of naan, I used my sister as an excuse to try the Cheese and Garlic Naan ($4.5), and it is every bit as glorious as you’d imagine. Folded into the pillowy bread, still fragrant and crisp from the tandoor, was a thick layer of creamy melted cheese. Combined with the savoury garlic butter, you’d be excused for making a meal out of this alone. I never thought I’d say this, but it made the Garlic Naan ($3) taste bland in comparison – an assessment that’s completely unfair on the garlic naan, which was still very good, and an ideal accompaniment to the curry.
I don’t usually have a lot of Indian food, so I’m not exactly an authority on the cuisine, but I have to say that this is by far the best Indian meal I’ve had in a long while. The flavours were everything you could hope for – full of heady spices, perfectly blended so that instead of becoming overwhelmed, you just keep craving more. The price point is also astounding, with all dishes being an average of at least 5 dollars less than you’d expect. This place is truly a gem, and frankly I’m going to find it difficult to try out new Indian and Pakistani restaurants when the option of going to Faheem’s is there.
Rating: 14/20 – faheem’s fast, cheap, and delicious food.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.