Shop 4, 80-80A Enmore Road
Newtown, NSW 2042
I came across my very first Boodle Fight was when an old co-worker posted a photo of their Christmas celebrations. I had never before in my life seen so much food laid out on banana leaves, just waiting to be dug into with bare hands. And the centrepiece of it all was an entire suckling pig – lechon to be precise. I never got close enough to that particular co-worker to invite myself to one of their family feasts, but the longing for a meal where the size of the plate was measured in meters remained unabated.
Several years later however, I came across the next best thing – Sydney Cebu Lechon. They may not serve up feasts large enough to feed the most extended of families, but they have been making their lechon for almost 30 years, and are well known for doing some of the best roast pork in Sydney.
Sydney Cebu Lechon started out as a catering service, but a few years prior saw them set up a brick-and-mortar shop in Newtown. And I do wonder why they haven’t done it sooner, because between the cheery interior and cheerier staff, the hospitality is good enough to make it feel as if you’re dining in the home of a friend.
I was here first and foremost for their Cebu Lechon ($23.5), and this did not disappoint. Cooked over charcoals for three hours to allow the fragrance of smoke and spices to permeate the meat, this was one flavoursome serving of pork. The leaner portions tended a bit towards dryness, but the fattier cuts were juicy perfection, though nothing could compete with the golden tiles of crackling that shatter into a mouthful of salt and fat. To combat the richness was a small side of house-made pickles, and a sharp soy vinaigrette. The serving may be on the small side, but the richness means that you won’t be left wanting.
With an abundance of meat and a dearth of vegetables on the menu, my second porky order of Crispy Bicol Express ($26.5) is actually less odd than it seems. This time around, instead of being slow-roasted, these pieces of pork belly have been deep-fried before being tossed through a sweet yet pungent curry of coconut and shrimp paste. This is saucy, strongly flavoured, and exactly what I love to eat with a bowl of rice.
Just like how the Boodle Fight is designed to be shared, the menu at Sydney Cebu Lechon is best when you visit with a group. There were several more things on the menu that I was intrigued by, but the servings were just too large and too rich to be shared between two. If you ask me, the table of 6 next to us had the right idea – a serving of lechon each, a selection of dishes to share, and some of their wicked-looking warm chocolate cake to round it off.
Rating: 13/20 – someone please invite me to their boodle fight.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.