If you've been hanging out at the Carriageworks Farmers Market during the past year or so, chowing down on Lankan Filling Station's moreish Sri Lankan snacks, then we have some tasty news for you. As of late April, Lankan will be setting up permanent digs in Darlinghurst. Get ready to eat hoppers — if you haven't had the pleasure of trying one, it's an irresistible rice flour crepe filled with curry or egg and sambal — whenever you choose, be that for brekkie, lunch, dinner or afternoon tea.
"We've been looking for the right place for while," saya head chef O Tama Carey (ex-Berta), who co-owns the eatery with general manager Odette Overlunde. "It's a really beautiful building... a stunning blank canvas."
Lankan Filling Station will be taking over a 50-seat space on the ground floor of 58 Riley Street. Carey has worked out the design in collaboration with David Mitchell Architects, taking inspiration from the simple, modern designs of architect Jeffrey Bower. Expect a casual feel, with polished concrete, dark wood, spice-filled jars, an open kitchen and plenty of natural light. And, forget about bookings.
On the menu, you'll find hoppers filled with a variety of flavours — from sweet mutton curry to tamarind prawn curry — as well as curries and sambols, including dried fish and coconut, and chilli with lime and onion. Look out, too, for a new dish: the string hopper. "It's also made with rice flour dough, but flattened like a pancake, then steamed and turned into noodles," said Carey. If you're looking for something bite-sized, choose from the 'short eats', which include delicacies such as crab cutlets.
There'll be beers, wines, cocktails and spirits a-plenty to match your food order. For something new, try Lankan's very own alcoholic ginger beer or arrack, a Sri Lankan spirit distilled from coconut flour, which Carey is sourcing from a family-run, green-certified business. "What they do suits what we strive for," she said. "It's all handmade and as natural as possible."
Lankan Filling Station is due to open in late April at 58 Riley Street, Darlinghurst. Opening hours are Monday to Friday, noon–10pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10am-10pm. Keep an eye on their website and Facebook page for further details.