Hidden behind the main facade of the Kensington Street precinct at Central Park, Kopi-Tiam Spice Alley is so much more than a food court. It's a pretty little corner of the world, decorated with lantern installations, but more importantly, there's a handful of damn fine food outlets in the space: Alex Lee Kitchen, Bang Luck, Old Jim Kee and Hong Kong Diner.
Spice Alley is entirely cash-free — you can only pay with card or a special rechargeable Kopi-Tiam card — so let's load up and try the grub. Run by one of Sydney's most celebrated Singaporean chefs, Alex Lee Kitchen is your go-to for authentic Singapore dishes with a unique twist from the ex-head chef at Ginger and Spice in Neutral Bay. Next is Bang Luck, a hub of Thai and Vietnamese street food run by young gun Asian-Australian chef Tiw Rakarin (ex-Mama's Buoi, Surry Hills). Then we've got Old Jim Kee, home of authentic Malaysian dishes by veteran chef Jim Yong aka Uncle Jim, famed for his namesake restaurant in Mosman. There's Hong Kong Diner, managed by the team at Chef's Gallery and brimming with HK comfort food like dumplings and other yum cha morsels. Japanese dining hall KYO-TO has also taken up residence, as well as Viet, dishing out fresh, healthy Vietnamese street food.
Take note, Spice Alley is BYO and has no corkage, so pay a visit to the neighbouring Red Bottle in Central Park to snag some wine or a beer from their growing collection of craft brews.
Images: Bodhi Liggett and Lauren Commens.