O Tama Carey is back: taking it to the street

Photography: Ben Dearnley

The ex-Berta chef returns to Sydney with Sri Lankan street food.

The diners of Sydney mourned the day O Tama Carey left Berta in 2014, but one of the city's most talented and intuitive chefs is back, with a bold new plan: Sri Lankan street food. As anyone who has tasted Carey's crub curry will attest, she's a savvy interpreter of her culinary heritage, which makes the prospect of Lankan Filling Station, an "open-all-the-time hopper shop", mighty tantalising.

Hoppers, bowl-shaped pancakes of fermented rice flour and coconut, are a Sri Lankan staple (here's a recipe). (Food writer Madhur Jaffrey once described them as the love child of a crumpet and a crêpe.) They're eaten topped with curries and sambols, and often made with an egg cooked into them.

Carey plans to offer hers with and without eggs, with a choice of curries, potato, prawn, fish, mutton and chicken among them.

Sounds exciting? Damn straight. There's one small hitch: "We haven't found a site yet." While Carey and her partners scour the city (or, more specifically, the part of the city between Chippendale and Town Hall) for a suitable location, they'll be testing the waters doing Sunday nights at Brickfields bakery in Chippendale, starting with Sundays July 10 and 17. Hop to it.

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