Anyone that's been to Town Hall Square knows that the food scene on a whole isn't all that thrilling. It's more of an enclosed thoroughfare rather than destination but there are a couple of places worth stopping at; just don't try it a 3pm on a weekday. This time of the day will have you grinding through hoards of private school teenagers yapping on their parents' pre-paid smartphones. Any other time and it's very much a desolate arcade that has the odd lost tourist trying to figure out Town Hall station or a bunch of seniors sussing out the sandwiches at New York Metro cafe.
What caught my eye many months ago was a pile of very well-used bamboo steamers in the glass cabinet at one of the take away food joints in the arcade, a place that seems to do a roaring lunch trade to the working locals and anyone willing to pay just $5 for a post-3 pm box of the days left-overs.
Looking past all of this, as well as the bubbling foods in the bain-marie, there's a bunch of pretty decent edibles to be chosen from the overhead menu behind the counter. First visit had me trying one each of the dumplings from the steamers, surprise surprise, and while they weren't the best little food parcels I've sunk my teeth into, they definitely weren't the worst.
I haven't shown it here but the pre-wrapped nasi lemak is an easy and tasty lunch option as is the chicken sticky rice (3.5) that's wrapped in a leaf. Sticky and steamy goodness and a give-away at just $3.50. The billowing bbq pork buns (1.6) are just as good as any with that sweet and salty gravy centre.
The har mee (7.9) needs an extra boot up its backside in the form some chilli sambal and the hainanese chicken (8.9) is equally average, sadly. Good rice, though. The seafood laksa (9.5) is hearty and generous and offers all of the usual suspects like fish balls, the odd king prawn and tender bits of squid. Nothing to get thrilled about but it fills that lunch-time void nicely.
ps - if you really want a laksa in the Town Hall precinct head over the road to the asian food court beneath Woolworths; Sayong does a fairly decent one compared to Lasksa Express.Laksa Express23a Town Hall Square473 Kent StreetSydney 2000Mon-Fri 9am-6.30pm