Approach this place as if you’re having dinner at the home of a well-travelled Auntie. Your Auntie has painted the walls too brightly because she’s a yellow person (from her time in Africa) and clutters them with knickknacks gathered on her travels. Her place is packed to the brim with furniture because she loves to entertain, so you’d do well to expect to find yourself perched on a high stool, when you’d really prefer a chair. And walking to and from your chair feels slightly treacherous along the slippery thoroughfare between her bar and kitchen.
Auntie’s menus are always exotic, featuring a hodgepodge of influences from her travels to Africa, the Caribbean, the Indian subcontinent and Southern Americas. The Ugandan Nile Perch and Prawn ‘Molee’ ($25.65) sees her launch into a story about the magical cure turmeric has been on her rheumatoid arthritis.
She’s also fond of nigella seeds, using them to dress up her ‘Raita’ Salad ($6.85) of cucumber and yoghurt, tarted up a garnish of red onion.
To be frank, Auntie ain’t big on presentation, as evidenced by her Cuban Juju Sirloin Slippers ($26.75) heaped onto golden potatoes with lashing of sour cream. However she sure loves flavour! The combination of dark BBQ grill marks and Juju-Cubano spice rub make these tender grass-fed Angus beef sirloin steaks a winner, especially topped with freshly cut chillies.
Create your own global fusion adventure by throwing in a heap of sides, from Maghreb Hot-Ass Harissa ($4.85) to South Indian Sweet Mango Chutney ($4.85) to my favourite - a spicy Caribbean Paw-Paw and Date Pickle ($4.85).
Small portions mean you’ll want to throw in some staples – Sri Lankan Kaha Rice ($5.85/2 people) and a Maldivian Roshi Bread ($5.85) with sambar ain’t going to win any awards, but they will fill out the corners.
Auntie does love her sweeties, and a tall glass of Gula Melaka ($8.50) provides just the right, round, palm sugar and coconut milk sweetness (against tapioca pearls) to reassemble your palate.
What’s made clear by the loud and raucous crowd (punctuated by the odd spectacular crash of staff dropping dishes) is that Radio Cairo is everyone’s favourite eccentric Aunt. Rather than fight for your place at her table, put on your best manners and call to let her know you're stopping by.
83 Spofforth Street, Cremorne
Ph: (02) 9908 2649