After a run of mediocre (at least, not mind-blowing) food places, I had to visit an old favourite to lift the spirits.
Sayong Curry & Laksa is in the food court beneath Woolworths that can be entered from Pitt street from the first arcade on the right, coming off Park street. Their Hainan chicken rice is pretty legendary - you know you're onto a good thing when upon ordering, you're asked if you want the leg, or the breast (pick the leg!).
In such humble settings, I'd like to think what I'm paying is all going to the food. And my, what food.
The serving size is huge and I'll easily struggle finishing it all. There's a ginger sauce alongside a chilli sauce, as well as a light chicken broth sprinkled with spring onions. The chicken and the accompanying rice (hence the name) is the winner though: the meat is flavoursome and plentiful and the rice is a knockout. It's famously cooked in chicken stock, chicken fat (all tasty things need some fat in them), coconut milk as well as herbs and spices.
Value: Amazing value considering the portion size and taste. You're not paying for the atmosphere here though, which is a bit dire. Don't take anyone who is fastidious about hygiene - I have never seen anything suspect myself, but let's say the food court takes inspirations from more the hawker style food courts in Singapore rather than the gleaming surfaces of Westfield up the road.
Speed: Brisk trade. With all the hungry people, they have to be.
Take-away: Possible. But I'm cautious of taking the soup back in a takeaway container... Colleagues have done this before with this meal, and I'm always jealous of them. But it looks messy because there's at least four different containers. Look, this ain't no sandwich.
Eating at your desk: ...But on the other hand, eating at your desk will save you from smelling you like the food court. There's not much ventilation here, being situated underground.
Tip: They have been known to run out of their Hainan chicken rice dish if you're too late - ie after 1.30pm. It's rather devastating, especially if you've had your heart set on it (and come with a big appetite). Their chow kway teoh is also good, and their laksa, though not my personal favourite, is popular. The food court may look busy during peak hour (12.30-1.30pm) but people clear out quite quickly, and there's more seats around the corner.
Recommendation: Popular for its serving size, and the brisk service and busy food court makes it fine for eating on your own.