Chef Zacharay Tan has long impressed with hints of Malay down at Devon café. After a month-long tour of his home state, Penang, he’s energised to take on the street food he grew up with, and present it in a form guaranteed to please jaded ol’ Sydney town. And if I'm honest, this is the stuff I’ve been waiting to see him cook.
Walking into the stylishly minimal Stanley Street space, Devon regulars will undoubtedly recognise the Matt Woods Designs fit out. Whether they’ll twig that the slightly buzzy dangling gold hoop lights are meant to be a nod to that eponymous rotating dining table device - the Lazy Susan - is anyone’s guess. Esoteric matters aside, the space looks stripped back and edgy.
What sets Lazy Suzie apart from Sydney’s other Malaysian offerings is the drinks. I skipped an interesting list of cocktails utilising Malay ingredients to explore the cleverly curated, Malay-friendly wine list; eventually settling upon the Fritz Haag Brauneberger Kabinett Trocken Riesling ($80). I supplemented my bottle with an interesting Sydney-based P.S. Soda concoction: while their Smoked Lemonade ($6) with vodka was a bit too sweet, Grapefruit and Gentian ($6) went especially nicely with gin.
Despite the designer trappings, don’t arrive expecting a Malay fine diner. Tan has deliberately left the food recognisably hawker; so you might bite into an ordinary-looking Spring Roll ($6/each) to find it contains a fairly cheesy lobster Thermidor mix. Or you might order South Australian squid only to realise Keropok ($5) are actually Malay fish crackers, updated to be far less fishy here, and served with an interesting prawn sambal mayo.
More impressive are pillowy Prosperity Bao ($7/each) stuffed with generous hunks of slow-cooked wagyu brisket in a Sarawak pepper sauce.
I’m also enamoured with the calamansi (a sweet and sour lime) dressing accompanying tiny Fried Chicken Wings ($12).
Raw Hiramasa Kingfish ($19) combines plump pink curls of raw fish with torch ginger flowers, yam beans (for crispness) and coconut cream into a standout dish.
Cute little top hats, Pie Tee ($16), filled with sautéed carrot, shitake and yam beans then topped with freshly picked crab, provide momentary one-bite distraction before moving on to tasty Malay charcoal grill dishes.
Super-smoky Ayam Percik ($13) and Hainan-style Pork Belly Satay ($14/4) arrive with a selection of dipping sauces and greens, including wedges of crisp, exciting, pickled green mango. There’s also no peanut butter in sight, with Tan choosing to team his satays with a clever sweet potato sauce instead.
You can try all the dishes I mention here by ordering the Tasting Menu ($55/head), which ends with an updated Mango Lassi ($14). This dessert deconstructs the hard-to-love yoghurt drink into a something sweet, aerated and delicious.
78 Stanley Street, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 7901 0396