Perhaps the Malay tiger has been tamed a little too far at this cheap, cheerful entry from Samsudin Yunus (Sam Satay). The Eggplant Sambal ($10) failed to raise even a bead of sweat, but the silky wedges of eggplant were pleasurable anyway.
In contrast, the Penang Laksa ($12) was sour and fishy enough to scare away the unfamiliar. Forewarned is forearmed though, and the concerned staff were emphatic: “You won’t like this.” The Nasi Ayam ($12) was an inexpensive complete meal of chicken, great chicken rice and a bowl of chicken broth. The rice I'd order again.
Among the success stories were Abang Sam’s Famous Satay Sticks ($9 / 6 pieces) accompanied by a good peanut sauce, cucumber, onion and neat little squares of compressed rice.
Another success was the rich and complex Rendang Daging ($14) with falling apart hunks of beef.
My love of roti has almost become a fetish, so believe me when I tell you that they’re good here. I would order Roti Canai ($9/2 piece) which is best with the chicken curry dipping sauce (above) over the bland dhal (below).
While the pink and purple lighting are eye-catching from outside, inside there is a function centre feel – but as the name suggests, you’re welcome to bring the kids. My dining companion was a (discreetly) nursing mother, and the staff were warm and keen to see her new baby.
They’ll probably want an Ais Kacang ($6) because it looks like a shave-ice; it’s surprisingly complex within from palm seed, crushed corn kernels, grass jelly, red beans and brown sugar syrup.
Abang Sam Malaysian Family Restaurant
Shop 1, 214 Anzac Parade, Kensington
Ph: (02) 9662 6554