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Lazy Suzie - Darlinghurst NSW

The Master Mixologist at the bar, Marco Oscar Giron, pushes on relentlessly in creating, mixing and delivering.

We have seen Tapas at licensed bars, the Ramen at the Izakayas and liquors at Argentinian meat grillers.   So was it inevitable to have street food from Penang now offered with an extensive cocktail, mocktail and wine list? Personally I am glad this combination has arrived  - in retrospect, it does make all sense, to have spicy tinged and tasty creations with the camaraderie of a gathering hole.  Welcome to the Lazy Suzie.

Six sections of food are offered, including small serves, salads , Malay charcoal grill, sweets and strictly hawker.   Dishes are categorised in the menu according to GF, Diary free, vegan and vegetarian.  You can watch the kitchen crew focused in their on-goiing activities in a separate enclosure behind the bar.  There are several seating options, at the bar, with small tables by the wall or in communal long tables.

The culinary inspiration and basis may be from the iconic street food dishes of George Town, Penang Island, but Executive Chef Zacharay Tan has reinvented some, transformed others and allowed a few to be as original as it was before.   Call it his gift in bringing up the best in Aussie sourced ingredients to uplift Asian traditionals.  Or call it his penchant to surprise and to experiment in yet other selectives.  Zacharay and his crew have seriously soaked in some of the best hidden flavour infused culinary techniques, whilst allowing a free play with garnish and fusion combinations from a brave new world of cooking.  

A platter of Roti Baby, based on a traditional Hainan Island and  Straits Chinese snack from early 20th century Malaya and Singapore.  At the Lazy Suzie, they are still served with the old favourite of a Worcestershire sauce based condiment on a side plate.

Simple name changes set a tone - for example the Roti Babi has now been christened the Roti Baby with a slightly different recipe.  The shape of this snack now even look  like miniature round moon cakes.   

The dough outside is more akin to brioche but the spicy and marinated mince  pork inside still brings me back to childhood  days on a  tropical island of transplanted cultures and multicultural friends.  In those days of yore, the bread was immersed in a beaten egg mixture before being deep fried.  The fillings had coarsely chopped coriander, carrots, onions and cabbage, which were mixed and stirred in a heady combination of pepper, thick soy sauce and light soy sauce.

Ren, one of the more lively and engaging persons I have encountered in Australian dining places, presented the Roti Baby with a stylish smile and enthusiastic gait.  Her male counterpart, a young man with a short hair cut, had a different approach at the tables but did well too.
The people who make your experience at the Lazy Suzie are as vital as the nuances of the food and drink, I reckon.  They show knowledge of the dishes, articulate them well and are quick on their feet as to any request or questions.  

Michael Baronie, the Sommelier cum Restaurant Manager, can look unassuming in a quiet way but sets example and professional demeanour when interacting with the 54 of us present that evening.  Michael comes from Michelin starred establishments and projects that reassuring look when making his suggestions to diners.

Penang's iconic Char Koay Teow, dished up in an authentic and flavourful manner by Lazy Suzie.

 One specific dish remains totally sacrosanct - the Char Koay Teow. Yes, there are a thousand  variations of this, as it must be stir fried fresh just before consumption, it varies according to the mood of the cook and the texture of the narrow flat rice noodles is significant. Whilst the wok is heating up and the oil brewing, how  you toss in the prawns, bean sprouts and veg is an acquired art itself.  

I love the version form Lazy Suzie as it has the non-negotiable wok heat in the noodles, although the pork lard can be evident on my nose. More than this, it is the resulting whole works staring at the three of us when the plate came - appetising, laden with ingredients, the right touch of sauce cooked with and so inviting just by itself.

Pie Tee, which was a historical test for daughters-in-laws in the past, has delicate and miniature pastry cups filled with a savoury salad comprising picked Mud crab meat, Julienned carrots, shaved yam bean and braised Shitake mushrooms.  Best as cocktail food, Lazy Suzie's offering is more wholesome than just a bite, with us being able to appreciate each morsel of ingredient, satisfying and elegantly prepared.

What I love best, a heady mixture of crackling yet tender pork belly, eaten in combination with exquisitely steamed Taro slices and served with crispy fried seafood and other garnish.  Khao Yoke is the Cantonese name of this popular dish in Malaysia, Singapore and southern China.  The Taro is preferably of the powdery variety, be very conscious of the thickness of the Taro slices used and ensure at least three hours braising.

Soft boned pork in a prawn stock broth, served otherwise as Har Mee or prawn stock noodle soup, was a highlight of the evening.  The well braised meat melted in our mouths, and we just looked at each other in amazement.  The stock was not overwhelming, just hit the right note with both seafood and pork sensations and provided the nurturing warmth for the dumpling.  This dumpling had King Prawn, but instead of a solid bite on to firm prawn meat ( like at yum cha places), I was a tad disappointed  that it was a prawn mush instead.

Traditionally the Lam Mee is only prepared for important occasions like a significant birthday of a loved and respected elder.  Thinly shaved prawn slices, succulent pork cuts, shredded omelette ribbons and the compulsory Sambal condiment are not changed from the original recipe.  This dish can be challenging, as the chef needs to achieve subtlety in the stock soup, provide the right texture in the noodles and ingredients and yet ensure taste in the right strengths.

Together with the Char Koay Teow,  the taste and extraordinariness of the  the Lam Mee, and that of the stock soup in the Har Mee, remind me of Aunty Jenny's home cooking in St. Ives in upper north shore Sydney.

ABC Ice Kacang with the colour purple., still standing out under the mellow light of a dining evening.  The surreal effect on the taste of the shavings come from the natural dye of the blue pea flower, a prized ingredient in Straits Chinese and Malay culture.  The lavender effect on the ball gingerly sitting on top of your serve is from taro flavours. 

The ice shaver mechanical machine, imported from Penang, had a red colour band and stood out easily noticed,even if placed at the far end of the long counter.  The outcome of the ABC ice dessert can depend on the granularity of the resulting shaves, the experience of the person preparing them, the mixture of crunchiness and soothingness of the various accompanying ingredients plus the syrup flavours.

Instead of the usual red rose syrup you find in  George Town's streets, the Lazy Suzie offers a more delicate and  yet more satisfying flavour - that of the blue pea flower.  This flavour is also utilised in the Rama Rama Spritz cocktail made with Dandelion and Burdock bitters, giving an indigo hued presentation.

Several diners did opine that the cheese was over the top with the Lobster Thermidor spring rolls, with yellow coloured wraps and a side serve of cream.  Alan begged to differ and in the end I took it that could be a personal preference matter with the amount of cheesy taste.  Most of us could not find taste of the  lost Gruyere and lobster in this situation.

The Teh Tarik at the Lazy Suzie is not what you find at Hawker, Albee's or Mamak's, but what Marco does is add Johnnie Walker Black and Gunpowder green tea to Nashi pear, teapot bitters and rosemary. Kopi Tiam has cardamom coffee cream, a dash of Pierre Ferrand cognac and add-ons of espresso, cold drip coffee liqueur and beans.

The chef at work with the mango Lhassi.  The Lhassi flavours will change according to the availability of seasonal fruits.

My other recommendations from the Lazy Suzie are:

The Prosperity Bao, a snack of a slow cooked Wagyu brisket tucked inside a pillow dough and accompanied with a black pepper sauce;

Hainan style pork belly satay, served with a sauce based on sweet potatoes;

The Campo de Encanto, or the "Field of Enchantment", with Pisco Brandy from Peru and Chile, Goji berries, egg white, chocolate bitters and Kalamansi lime in carbonated water;

Green fish salad ( Jneh Hoo literally in Penang Hokkien) which is an uplifting salad combination  of cucumber and yam bean shavings, small school prawns and jelly fish in a sweet potato based spicy dressing.  This is indeed an echo of what Penang street food is about - it is light on the palate, crunchy on the bite and yummy on the taste.

Aunty Yulia's beef short ribs braised with a sweet soy sauce stand out as a starter. 

The Kerabu chicken salad has a Thai and Straits Chinese tinge with well sliced green mango, poached chicken bits, Thai native herbs for aroma, a drizzle of Kalamansi kumquats and a measure of crispy chicken strips for good measure.

Banana fritter with roasted coconut ice cream and salted caramel sauce

Tebu Jelup cocktail, very south-east Asian, using Bulleit Bourbon, sugar cane cuts and Angostura and orange bitters, garnished with Thai basil, Vietnam mint and finger lime squeeze. (Jelup in Malay means a sweetened drink with alcohol or medication and Tebu refers to sugar cane.)

Lazy Suzie is located at 78 Stanley Street, Darlinghurst, at the corner with Crown Street in the Sydney eastern suburb of Darlinghurst, a few blocks from Hyde Park and
Opening hours are from noon to midnight every week day (except closed on Mondays); Saturdays 10am to midnight; and on Sundays from 10am to 3pm.
Contact +61 2 7901 0396

Lazy Suzie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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