Rumour has it that Cafe Rumah is one of the top Malaysian-fusion cafes in all of Sydney. To be fair, there aren’t really that many. My partner and I ventured into the inner west one sunny Friday morning for a bit of Asian cuisine.
Mama Yang’s Pork Belly Rice Bowl ($18) was delicious. The pork belly was cooked well, with a great melt in your mouth feel to the fat and skin components. The fatty pork to lean pork ratio was just right, and neither components overpowered the other. The fresh herbs and pickles added an additional level of flavour to the soy-braised pork belly and rice, and gave it a new spin compared to the usual pork belly fare that we normally get from Chinese restaurants around the city. I can definitely recommend this dish.
While Mama Yang prevailed in her dish’s light deliciousness, the Tom Yum Chicken Congee ($16) faltered. I found the tom yum congee to be far too tasty. The tom yum and flavours were too strong, and took away from this congee’s ability to be a wholesome and warming meal. In their defense, the congee had all of the requisite ingredients, including what seemed like $5 of ginger alone, but it is perhaps this generosity that led to its defeat. Too tasty, not wholesome.
The Milo Dino ($6.50) was a surprise hit. Six dollars is a lot to pay for a glass of milo, but the taste was nice and I didn’t choke on the powdery stuff on top.
Overall I think Cafe Rumah tends towards stronger flavours, and is perhaps a miss if you are someone who has a softer palate. Personally I would still like to come back and try their roti john, so I guess it’s a recommend with caveats.
Cafe Rumah (02) 9280 2289 71-73 Campbell St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010
Albee’s Kitchen is a Malaysian restaurant in Kingsford. Situated close to the UNSW campus, I’m told that it was a very popular spot for students prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I was a big fan of the Kuching Style Claypot Noodles ($14-$15). The soup was perfect and the noodles an excellent texture. This is one dish that I would have again and again.
Albee’s Hainanese Chicken Rice ($12) didn’t quite fit expectations. It’s hard to articulate why – it just didn’t taste as classic 海南鸡饭 is meant to taste. Maybe because it was swimming in soy sauce.
The karipap (curry puff) ($3.50 each) is a fan favourite, very large and stuffed full of ingredients. You will find rave reviews for Albee’s curry puffs online but unfortunately (perhaps because it was a bit cold) it was not to our taste.
After enjoying our first meal at Albee’s (pictured) we tried unsuccessfully to visit again twice. One time at night they had already closed prior to their advertised closing time. We ate at No.1 Malatang instead that night, which was truly disappointing. The other time we went in the morning and they were yet to open, even though it was past their advertised opening time. This was a bit of a let down on both occasions.
Overall some of the dishes are a bit hit and miss, but the inclusion of some true winners leads me to recommend giving Albee’s Kitchen a go.
UPDATE – 25/11/2020
We went back! One of our Malaysian friends happened to be in the area and had a hankering for his favourite Malaysian restaurant. We took this opportunity to gather a few of our intensive care colleagues for a lunch with a menu curated by the sedap master.
The Half Hainan Chicken ($18.80) was better than I remembered! The chicken was soft and tender, and if you look to compare with the above image you can see that the chicken to soy sauce ratio is not that as much as it was before.
The Nam Yu Pork Rib ($19.80) is pork rib, marinated in fermented bean curd, and deep fried. It is quite delicious and brimming with umami taste. They are easy to pick up with chopsticks in a shared eating scenario and I found myself coming back to it again and again.
After having quite good Loh Bak at Ho Jiak in Haymarket I was keen to try Albee’s version. While good, I didn’t quite enjoy Albee’s Lor Bak/ Ngoh Hiang (2 for $18.80) as much. The filling of pork and prawn mince with vegetable just didn’t feel as premium as Ho Jiak’s. The bean curd exterior was also not as deep fried and crispy, which is both a plus and minus. It was still good but not as good.
As a potato lover, the Curry Chicken and Potato Hot Pot (Large) was my girlfriend’s favourite. She really enjoyed the yellow curry soup mixed with rice, and also how the potato fully soaked up the flavours. Even though she doesn’t usually like to have chicken while eating out (she thinks chicken is a non-special animal, having grown up eating a lot of chicken at home) she really enjoyed the chicken here, particularly how fall off the bone tender it was. Definitely a highlight.
The Sambal Water Spinach ($17.80) was really no more special than other wok tossed vegetables with sambal mixed in. Quite good with rice. A special mention needs to be made for the sambal sauce at Albee’s, which has a deep umami flavour but isn’t so spicy that it is remote and inaccessible for the weak tongued.
My girlfriend liked the curry chicken and potato so much that she made us go again. We ordered a bit too much between the two of us, and had plenty to take home.
The Wonton Soup ($12) was good. A huge serving that is a meal in and of itself. The soup was tasty but not too salty (as it was at Yummy Duck BBQ) and the wontons large. I enjoyed the bonus greens that came with the dish which added a degree of healthfulness to the meal. If I had one complaint it would be that the wonton wrappers are a bit thick and extensive.
The Ipoh Chicken Noodle Soup ($14) was again a huge bowl for a cheap price. It was a bowl of rice noodles in a slightly spicy broth with sliced chicken, prawns, and bean sprouts. I found the mixture of chicken and prawn pleasing as it provides a bit from column A and a bit from column B – good if you’re not looking for a fully prawn noodle soup. The serving of noodles is very generous – don’t feel like you have to finish it all!
Pandan Chicken (3 for $5.80) was yummy and flavourful. Essentially Malaysian style fried chicken wrapped in pandan leaf. You’re not meant to eat the leaf but honestly it’s all deep fried and flavoured so it’s not bad.
A reprise of the curry chicken and potato but this time with rice and at a cheap price for a solo meal ($12). My partner didn’t actually enjoy this as much as last time. Perhaps the stone pot provides some additional flavour characteristics?
Albee’s Kitchen provides delicious and affordable Malaysian food. Our group meal came to around $20 per person and we left feeling happy and satisfied. I can definitely recommend Albee’s for your next lunch.
A few weeks ago I went to 101kissa, an Asian fusion brunch place in Chippendale. This week I went to X23 Asian Fusion Cafe, an Asian fusion brunch place In Chippendale.
My girlfriend drove me to brunch after one of my night shifts. We had thought about going for a couple of weeks, and finally the opportunity arose for me to sacrifice some sleep for some food. I wore sunglasses the entire time to limit my blue light exposure and posting these photos up is the first time I’m seeing these foods in their normal colour.
The shroom room shrooms ($16.80) were quite shroomy. The eggs were well poached, and most of the shrooms were enjoyable, particularly the enoki. One particular mushroom had a strong Vegemite-like taste which I was not a fan of. Maybe my palate is not developed enough. But maybe I just know what I like and this particular long shroom wasn’t it.
The X23 red eggs ($22.50) are very similar to but not as good as the chili crab scrambled eggs at 101kissa. In comparison with the similar concept eggs at 101kissa they did not have as much crab. They’re overall not bad, but when you have a better option just a few minutes away they’re hard to recommend.
I have no idea what the sriracha bacon ($4) was meant to go with. It was probably my mistake to buy it.
Drinks were fine. I liked the dual wall glasses.
Overall impression: I want to like X23 Asian Fusion Cafe but I just don’t. Nothing was really special for me, and its unfortunate proximity to a better competitor makes it a miss. Six out of ten stars. Will probably go back.