Lucky Suzie

Rebecca Varidel
22nd Mar 2016

Chef Zacharay Tan spent the month of December in his birthplace of Pengang. The goal was to research Malaysian food "eating in food courts and observing hawkers" for this new Stanley Street joint. Back with him, he bought traditional recipes as well as plates and an ice crushing machine for traditional dessert Ice Kachang. To them he has added his humble Tan creativity and innovation, the type you have already seen at Devon Café and Devon On Danks, where he is Head Chef.

Lazy Suzie opened tonight with headliners Cocktail Mixologist Marco Oshiro and Michelin credentialed Sommelier Michael Baronie lending additional star power to the food of Tan.

Both Oshiro on cocktails and Baronie on wine have put the food first creating lists that work with the Malaysian flavour profiles. For cocktails the talented bar-tender has added his typical flare with not only cocktails that use Asian ingredients but he has garnished his list with Malaysian names. Teh Tarik ($16) infuses rosemary in gun powder green tea, which is added to Johnnie Walker Black and Teapot Bitters; the garnish is Nashi pear. For Cherie's Sake (also just sixteen bucks) is resplendent with the ancient art of the shrub; to the vinegar is added the likes torch ginger flower, cucumber and purple yam, and then soda is added. Oshiro adds that he is using the coupe in a nod to its traditional use as a glass for the bubbles of Champagne.

Eight more cocktails using ingredients from blue-pea flower and jasmine to lemongrass, five spice and Goji berry expand the menu, with names like Nonya & Baba, Peranakan Fizz and Penang Blazer, grace the opening list. Our top picks - Tequila Malacca ($20) with pomelo, pomegranate and yuzo, and a sage & fennel salt, spiking Don Julio Blanco and the Lazy Suzie take on an espresso martini Kopi Tiam (also twenty dollars) Pierre Ferrand Cognac, cold drip coffee liqueur, coconut cream with cardamom, and espresso - are beverages that offer substance in themselves, and interest to the food. The three coffee beans garnishing the Kopi Tiam are symbolic. You know health, wealth, and all that.

With the wine which Baronie has sourced from across the globe the result is a mostly European "short and sharp" range that has a 50/50 split between commercial and natural. His focus as well as stocking for food matching was also on affordability. From Europe we see mostly France and Italy represented, alongside Germany Austria and Spain. New world wines include Chile USA and NZ as well as Australia. As examples: Neudorf 'Nelson' Chardonnay ($15 glass, $75 bottle); Angels & Cowboys Grenache + Malbec Rose Sonoma USA ($15 / $72 ); Guiseppe Cortses Dolcetto D'Alba Veneto Italy ($15/$70). Lovely to see the Aussie touch of a Sparkling Shiraz, Majella from Coonawarra included.

And the food? Well it is thoughtful and restrained and very affordable and simply sensational. And created for a bar. Snacks starts at $3. From a half a dozen choices, Fragrant Braised Peanuts are soft and enticing like a curvy cuddly woman. Kerpopok house made SA calamari and prawn crackers, with prawn sambal mayo are the definition of divine. Smalls offer gorgeous morsels. Pie Tee ($14) are little hand made rice flour pastry cups that are deep fried then filled with the taunting mix of braised shitake, yam bean and carrot. But the prize is the hand picked mud crab on top. The most luxurious of the snacks at just $6pp is Lobster Thermidor Spring Rolls, large four bite crunchy pieces, dripping with the luscious cheese sauce and lobster filling, served with a yuzu aioli for dipping sauce. Hands nearly dip into the plate of the punter sitting next to us when we hear him lip smacking on King prawn wontons, soft bone pork, Penang har mee broth ($16).

One of Aunty's traditional recipes also shows up as Kerabu Chicken Salad ($19). This is one of the most stunning dishes in Sydney. Poached chicken softly plays against crispy skin and green mango. A marvellous velvety dressing is infused with calamari. The dish comes as components to mix and dress. (Be warned. Be careful of the chilli.) And then you wrap your mixture in betel leaves. We all love finger food. Especially at a bar.

Larger dishes are in two sections, Strictly Hawker and Malay Charcoal Grill. Penang Char Koay Teow (stir fried rice noodles with seafood) comes in two sizes: Standard $15, Supreme $25. Malaysian vegetable curry is composed of cruciferous vegetables, served with roti. On the grill there are garlic soy okra skewers as well Hainan style pork belley satay with sweet potato sauce, Ayam Percik chicken, Aunty Yulia beef short ribs, Cumin spiced lamb cutlets or market fish.

And the best is yet to come. Sitting behind the bar I sat watching. That machine looks like something familiar from travels to Penang. And it was. The ice crushing machine for my favourite dessert, Ice Kachang. Chef Zach has added his own all purple touch, shaved blue pea flower ice, bubur cha cha, taro ice cream, and named his creation ABC ($14). Or you could choose Mango lassi, or Banana fitter with roasted coconut ice cream and salted caramel. Sounds tempting enough to try all three.

As Sydney returns to innovation on tradition and gives a new contemporary nod to street food, this place might require many visits to work through all these beauties, two pages of Lazy Suzie food, the wines and of course the cocktails. Even the mocktails look sensational. Or there is a range of $6 hand-crafted local Sydney PS. Sodas: Wattle Cola, Smoked Lemonade, Bush Tonic, Grapefruit & Gentian, Blackstrap Ginger.

Originally launched as Lazy Suzie the venue relaunched as Lucky Suzie in July 2016.
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78 Stanley Street
+61 2 9211 8777

Tue – Fri midday – 3pm; 6pm – midnight

Sat 10am – 3pm; 6pm – midnight

Sun 10am – 3pm