Wall to wall pink, and a spot for the DJ in the front window. It may not scream hipster, or street, or Malaysian for that matter on paper, but walk in and Sugar Prawn have done something right with the vibe.
Previously Masak Masak, you would hardly recognise the space in it’s previous life, with the lights low and a mix of nostalgic and kitschy crockery; plastic plates and enamel mugs.
You might not recognise the menu either! There are familiar Malaysian favourites, that were also on the Masak Masak menu, such as the chicken wings with onion sambal, chicken satays and chicken laksa. However, there are also some very modern dishes on the menu as well and Ricky and I endeavour to get our mouths around both.
Take for example, this bone marrow caramelised with sticky master stock glaze and served on top of an enormous prawn cracker. I don’t know how this is Malaysian other than the prawn cracker, but that’s a-okay, because the prawn cracker is the size of my face twice over and all of the bone marrow is hard to dislike. I don’t think it’s the best pairing necessarily, it’s a bit messy and convoluted to eat…but you kind of overlook it because bone marrow is in your life.
The grilled scallop with uni butter, seaweed and served on top of coconut rice is also a modern dish, with Asian flair but I would most certainly not associate with Malaysian cuisine. However, I do love the sweetness of the scallop, the moreishness of the uni butter and the sweetness of the rice which is a surprising compliment, and also provides a tropical feel to the dish.
The half steamed eggplant with punchy sauce is exactly as asked for, the punchy sauce is certainly punchy and I carefully navigate my way around all those chillies! The only thing with the eggplant, is that it was a bit stringy and again messy to eat, I get that steaming it is healthier, but I could have done with a little flash fry in the fryer now to introduce some fat to the eggplant flesh…
The kon low mee with wontons and char siu is a solid Malaysian staple, the char siu could be a little fattier for me (seems to be a running theme for me through this meal!) but I enjoy the wontons and the noodles.
We also go for a half fried duck with tamarind curry, which is really very tasty, tangy and bright. It’s quite different to the Malaysian curries I’ve become accustomed to which generally are a bit creamier and full of coconut milk and cream (yum), whereas this curry was a lot lighter and fresher. Tasty but different.
It may sound like I had a lot to criticise, but I actually enjoyed my meal and found it to be quite reasonably priced, I just struggled to find the hawker Malaysian links in everything and found some of the dishes didn’t quite fit the narrative for me. On a Tuesday night it was pumping, so I would recommend making a booking (since they actually take them)! The vibes here are good and it’s a fun relaxed spot to hang out in.
230 Smith Street