When it comes to Malaysian food options in Sydney, there are probably only a handful of restaurants that come to mind. Mamak, is probably the go-to place for most people with its affordable and consistently tasty offerings. There is also Petaling Street which has recently popped up, though it offers a slightly different offering to that of Mamak.
A friend of mine has been telling me for years that Mamak “isn’t that good lah”. He insists that Albee’s Kitchen is his go-to for Malaysian food, but in fairness it serves up slightly different dishes with more of a Malaysian-Chinese take on things. I’ve always wanted to visit Albee’s, but I don’t get myself to Campsie all that often.
To my surprise, an Albee’s Cabramatta branch was quietly setting itself up for a mid-jan 2012 opening. It is in the same spot which has seen two or three other Malaysian restaurants fail to establish themselves in a market which is dominated by Chinese, Cambodian-Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants. Could it match the quality and reputation of its Campsie sister restaurant?
We kick things off with a Teh Tarik and a Curry Puff each. Teh tarik is an ‘off the menu’ drink at the Cabramatta branch. Politely ask the waitress and she should be able to whip one up in the authentic style similar to how Mamak does it. The curry puffs are something I highly recommend. Moist curried chicken and egg is surrounded by a thin later of pastry and served warm. I suggest having only one of these, or even half as they are quite heavy. They also hold up well when put in the oven the next day for a cheeky snack.
As a kid I really liked Lor Bak, a mixed seafood and pork roll rolled in thin layers of soy bean sheets and then deep-fried. Albee’s do a good job of this Malaysian classic (famous in Penang), though I needed a good lashing of the accompanied chili sauce to give it a bit of lift.
The Sambal Tumis Crispy Fish had a few diners turn their heads, it’s huge and you could smell the sambal based sauce from a mile away. The combination of crispy fish and spicy sambal is a killer combo with white rice.
Similar to the fish, sambal is used a base for the stir fried eggplant. The eggplant is tender, absorbs the sambal flavour well but I couldn’t stop eating this with white rice as it was a tad too over-seasoned for my liking.
Must order, just do it.
Pieces of chicken are wrapped in Pandan leaf and then deep-fried ’till succulent perfection. Mountains of golden and crisp chicken sit in a bowl, great bang for buck at $14.80 as well. The Pandan leaf doesn’t give it too much flavour, but perhaps it retains the moisture of the chicken? Either way, killer dish.
The classic Beef Rendang, a staple in most Malaysian restaurants. Albee’s whips up a pretty good version which is a bit heavier on lemongrass than usual. At $17.80 its one of the more expensive dishes, pound for pound. It’s a good dish, but I think I would prefer the pandan chicken if I needed to pick one or the other.
This Curry Fish Hotpot is massive, and easily feeds four people, if not more. Copious amounts of fish is cooked in a hot-pot with okra, eggplant and bean curd. The curry itself is amazing, so much flavour and not too oily. Don’t do what we did and try to eat the curry with Nasi Goreng and Cha Kway Teow, you need white rice with this dish to fully enjoy it.
I’ve become a bit of a Nasi Goreng nazi ever since uni, where I use to eat it at least once a week at one of the many Asian eateries in Chinatown. I love the Albee’s version simply because of its ‘wok breath’, that smokiness you get from cooking a well seasoned and extremely hot wok. A runny fried egg is thrown in for good measure, the oozing yolk tying the rice together.
Char kuey teow is one of my favourite stir fried noodle dishes, but once again only if it has ‘wok breath’. As I mentioned with the Nasi Goreng, it’s that smokiness you get with each bite that really does it for me. I love Albee’s version, the perfect balance of Lap Choung, greens, egg and plenty of chili.
My first impression of Albee’s in Cabramatta is good, there is a steady dining crowd and the prices are reasonable. The rice and noodle dishes easily feed two people, making it great bang for buck. It serves a lot of food that I ate in Singapore and KL, and there are still heaps of other classic dishes on my to-eat list such as nasi lemak and hainan chicken rice.
My only concern is how long Albee’s will last in Cabramatta? It’s a very competitive market, the restaurants who have stood the test of time have been around for10 to 15 years. Lets hope it sticks around and doesn’t continue the trend of previous tenants in its location where they have moved out not long after they have opened.
Albee’s Kitchen (Cabramatta)
2/44 Park rd., Cabramatta, NSW , Australia
T: 02 9728 6556
Trading Hours Open 7 days
10am – 9pm