Sambal – The Malaysian Food Experience

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

There are lots of restaurants that serve Malaysian food in Sydney, mostly Nyonya cuisine. I have been to a few – some good some, err..not so good. Last Saturday, we went to a restaurant called Sambal which is located at Lane Cove Road, North Ryde. The nearest station is Macquarie Park station. (Note: Do not be confused with The Sambal on Kent Street.)

Did you know:

– Only one in two Aussies claiming to have ever tried Malaysian food.

– Only five per cent of 18-64 years old said they had eaten Malaysian food in the past week

Source: http://www.foodandtravel.com.au/food-facts/facts-about-malaysian-food

This restaurant is not easy to spot because it is tucked away at the end of a block of shops. I stumble across this restaurant when I was having dinner at McDonald which is located on the other end of the same block. If you are driving, there are sufficient parking at the back of the building. According to their website, they serve authentic Malaysian Nyonya and hawker style food. They have a 4.1 stars in Google review.


We arrived around 7PM and I do recommend that you make a reservation. Having said that, they do have a fair amount of tables indoor as well as outdoor and they provide table service.

In terms of food selection, they have a reasonable amount of selection from entrees, mains to desserts. They also have a separate menu for weekday and weekend lunch. Their house specialties needs to be ordered 2 days in advance.


The restaurant is spacious, clean and comfortable. They also have separate washrooms for men and women. Friendly and helpful staff too although not all of them knew the menu well.

As for the waiting time, we waited around 15 mins for our meals which is not too bad when you have good company. Price wise, we find it slightly pricey for the serving size.

What We Ordered and What We Thought:

Main:

  • Beef Rendang (A$23.80)
    • Ahh...THE KING OF ALL CURRIES! Almost all Malaysian/Singaporean/Indonesian restaurants will have beef rendang on their menu. Sambal is no exception. I would say, they do serve pretty good rendang, better than most of the other restaurants that I’ve visited. Juicy and tender meat and the level of spiciness is just perfect. A must dish to order. It’s my favorite dish of the night and a 5/5 from me.
  • Assam Squid (A$26.80)
    • Squid cooked in a rich tamarind sauce, one of the favorite dishes in Malaysia. We have a choice of prawn or squid so we’ve chosen squid. We are quite disappointed with this dish. The assam gravy is too runny for our liking and a bit too sweet. We prefer a bit more tangy and sour taste. Slightly expensive with the portion being served. It’s our least favorite dish of the night – 2 stars.
  • Belacan Beans (A$17.80)
    • String beans stir fried with chilli shrimp paste. The sambal paste was delish! A perfect amount of saltiness, sweetness and spiciness, complimented the string beans very well. You will need another bowl of rice to go with this dish because it is simply yummm….Another 5/5 stars.
  • Belacan Eggplant (A$17.80)
    • Eggplant stir fried with chilli shrimp paste. They use the same sambal paste in the belacan beans dish. The eggplant was fried then cooked with the sambal paste. So this is a dry sambal eggplant version rather than the gravy version as you usually see in other restaurants and food courts. Surprisingly, the eggplant was moist and wasn’t dry at all but with the combination of the same sambal paste, the belacan beans took the crown. My friends loved it but me and my brother prefer the gravy version. This is very much of a personal preference. Nevertheless, we give it a 4 stars.

Desserts

  • Ice Kacang (A$9.50)
    • A very popular shaved ice dessert in Malaysia – Ice Kacang or ABC. A concoction of shaved ice, grass jelly, sweet corn and red beans covered in evaporated milk, rose syrup and gula melaka. We are happy to see Basil Seeds on it as we don’t usually see it in most ice kacang in restaurants in Sydney. It’s very tasty but for the price point, we were hoping there are more varieties of toppings. Having said that, it’s the best desserts we had – 4 stars!
  • Ice Cendol (A$9.50)
    • Another popular shaved ice dessert, ice cendol is a shaved ice dessert mixed with red bean, pandan flavoured green jelly-like strips, coconut milk and gula melaka syrup. Similar to the ice kacang, they are tasty but slightly pricey. The cendol was silky and made well – 4 stars.
  • Sago Pudding (A$8.50)
    • Sago pearls served in coconut milk and covered with gula melaka syrup. Simple presentation, tasty but nothing special. We were a bit disappointed with the portion – very small for the price point. With that, we give it a 3 stars.

In Conclusion:

This is my third time to Sambal and even though it is slightly pricey, I would come back again to try other dishes. It is a perfect spot for family lunch and dinner and for those who would like a taste of home.

  • Total Bill: A$121.20
  • Number of Pax: 4
  • Average Bill Per Pax: A$30.30
  • Number of Dishes Ordered: 4 mains, 3 desserts, 3 plain rice.

Overall Rating (3.8 stars)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

(Disclaimer: All opinions on this post are my own. Any information provided in this blog is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge. Any information relied on in this post is at your own discretion.)

More About Sambal:

  1. Menu: Click Here
  2. Location:
    • 285-297, Lane Cove Road, North Ryde, NSW, 2113.
    • Phone: (02) 9889 7977
  3. Opening Hours
    • Lunch (Mon-Fri 11.30AM-2.30PM; Sat-Sun 11.30AM-3.00PM)
    • Dinner (Thu-Sun 6.00PM-10.00PM; Take away 5.30PM-10.00PM)
    • Closed on public holidays.
  4. Nearest Train Station: Macquarie Park station (3 mins walk)
  5. Fully Licensed: Yes
  6. BYO: Yes, A$3.50 pp. wine only
  7. Online Order: No.
  8. Bookings: Yes.
  9. Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly: No – but they have vegetable dishes.
  10. Gluten Free: No.
  11. Website: Click Here
  12. FB: No.
  13. IG: No.

HAVE YOU BEEN TO SAMBAL BEFORE?

Share with us your experience in the comment box below.

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