IconPark’s revolving restaurant concept has moved out of the space at 78 Stanley Street in Darlinghurst, making way for Head Chef Zachary Tan and his business partner Derek Puah, both of whom have turned the venue into a new restaurant-bar called Lazy Suzie*. Tan needs no introduction to food lovers around Sydney, being the Chef who sparked a cafe revolution across the city by leading the kitchen at Devon Cafe and Devon on Danks; his blend of Asian and contemporary Western cuisine quickly became essential for discerning diners, but now he has settled back into a groove of more authentic Asian eats, specifically Malaysian, on a menu designed to showcase street flavours inspired by recent travels across Asia.
Being just as much a small bar as a restaurant, Tan has employed the undeniable flair of Marco Oscar Giron (ex-BLACK by ezard; Cruise Bar) who has whipped up a diverse range of cocktails using Asian ingredients like yuzu, goji berries, nashi pears, and more, mirroring much of the flavours that anchor the lunch and dinner menus (there’s also a separate food option for breakfast). Giron also makes good use of local hand-crafted sodas from the PS40 crew.
Cocktails like the Rama-Rama Spritz ($18) (Tanqueray Gin, Blue-pea flower, jasmine, citrus, dandelion, and burdock bitters) are necessary to start off a long night here, glowing with a sightly purple glow with a sweet, refreshing, and consistent flavour. Though as one moves onto the main dishes, concoctions like For Cherie’s Sake ($16) (Mazanilla Sherry, Sake, cucumber, pineapple, Spanish bitters) become more valuable with a slightly more powerful, elegant hit. Giron has balanced these drinks well, designing cocktails that are inventive and pair up well with the food Tan has curated.
Though the tables are much too small for the intention, the food menu is a modest list of shared-style dishes that mostly highlight the strong flavours of Malaysia’s state of Penang, of course, with a few twists here and there.
A feast at Lazy Suzie is best started with the Lobster Thermidore Spring Rolls ($6 each) which are big, smooth, and crispy logs containing some richer-than-expected, creamy lobster that swims in a cheesy white thermidore sauce. You’ll get some tangy yuzu mayo on the side to balance the flavours, necessary to get the most of this starter.
The Fried Chicken Wings ($12) are served with a beautiful calamansi dipping sauce that is best had completely covering the tender chunks of meat that rip straight off the bone, most vital next to a plate of some Prosperity Baos ($7 each) which are fluffy and host a thick cut of brisket with black pepper sauce.
On my visit I looked around the room and saw that many tables had ordered up the Pie Tee ($16) starter, which is a round of pastry cups filled with braised shitake, yam bean, carrot, and mud crab, although there isn’t near enough to just order up one serving. You’ll likely fight with your dining companion over these crunchy mouthfuls, so only order if the person opposite you is on the more passive side.
Kerabi Chicken Salad ($19) is a build-your-own style salad of poached chicken, crispy skin, green mango, calamansi, herbs, and mushrooms served with coconut sauces, sambal, and betel leafs. There’s a lot of spice to find in here depending on how you construct your leaf-sandwich, and the strong sambal is key if you’re looking for that punchy spice that is held back from many of the other items on the menu.
Steamed Taro ($16) is a line of braised pork belly topped with crispy dried seafood, a move onto something more substantial with sizable, melt-in-your-mouth chunks to tide you over until the mains arrive, which if you chose right should definitely include the Market Fish ($MP), which on my visit was a lemongrass sambal stuffed whole mackarel, translating a classic Malaysian street dish, beautifully cooked with hot, steaming soft flesh that was especially valuable when wrapped in some crisped, puffy Roti ($3).
Make sure you have room for dessert, because their interesting take on a traditional ice kachang, the ABC ($14), is an instant favourite: shaved blue pea flower ice and bubur cha cha flowing down from a snowball of taro ice cream that is full of flavour.
Tan has already carved out a place in the hearts of Sydney’s most ardent food lovers with what has done for the ever-evolving Devon, but this takes things to a whole new level. Those who want to take their tastebuds on an excursion through the streets of Malaysia will be ecstatic after just one visit here, I know I am, already planning to work a groove into one of their bar-counter seats as an enthusiastic regular. There have been some incredible new openings in Sydney as of late (examples: Hubert and Anason) and Lazy Suzie most definitely belongs in that category. It’s pricey, but very much worth it.
Address: 78 Stanley St, Darlinghurst 2010
Contact: 02 7901 0396
Tuesday-Friday 12pm – late
Saturday 10am — late
Sunday 10am — 3pm
*UPDATE 26th July 2016: Lazy Suzie has now rebranded to Lucky Suzie.