Sassy’s has been trading for around six months now and despite the fact I first ate there the day after they opened it’s taken me this long to bring it forward to being published before it disappears in the backlog. Better late than never, I say. The novelty has subsided at Westfield Sydney and as it settles in and people realise it’s just another shopping centre the food component remains a hive of activity, especially at midday. More like a shit-fight, really. Personally, I think the best time to visit Level 5 is before the lunch rush or in the mid afternoon where you can leisurely grab a table without being elbowed in the ribs by frantic shoppers or retailers on their half-hour lunch break.
Anyone that has been to Chinta Ria will recognise some similarities with the menu items at Sassy’s. The golden browns (5) are neat little parcels containing a mixture of chicken, spring onion and a few other tidbits and sadly my tastebuds didn’t pick up on much until a bit of chilli sauce was involved. When it comes to the lohbak (6), however, those same deflated buds jumped for joy at the crumble of spiced chicken mince and shattering golden soya bean skin. Moist, aromatic, delicious. Instant favourite.
Nasi lemak (11) is an all-time Malaysian favourite for me so it’s a given that I try it on one of my lunchtime visits. There’s the usual choice of chicken curry or beef rendang with coconut rice, a boiled then fried half an egg, sambal bilis and peanuts and not-too-sour achar salad. The chilli levels in the sambal are safe for the phobes and overall it’s a decent example.
Many people have something to say about laksa in this town and it seems too many of them said the assam laksa wasn’t authentic enough, according to owner Simon Goh. At least I had the chance to try the rich and mild laksa before it vanished from the menu. Pity. I actually didn’t mind it and when it comes to authenticity, what the hell does it mean anymore? Go to Malaysia and try 10 laksa’s from different kitchens and you’ll be tasting something different from one bowl to the next. It’s very much the same here. One worth trying is the Chinta (curry) laksa (12) with its generous bowl of fried tofu, chicken, sugar snaps and fish cake. Creamy and deivine with a mild chilli tingle.
The rendang beef (11) is a beautfully saucy affair packed with tender meat, rich gravy and a nice slick of oil shimmering on the surface. Loving the roti you can have on the side and if that’s not your thing, go for steamed rice. On one of my visits Simon suggests I try the joget (13), a tumeric-infused rice dish whipped-up on a hotplate and mixed with squid, prawns and mussels. Without a squeeze of fresh lime and the tangy achar salad the rice has pretty subdued flavours and had the seafood been seared on a hotplate as well, rather than blanched in hot water as it clearly was, it would have added the flavour level I thought it lacked.
A final installment with one of my favourites, sago gula (5), makes for a happy and sweet ending. The firm sago pudding is surrounded by a coconut cream moat and is marbled with golden gula melaka syrup. Man I love this stuff.