Restaurants that don't serve the ingredient that they're named for are pretty annoying, but what about a place called Lazy Suzie that doesn't have a lazy Susan? It'd be tempting to call it a face-smackingly stupid move were it not for the fact this Sydney newcomer is so thoroughly likeable in every other way - a hip Malaysian canteen that drags hawker eating away from lah-auntie naffness without sacrificing the lah-auntie food quality that makes it so good in the first place.
It's the new thing from chef Zachary Tan and the folks behind Devon, and they've brought their signature clean-lined design up a notch, taking the exposed brick of the old Icon Park space on Stanley Street and freshening it up with some very cool hoops of neon suspended from the ceiling. And the menu is nothing if not vibrant.
Lobster thermidor spring rolls don't really have much to do with the larger hawker brief, golden cylinders of vaguely lobster-flavoured cheesy goo that seem to exist, alongside the cheeseburger-filled numbers up the road at Ms G's, solely to advance the cause of novelty spring rolls as Frankenfood. (Expect some filled with matcha cronuts, sea urchin and/or finger lime to pop up somewhere any day now.) But pie tee, little patty-pans of crisp pastry filled with a loose jumble of braised shiitake, carrot, yam bean and mud crab, fly the Nyonya flag with pride.
The presence of burnt ingredients, slightly woolly prawns and an absence of that essential smoky lightness prevent the char kway teow from entering the pantheon of truly great Sydney noodle dishes, but there's promise there in the tang of the slivered lap cheong sausage and bits of fried pork fat, not to mention the offer of a $25 crab- and scallop-enhanced "supreme" version.
The nasi lemak, though, is absolutely worth a visit for any true fan of the dish: the coconut rice is decent, the curried chicken tender and generous on the bone, the boiled egg and cucumber slices present and correct. Purists freaking out about the absence of peanuts ("allergies", shrugs manager Michael Baronie) should be mollified by the brilliance of the ikan bilis component - the anchovies butterflied and fried to curls of weightless crunch. Savoury richness for days.
And then there's the show-stopper, the signature that's reason to visit in itself: the kerabu, a salad of shredded poached chicken, julienned green mango and cucumber, crisp chicken skin and chilli that you spoon onto betel leaves. Texture! Flavour! Spice! Suzie likes it hot, it should be noted, so if the belacan sambal that comes out with the salad isn't spicy enough for you (and it's plenty hot, believe us), don't fret - there are several much more burny house-made sauce options there for the asking.
Throw in inventive Malaysian-flavoured cocktails, a workable wine list, good beers, outstanding soft-drinks from PS Soda, a dessert selection that makes vibrant use of the ice-shaving machine Tan brought back from Malaysia, plus the offer of very interesting brunch dishes on the weekend, and Suzie looks anything but lazy. Give her a spin.
Lazy Suzie, 78 Stanley St, Darlinghurst, NSW, (02) 7901 0396, lazysuzie.com.au; open Tues-Fri noon-midnight, Sat 10am-midnight, Sun 10am-3pm.