The Park, 285-297 Lane Cove Rd
North Ryde, Sydney

Sambal is a Malaysian restaurant on a busy strip on Lane Cove Rd and whilst it is probably seen by many it's a hard place to stop. However, it is well secluded from the hustle and bustle that goes on outside it's doors and offers both indoor seating and a pleasant courtyard to dine in. We dropped by to see what their food was like on a cold Saturday night - and so the warm indoors was of course our choice.

We started with an old favourite - Loh Bak. The serving was two rolls of tasty lean shredded pork seasoned with 5 spice powder and leek then wrapped into rolls with bean curd sheets and deep fried. It's like a pork sausage roll but much leaner with a much thinner outer layer. These were very tasty and the dipping sauce went well - even though they were great without it too.

We tend to grab some satay chicken skewers at most Malaysian restaurants - and this was no exception. They were thin and tender and came with a very tasty chunky peanut satay sauce slathered on top.

Then we moved on to the Choon Piah. These delicious traditional nonya spring rolls were filled with pork, crab meat, onions, cabbage and water chestnuts. They were then deep fried and served with dipping sauce. Very nice! 

Then it was time for the mains - and a bit more spice. First up was the Kapitan chicken curry - a milder dish made from freshly blended herbs cooked with chicken pieces and coconut milk and served with a dash of lime juice. We really liked the flavours of this. Then we had another old favourite, beef rendang. It was bite size pieces of beef cooked in curry spices till dry and topped with fried shredded coconut. It was rich, hearty and packed with beef and plenty of taste too. 

We ordered a few rices to soak up the sauces - some Nasi Lemak (or coconut) rice and some good old plain rice. The Nasi Lemak proved more popular than its simpler rival on this occasion!

A huge plate of Penang char kway teao also arrived and was also used as both a side dish and another main course in its own right. This is such a great dish and so versatile - packed with chicken, sprouts and noodles in a tangy sauce.

Seafood didn't go missing either with a deep bowl of Assam prawns. This is prawns sauteed in a rich and thick tamarind sauce.

There were a surprisingly high number of big juicy prawns in the dish.

The surprise packet was the Tau Eu Bak. It was big tender braised pork pieces and tofu cooked in dark and light soya sauce, garlic and hard boiled egg.

Then the finale - dessert. We had several servings of the house specialty - their sago pudding. These tasty sago pearls arrived in a bowl bathing in coconut milk and covered with gula melaka syrup. It was delicious.

We also grabbed several servings of assorted nonya kuehs - their home made treats. We were delighted to find that two used pandan as a base whilst the third was made from a type of sweet potato. They were certainly worth trying.

Sambal was a surprise. It's not easy to get to but worth finding.

Their food was fresh, tasty and packed with rich flavours. Service was fast and friendly and on a fine day or summer evening it would also be lovely to dine al fresco there.

Sir and Mlady's visit to Sambal was supported by the Malaysian Kitchen Programme.

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