It’s no secret that Malaysian cuisine is one of our favourites with the spectrum of aromatic flavours on offer. But unlike other Asian cuisines which have been the subject of fusion experiments, we haven’t seen Malaysian cuisine having much of the same kind of treatment…until X23 Cafe came onto the scene.
Tucked away on a relatively quiet lane in the Central Park complex in buzzing Chippendale, X23 Cafe’s simple but chic decor features plenty of blond wood and a youthful vibe. Their menu consists of monthly specials as well as their core menu – mixing together Malaysian fusion dishes and traditional favourites (like congee or kaya toast) with conventional cafe brunch fare.
We decided to go for a selection of their specials and core menu items to try out the range. We started off with their X23 Signature Red Eggs which featured fluffy scrambled eggs and shredded crab meat, brought to life with their flavoursome and addictive homemade sambal chilli sauce and curry leaves, served with a flaky croissant for the fusion element. This dish was definitely the highlight of our meal and we’d come back for this alone.
X23 Signature Red Eggs, $19.5
Next up, their intriguing Rendang Pulled Beef Burger showcased some flavourful rendang beef sandwiched in a soft milk bun with fresh cucumber, red cabbage, cheese and fried shallots, with crispy prawn crackers on the side. This was a novel way to serve up a Malaysian favourite, but we thought that the pulled beef could have done with more sauce as it was a little dry.
Rendang Pulled Beef Burger, $16
From their monthly specials menu, we went for the Salted Egg Prawn Pasta which was plated up nicely with a few juicy prawns on top. The pasta ribbons were coated with a distinctive salted egg sauce and flavoured with curry leaves and chilli for the Malaysian fusion twist element. Price-wise, we thought this was a bit steep compared to their core menu items which were better value.
Salted Egg Prawn Pasta, $27
On the drinks side, of course we had to try their Teh Tarik pulled tea (Malaysia’s national drink) which was more lukewarm and sweeter than we expected. The Brown Sugar Fresh Soy Milk Boba from their monthly specials menu was something a bit different from the usual bubble milk tea served up from chainstore kiosks and certainly tasted fresher, but not quite as addictive. X23’s Matcha Latte was also decent, served with some honey on the side for the drinker to add to taste to counteract the bitterness of the matcha green tea powder.
Teh Tarik, $6 and Brown Sugar Fresh Soy Milk Boba, $7
Matcha Latte, $4
We admire the ideas and vision behind the Malaysian fusion cuisine on offer at X23 Cafe which captures the vibrant, modern Asian zeitgeist of this part of Sydney well, but it seems that the execution of the distinctive flavours in their novel formats will take some time and experimenting to finesse for some of their dishes.
102/18 Park Lane, Chippendale NSW 2008
Phone: (02) 9056 5138