After our meal at Penang Cuisine in Epping, the owner came over and asked us, “Was there something wrong with the noodles? I noticed that some of you didn’t finish them.” The question pretty much sums up the restaurant: it’s like eating a homemade meal at your Mum’s place, well, if your mum was Malaysian.
Penang Cuisine is tucked away in a relatively new building in Epping, opposite the station on Beecroft Rd. I’m told it’s been there for nearly two years, steadily building a base of loyal diners.
Our party is seated at a table, with the decor very no-nonsense, with simple chairs and tables. It’s quite a small restaurant, with space for about 25-30 at the most. If you’re driving, park at the Coles carpark on Rawson St and walk up to Beecroft Rd.
Ah the lobak. I’d always wanted to try this dish, and for just a touch over $5, we ordered three of them. Lobak is a fried minced pork and vegetable roll, wrapped in a beancurd sheet. There was a sauce to accompany the lobak, which had a soy sauce base. The lobak was gloriously crunchy, and topped with tofu, it was well worth the hype. It was a really nice combination of sweet and savoury.
Next up we ordered the roti chanai with chicken curry ($9.90). A plate of aromatic curry, filled with chicken pieces and soft potatoes, as you lap up the sauce with the soft roti. My favourite for the night, and it can easily masquerade as a main course. The curry had a touch of spice and a wonderful balance of flavours.
Now I didn’t order the chicken laksa for my main course but I did manage to sneak a taste. You can’t help but feel impressed when it arrives at your table, with the medley of colours striking a powerful pose in the bowl. The soup was thick, full of flavour and HOT.
For my main course, I ordered the Penang Fried Kway Teow. I couldn’t believe the sheer size of the plate, with a mountain of noodles rising out of the base. The taste wasn’t to my liking, with a distinct smoky and char-grilled flavour from the wok dominating the dish. It’s probably exactly how it’s meant to be made, but it wasn’t for me. I did enjoy the Chinese sausage that was in the noodles though.
Ordering too many entrees proved to be our downfall at Penang Cuisine and I had to waddle out of the restaurant. Next time I’ll try their dessert.
The only downside of the night was one of the staff members’ children who moved from table to table, asking diners questions and pestering them for their iPhones. At first, it’s not a problem but after ten minutes, it’s gone too far.
Penang Cuisine is the perfect comfort food, especially with winter just around the corner. You can tell the owners really care about their customers and the quality of their food.
If you live in the Ryde/Eastwood/Epping area, you have to give the restaurant a go. And for out of towners, it’s well worth the trip. It’s cheap, quick and friendly. Remember, you must try the lobak.