Sharon Kwan Kitchen is a tiny eatery on busy Parramatta Road in Petersham. There's a range of very well priced traditional Malaysian dishes from classics such as char kway teow, laksa, rendang, ayam bakar (or flame grilled chicken) and sago with gula melaka to more modern items like rendang filled roti wraps!
Sharon Kwan Kitchen came with glowing recommendations. Firstly Celia's friend Charmaine recommended it, then Celia went and then her mother went and it all got the Malaysian tick of approval. So much so that Celia and Pete have been there six times and have made friends with Sharon.
There's just two people in the kitchen here including Sharon taking care of takeaway and eat in orders. During the night the tables of people will fill (there are only four tables), empty and refill again. This is Sharon's first restaurant. Previous to that wholesaled Malaysian dishes for small independent supermarkets and greengrocers.
The menu has a few different options, mostly Malaysian with a couple of Thai options thrown in too. We make an order based on what Celia and Pete have tried and like before. Sharon talks Celia into trying Wat Tan Hor which is a dish that I love and need no convincing over. There are condiments on the table from hot sambal, medium sambal to namjing tamarind and there are also pots of other chilli sauces from a green chilli hot sauce to a Hainan chicken rice sauce with ginger, chilli and garlic.
This is the item that Malaysian born Celia's mother gave her tick of approval for. It's a very authentic char kway teow, a dish that can easily fall short of expectations. It's delicious and I want to go back for thirds or fourths but I know there is more food coming out. There's a bit of the Wok hei or wok smokiness to this too. We went for medium spicy for this and it had a good tingle to it.
Sharon's main draw is the flame grilled chicken and there are two types: gai yang or Thai chicken or Malaysian or Ayam Bakar. We go for the Malaysian with lemongrass, curry powder, spices, tamarind and coconut milk. The chicken is tasty and tender and comes chopped up into individual pieces.
Whilst I really liked the char kway teow I love the saucy quality of the Wat Tan Hor rice noodles and the creamy egg sauce. What I particularly like is the range of textures and that the prawns are big and juicy and not overcooked. This needs a little of the soy and chilli condiment to pep it up but once it gets that I am pretty sure I ate most of this.
The laksa is also good with a mix of vermicelli and hokkien noodles. It has a deep, rich sauce but is less pungent in shrimp paste so it's a bit milder and less gutsy than other laksas. This sparks a debate about how we like our laksa and the different types. I love hokkien noodles but I don't like vermicelli and I don't like tofu puffs at all. Celia is the opposite and likes vermicelli and tofu puffs.
This plate has a bit of everything as we wanted to try a few things. I like the slightly sticky turmeric and coconut rice. Not that we had a lot of curry but it was good to have rice for anyone that found the dishes a bit hot. The potato prawn fritters are nice although I have seen these at plenty of places. The turmeric wings are freshly fried with a light curry flavour from the turmeric and the salad is an Asian slaw with plenty of mint and a refreshing sweet vinegar dressing.
One of my favourite things are the roti wraps. We tried two types: a beef rendang one which sings with aromates but my heart melts for the pork roti with its sweetish, saucy pork filling and Asian slaw. I end up with roti crumbs in my cup of water but do I care? No.
It's dessert time and there are two on the menu. The pulat hitam is a special and it is sticky black rice dessert with coconut milk. It's less sweet than the sago pudding so it's best eaten before. Otherwise Sharon will gladly furnish a pot of extra gula melaka syrup to sweeten it.
"I'd like to eat this at the beginning of the meal and at the end again," says Celia. The sago pudding is her favourite and they serve it molded from a cup with a generous amount of gula melaka syrup and coconut milk. It's food porn at its finest, the soft bubbles of sago, syrupy dark gula melaka melding with the creamy white coconut milk.
So tell me Dear Reader, how do you like your laksa? Do you have a favourite Malaysian dish? Have you ever eaten dessert first?
This meal was independently paid for.
Sharon Kwan Kitchen
726 Parramatta Road, Petersham, 2049
Open Wednesday to Sunday 11:30am-9pm
Phone: 0468 966 858