On Friday night I went for dinner with a couple of friends to Sugarcane in Surry Hills. I thought the menu was interesting. Firstly, there are only three dishes that could be classified as starters and two deserts, sandwiching a long list of main courses. Secondly, it's a pan South East Asian mix, which can often lead to disappointment as a restaurant over-reaches beyond their speciality. I'm pleased to report there was no let down on this score at Sugarcane.
We shared three dishes, which arrived one after the other. Perfect for sharing and a good job as you wouldn't have fit more than one of the large plates on our table at any one time.
Our first dish was salt and pepper squid. Large pieces of fried squid with a moorish dipping sauce. I think there is limited excitement with salt and pepper squid regardless of how well it's done. We probably should have gone for something a bit more adventurous.
Next we had our star dish of the evening, crispy pork hock with stir fried vegetables. The pork was crispy and tender at the same time, which I always think it s feat to achieve. The sauce was delicious with perfectly balanced layers of garlic, ginger, fish sauce and chili coming through (plus flavours I couldn't identify).
Our last dish was a prawn stir fry. There was a generous helping of large butterflied prawns in the stir fry. However, the accompany vegetables and sauce was pretty similar to the pork hock. Bad ordering from us ordering two similar dishes or a lack of imagination from the kitchen?
The restaurant was only half full when we arrived, but by the time we left there was a queue forming outside. The open plan interior and large doors onto the street made for a good vibe and breezy atmosphere. When the bill arrived we faced a morale dilemma as our bottle of wine was missing. We did the honourable thing and pointed out the mistake.
I enjoyed Sugarcane, but I don't think I'll be rushing to go back. The food was good, but not exceptional. I've read a few reviews saying what good value the restaurant is, I thought it was mid-range to a little expensive.