40A Reservoir Street, Surry Hills, NSW
02 9287 1788
Six years after Milan Strbac took the leap to open Sugarcane, this concept restaurant has become the destination of choice for Sydneysiders with a taste for South East Asian food. Tucked away in a nook in Reservoir Street, Surry Hills, this hawker-style restaurant has been through a complete renovation and the combination of colourful furniture, Thai graffiti on the walls and handmade silk bags hanging from the ceiling gives a hip, yet authentic, vibe of a bustling Asian marketplace.
Sporting a menu of regional dishes hailing from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Malaysia, Sugarcane has something for everyone – without compromising quality or authenticity. Milan Strbac, who’s also the Head Chef, says that the idea of representing a variety of cuisines is making ground on more specified menus.
“It was risky when we first opened as we were one of the first to adapt this concept. Nowadays it has grown dramatically,” said Milan, who hired a fresh team of chefs trained in the specialities of the region.
The menu is divided into bite size (prawn and rice cake with caramelised sugarcane), shared (crisp tortilla with crab, green apple, coconut and lime), salads and substantial, including the signature dish, crisp skin chicken with blood plum sauce. The wine list has also had a makeover, with Ged Higgins, previously at 10 William Street, putting together a list of about thirty local and international wines.
Milan’s love affair with South East Asian food began when, after having worked in the Sydney restaurant scene for over ten years, he decided to embark on an extensive trip around South East Asia. Eating his way through the region, Milan soon developed the passionate interest in Asian cookery that led him to open Sugarcane on his return to Sydney.
Today the team at Sugarcane prides itself on sourcing all their fruit and vegetables from Sydney Markets and going to great lengths to track down locally produced ingredients.
“I have friends who are farmers and they supply me on a weekly basis and keep me up to date with what’s coming in and out of season. Most of the produce is from within a one hundred kilometre radius of the restaurant, except the exotic Asian produce that comes from north Queensland and the Northern Territory, where they have the tropical weather required to grow the vegetables,” said Milan.
After having cooked everything from Southern Mediterranean to modern Australian and Italian, Milan Strbac says he is confident that his passion for South East Asian food is going to be a life-long one.
“I’ve been excited by the art of Asian cooking for over a decade and I’m as driven as ever,” he says, adding that we are sure to see more of Milan Strbac in the future. “This is my first venture, but not my last!”