Ok ... so its finally opened - a 2nd Sambal Kampung restaurant in nearby Edgewater. I've never been to the one in the city, but have been anticipating the arrival of this newly minted edition in Maribyrnong for what seemed like forever. The paper covered glass windows and doors and the bright red signs slowly fading under the elements and ravages of time pointed to impending failure, but its finally here!
So on a rather fresh summer's night we took an evening stroll to the venue. We were expecting the worse, but our small sampling of the fare was reasonably positive. Although admittedly its close proximity may have some sway on our opinions. I'm not quite sure its worth travelling for if you are on the other side of town ... well not just yet.
Prices here on average are about $3-4 more than elsewhere. I really think a price point of $19 for a vegetable dish is pushing it a bit. But the biggest plus is the fact that they have Hokkien Mee on the menu ... Singapore style. And also Mee Siam, which unfortunately for M, they were not serving when we were there.
We ordered a plate of Loh Bak for starters, and also a plate of Ikan Billis which was in the starters section of the menu. I find this rather odd. Usually Ikan Billis comes with the meal as a side, or forms an integral part of a meal as in Nasi Lemak. And I generally assume that when they refer to Ikan Billis, they mean Sambal Ikan Billis. So I had a slight side-eye moment when the bowl of Ikan Billis and peanuts arrived at the table, undressed, and with sliced white onions, chillies and spring onions.
Unusual, but tasty nonetheless. And the chillies were hot. Quite a nice way to start the meal. The Loh Bak had a nice home style feel to it and came with a relatively generous amount of chilli sauce. Although the flavour of the sambal wasn't quite up to par, at least it wasn't a splodge of limpid sweet chilli sauce like you get at some other establishments I can think of. The cucumber could have done with a refresh.
For liquid refreshment, we ordered teh tarik, which came in hotel lounge style coffee cups and was redolent with that slightly stale milk carton taste that evaporated milk has. Not sure if there was much tea dust in there, but the condensed milk was borderline diabetic.
For mains, M had the Char Kway Teow which was a slight cut above average. He enjoyed the charred pieces of lup cheong, and it was certainly a far superior offering to the one recently had at Kari Leaf (don't go!).
My Hokkien Mee was a slight disappointment in that it had pieces of chicken rather than pork. But now that Chomp Chomp has dissolved under dubious circumstances, there are precious few places (if any) where the Singaporean version can be found. So short of making it myself with the help of a Prima pack, I am happy to make a concession. If you are more partial to the drier version, then be prepared as Sambal Kampung's interpretation is quite soupy.
I'm glad that Sambal Kampung has opened. We finally have a Malaysian in our neighbourhood. And whats more, its not as bad as we were expecting.