For a city as obsessed with food as Sydney is, it's surprising how few good hole-in-the-wall joints we actually boast. Albee's is a welcome addition to the small Malaysian food scene where dishes cooked with a nod to authenticity are prized above location and water views.
There are specials written in Chinese with obscure translations such as the mystifying 'Rice Drops Serve in Hot Pot'. There are brusque staff who may or may not greet you with a bowl of complimentary broth (if none is forthcoming a gentle reminder should produce results). There are smoking woks, a few old aunties and boxes and boxes of produce. There's also a fridge full of cold, sweet herbal tea (only $1 a glass) and if you ask nicely on your way out they'll sell you a jug of it to take home.
The menu is short and sharp, with set meals that seem very popular with the predominantly Asian crowd. The nasi lemak pops with flavour. It's a plate of coconut rice, beef rendang, oily onion sambal, flash-fried ikan bilis and peanuts balanced with five (count them) thin slices of cucumber. You might expect it to be a greasy mess but you'd be mistaken: the mix of flavour and texture is like a well balanced punch to the mouth.
Char kuey teow is a smoky jumble of flat rice noodles, bits of Chinese sausage, crunchy prawns and softly scrambled egg, all bound by a touch of chilli and a good glug of ketchup manis. Albee's char kuey teow substitutes pippies for those hard-to-get blood cockles. It's not the real deal, but full points for trying.
Vegetarians don't miss out either. Stir-fried kangkong (water spinach) is a pungent, funky treat, and the imaginatively named Four Treasure Vegetable (green beans, okra, eggplant and petai beans) flavoured with chilli sambal is a jackpot of heat and freshness.
The food's fantastic and the prices are wallet-friendly. Check it out soon.