Rock Sugar

477 Malvern Road, South Yarra
03 9826 2888


  • Steamed Buns
    • Crispy Pork Belly
    • Softshell Crab
  • Massaman Curry
  • Beef Cheek
  • Jasmine Rice
  • Roti Bread

The Good

It proved to be a pleasant start with the Soft Shell Crab Steamed Bun. The singular serve of soft fluffy Bao enclosed a crispy though not overly meaty soft shell crab. The crispness was well matched by crumbs peanut and nicely juxtaposed by the softness of the bao. Meanwhile, the pickled papaya and chilli jam offered up an incredibly appetising accompaniment.

The Mediocre

The Massaman Beef Curry wasn’t overly impressive. The rich and flavoursome curry sauce that’s normally associated with a massaman curry was much too mild and is a far fetch from the bold, nutty and powerful Thai flavours we were hoping for. Within, the four small chunks of beef were beautifully cooked to great tenderness, though as a main, this definitely left us wanting for much, much more.

At $10 per serve, Pork Belly Steamed Bun left much to be desired. The rather thin slices of pork belly felt a lot less substantial when compared to the soft shell crab variant. Fortunately, the flavours worked quite well with the pineapple and spicy nam jim. Coupled with some shaved pancheno on the side, this unique twist definitely made this soft fluffy Bao rather appetising.

The Bad

The Beef Cheek was certainly a disappointment for us this evening. Despite being perfectly slow cooked and breaking apart with the push of a fork, the flavour of the beef itself was noticeably absent, as was any seasoning that should’ve been present. The only flavour came from the dollops of chilli coconut cream served alongside. However at this price point, it’s pretty much unacceptable to serve up an unseasoned, flavourless low grade chunk of meat and call it a day.

The Roti Bread was hard and chewy. Very dense and tough, it was almost like eating a soggy biscuit. Even dipping it in the Massaman Curry didn’t save it. What a shame!

The Verdict

Rock Sugar is a very hip and trendy joint that’s probably more well suited to young patrons who are looking to catch up with friends over some pretty fancy cocktails, and Instagram their experience together.
With spices toned right down across the food menu, it’s best not to arrive expecting modern interpretations on Thai cuisine. Rather, you’d be much happier calling it contemporary Asian with some kind of Thai influences thrown. Occasionally.

Would Penguin Eat Again?

Their cool vibe and extensive list of “Rocktails” may rock your world. However the tiny, mediocre portions of food coupled with their asking price makes it much harder to swallow.

After $100 worth of food, the two of us left hungry and unsatisfied. At this level, we probably won’t bother with a revisit.

Penguineats dined complimentary of Rock Sugar.

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