205 Russell Street, Melbourne
03 9650 4336
What used to be this really scary old opium den/ haunted house like building on Russell St was recently renovated to become this light and airy Borneo eatery named SugarBun. Now back in Queensland I used to be involved in a student club called Borneo Student Association (BSA), but to be honest, it was run by mostly Aussie born Asians and Aussie born Aussies so I have nooooo idea about Borneo culture nor their food. I only know that it’s an island off Malaysia and according to Wiki, this island is divided amoungst Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. So with my limited knowledge, I don’t really know whether the food is “authentically Borneo” or not, but it was still exciting to try something new!
The first time I visited, it was a bit cold so I decided to try their fish fillet noodles soup $12. You can either choose poached or deep fried, so I decided to be healthy and tried the poached version. It was late Thursday lunch time and there were probably 3 tables finishing up their food, yet it took them almost 15-20mins for my food to arrive 😦 When it did arrive I found the fish fresh enough, however the fish was bland and slightly overcooked. The redeeming thing though was definitely the chilli soy sauce that came with the noodles. Really really yummy chilli soy that has a nice kick and made the fish taste fresher. The noodle soup itself also had a mysterious char grilled flavour that was actually quite tasty. Although I won’t choose this dish again those two things really saved this dish.
The second time I went I decided to try their Signature dish, “Broasted Chicken”. WTF is Broasted Chicken? According to our waiter, he likened it to Lord of the Fries (apologies but I have never had an interest in Lord of the Fries so I had to inquire further!), it uses this high pressure oven to “fry” the chicken, whilst squeezing the oil out so it’s crunchy, less oily (hopefully more healthy?) and tender inside.
Would this be the Borneo’s answer to Korean Fried Chicken (KFC)? Perhaps. Pictured above is the Sambal Pedas Broasted Meal $12 which is Sugarbun’s take of Ayam Penyet, an Indonesian fried chicken dish. After the chicken were deep fried, fragrant herbs are mashed up and scatted on top of the chicken, creating this flavoursome concoction. There is also weirdly one single piece of deep fried tofu (to make it healthier?!) and two dried plum thingy served with fragrant coconut rice. I really like the mashed herbs and the chicken was crunchy crispy on the outside and oh so moist and flavoursome on the inside. The meal also came with a serve of chilli sauce which has a slight kick, once again their chillis are super addictive! The only complaint was that at several points in time I bit into this small herb/ bone that was so hard that I thought I chipped my tooth. Be warned.
Hubby also ordered some shoestring fries with Kano sauce. I am seriously loving the sauces at this place. Thie Kano sauce is sweet and sour, but not like the normal sweet and sour sauce you get from Chinese takeaway! It has a really complex flavour. Sadly the shoestring fries were not hot at all and a bit soggy.
Overall I don’t mind this place- it’s a convinent lunch spot for something a little bit different. The service at both times were good although the first time the food did take longer than anticipated. I would definitely be back for their broasted chicken. 7/10