There’s a new trend in Sydney: stuffing things into croissants. It doesn’t matter if it’s sweet, savoury or if it’s never been eaten in a pastry before, cafe owners are jamming whatever they can into croissants (Cuckoo Callay, Rollers Bakehouse and Textbook Boulangerie Patisserie are all doing it). And just like the milkshake and breakfast-dessert (French toasts) trend before this, which are about creating visually fun and gimmicky creations, occasionally a good one pops up. X23’s sambal eggs is one of them.

The kitchen at this Chippendale venue takes a Brasserie croissant, cuts it and slides in silky sambal-whisked scrambled eggs sprinkled with fresh chilli and a fried mix of brittle curry leaves and crunchy onion bits. It’s spicy, textural, tart and pretty. “This is our signature; it was the first idea I had,” says Xuelin Leaw, X23’s chef and owner.

Leaw is a Malaysian-born first-time cafe owner whose ambition it is to bring her love for modern Malaysian cuisine to a restaurant setting. “The name X23 – the X is from my name and 23 is the age I was [when I] planned this cafe. Maybe my restaurant or bar will be called X29,” Leaw says, laughing.

For now, her experiments are confined to a small, Instagram-friendly cafe in Central Park. Some of the food is simple, such as a bit of chilli on avo toast, while some are more elaborate, like a nasi lemak-inspired chicken burger with fried eggs, cucumber and sambal, or pandan-infused waffles with house-made kaya jam and lychees (kaya is made with sugar, coconut milk and eggs and in Malaysia is traditionally spread on toast).

It’s not all new ideas – congee is served straight-up. So too is the typically Malaysian breakfast set of ultra-soft-boiled eggs, kaya-buttered toast and Malaysian milk tea. “I’ve always wanted to do this, Malaysian fusion,” says Leaw. “There are [lots of] Japanese fusion places, what about Malaysian?”

Aside from the addition of a charcoal and grass-jelly spiked teh tarik (a Malaysian-style milky pulled tea), drinks are the usual cafe standards. Coffee is made using Mecca beans; tea comes from Tea Craft and Mork supplies the hot-chocolate base.

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X23
102/18 Park Lane, Chippendale
(02) 9056 5138

Hours:
Mon, Wed to Fri 7am–3.30pm
Sat & Sun 9am–4pm