When Milan Strbac opened the first Sugarcane in Surry Hills in 2008, he took a bit of a punt. Working at Longrain for five years and clocking up air miles travelling through Southeast Asia let the chef hone his signature pan-Asian cooking style. Pad Thai sits comfortably alongside roti and Malaysian curries.
Strbac and his family moved from Alexandria to Coogee in 2015, where he stumbled across the future site of Sugarcane 2.0. Giant Design used bamboo and timber finishes, hanging greenery and glass to deliver on the brief of simulating a Thai beach hut. The look’s completed by an outdoor deck for balmy nights, which capitalises on the 180-degree ocean views.
Tristan Balian (ex-Mr Wong) and Yoshi Fuchigami (ex-Catalina head up the kitchen. It still makes Surry Hills favourites such as salt-and-pepper squid, but Fuchigami wields a sashimi knife to create raw dishes such as scallops and beef tenderloin with Southeast Asian condiments. There’s a heavier cooked seafood contingent as well, and a Sumatran curry with Murray Hill lamb neck.
The fusion shtick flows into the drinks. Ged Higgins’ (ex-10 William Street) punchy wine list sits next to Asian-inspired cocktails such as a Mango Highball (mango-infused Beefeater Gin, pineapple shrub, lime, soda), and a Kaffir Lime Colada. A spicy mezcal, agave and Sriracha number offers respite from the sweeter stuff, leaving plenty of room for a scoop of Splice sorbet.