Quick & Delicious Chinese & Malaysian Cuisine in the CBD
Sammy's Kitchen is a Chinese and Malaysian restaurant located in the North Quarter dining precinct on Bunda Street, in the heart of the city. It is the ideal location for this restaurant, with thousands of people passing it every day on their way to the Canberra Centre, or Dendy Cinemas upstairs. Sammy's Kitchen is seen as an "institution" in Canberra, as it has been selling reasonably priced and delicious meals for almost 10 years in this location, after moving from their previous restaurant across the road in 2007. Every time you walk past it, it is wall to wall with people and often a small line at the front for those who haven't booked.
I personally have heard of Sammy's Kitchen mentioned several times when discussing with friends the best places to go out for dinner in the city. Each conversation always ends with "Then of course there is always Sammy's Kitchen, you can't go wrong with anything you get from there". It seems this restaurant has been tried by almost everyone in Canberra and they all agree - other restaurants may come and go but Sammy's Kitchen guarantees a delicious meal, every time.
Sammy's Kitchen with large areas for inside seating...
If you plan to dine here, it is best that you book ahead to ensure you get seated at this busy and popular restaurant. When we arrived we were taken to our table by the fastest waiter I have ever met - I was literally running to catch up with him, he was that fast. Nothing is slow at this restaurant. Once you order, the drinks are delivered fast and then the meals soon after. Despite the crowds, this restaurant is a well-oiled machine, storming ahead and delivering sizzling dishes with a smile - when they have time.
The menu is extensive, with over a hundred choices as well as the Specials Board which adds in another 10 choices and wine specials. On this particular 33 degree evening of our visit, our beers were delivered icy cold, as if taken straight from the freezer. Perfect. Every table had a different array of colourful and well-sized meals, so we were eagerly anticipating our own. Looking around however, it appeared to be one of those restaurants that it doesn't matter what you order, it is going to be a winner every time.
Sammy's Kitchen Special ($18.50) - a combination of well marinated pork, chicken, calamari, scallops and broccoli in oyster sauce
On our visit we chose Sammy's Kitchen Special ($18.50) which was a combination of well-marinated pork, chicken, calamari, scallops and broccoli in oyster sauce. The oyster sauce was quite mild in taste, so the emphasis was on the tender meats which just melted in the mouth. We also chose the Sizzling Lamb with black pepper and snow peas ($20.50) which had an intense, delicious flavour which blended well with the other meal. These were enjoyed over fried rice, which was particularly generous on the prawns. Although they were good sized meals, it didn't take the two of us long to devour the beautifully flavoured dishes and finish completely full - and completely satisfied.
Sizzling lamb with black pepper and snow peas ($20.50)
This venue is a "must-try" if you live or visit Canberra, however don't expect it to be a quiet or leisurely night out over a few hours. As we were full from our meals we decided not to have a dessert as we had planned, so from the time of sitting down, to when the bill was laid on the table, it was 45 minutes. The tables are very close together and ordering a second drink was almost impossible, however don't let this put you off - the fast pace, the quick meals and the bustling changing of tables adds to the atmosphere of this busy and popular Asian restaurant.
Delicious food and quick turnover at this busy CBD restaurant
Another option is to try the new Sammy's Kitchen that has opened up on the Kingston Foreshore called Sammy's Foreshore. This has all the beautiful food of the city venue with waterfront dining and brand new modern fitout. This restaurant opened in October, 2016 and it is a good sign for Sammy's, as they grow even bigger and find new customers to share their divine food with. Just like the rest of Canberra, now that we have tried their food, we will also be back. Just like the true Canberra locals, if someone asks us a good place to go for dinner in the city we will end with - "Then of course there is always Sammy's Kitchen, you can't go wrong with anything you get from there" - and mean it.
Sammy's Foreshore on the Kingston Foreshore. Image: Original photos from Sammy's Foreshore Facebook