25 January 2010

Malacca Straits: Hidden Malaysian Classics, Broadway (23 Jan 2010)

66 Mountain Street, Broadway/Ultimo NSW 2000
(in the courtyard of the Quadrant Building)

Hidden Malaysian Classics

This restaurant is definitely hidden from the main streets of Broadway in a building complex with only signs at the entrances trying to capture pedestrians passing by. I first found out about this place from a Malaysian friend whose very fussy with his Malaysian dishes and says his mum makes the best Hainanese Chicken in Sydney — I'm still waiting for my invite to his mum's place for lunch though :-). He had his birthday here but I was unavailable although he recommended I try the Chicken Rice and otak otak amongst other dishes. The chicken was juicy and moist and was served with a good chilli/ginger sauce and decent sized side soup. They only serve the leg here so expect the bones and skin with all it's usual fatty content — probably up there with Sayong's Chicken Rice. I thought the Otak Otak was very good as well and one of the best I've tried so far — full of flavour, moist and tasty.

The owner recommended we try the Fried Radish Cake which had a good char factor while the radish pieces remained soft with a gnocchi like consistency. The Murtabak was OK but from memory I still prefer the version I've tried at Java in Randwick. The Chicken Satay was flavoursome and came with slices of cucumber, onion and a good peanut sauce. I'm still waiting to find a place in Sydney that serves it with the traditional compressed rice cubes though. The Har Mee was OK but lacked the robust flavour I prefer at Malay-Chinese which I'd say is one of the best in Sydney — gotta love the pork crackling they sprinkle on top too. On such a hot day with no aircon in the restaurant (authentic Malaysian experience) we had to try the desserts. The ABC looked pretty good on the menu but I was disappointed when it arrived. I was thinking where's the rest of it? It's pretty small and hoped it would be closer in size like LNC Dessert House or Little Singapore — I guess you can't expect much for $5. I really liked the Pandan-flavoured Crepe with the toasted coconut inside, although keep in mind you only get one for $5.

Interesting enough the owners dad who works in the kitchen used to be an Executive Chef for Malaysian Airlines and also worked for the original The Malaya when it used to be in Haymarket on George Street before moving to Cockle Bay. Also his mum used to work for Malay-Chinese so the kitchen is well experienced. I'm keen to try other dishes so I can compare to Alice's in Thornleigh which is one of my favourite Malaysian bench-mark restaurants for the hawker style classics. The new restaurant owner has been operating for about 4 weeks and plans to focus more on the Malaysian cuisine rather than the Thai.

PROS: Quite area, Authentic-like, Reasonable prices
CONS: Hidden, No air conditioning, Small sized desserts
MUST TRY: Otak Otak, Chicken Rice, Fried Radish Cake
NEXT TIME: Char Koay Teow, Laksa, Wat Tan Hor, Assam Ikan
Other places tried for Chicken Rice:
Singapore Shiok!* - 29 Sept 2010
Malacca Straits - 23 Jan 2010
Yummy Chinese - 20 Jan 2010
Laksa House - 24 Sept 2009
Laksa King - 16 Sept 2009
Malaysian Food House - 18 Aug 2009
Malay-Chinese Takeaway - 6 Aug 2009
Mc Lucksa - 5 Aug 2009
Jaya Malaysian - 29 July 2009

Otak Otak: Grilled spiced fish fillet wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in coconut milk $12 (3 pieces)

Murtabak: Minced marinated beef wrapped in thin paschment roti canai and served with curry sauce $10.50

Chicken Satay $12

Hainanese Chicken Rice $8.50

Char Tau Kueh: Fried Radish Cake $11.50

Har Mee Prawn Noodle Soup $10.80

Air Batu Campur ABC: Shaved ice with red bean, glass jelly, cendol and topped with rose syrup, palm sugar and evaporated milk $5

Cendol: Shaved ice over chewy pandan-flavoured 'cendol', coconut milk and palm sugar $5

Kuih Ketayap: Pandan-flavoured crepe filled with toasted coconut and palm sugar and served with a scoop of ice cream $5

Eating desserts out of a little plastic kids bowl

Dessert menu — don't expect your ABC to come out like the photo though :-(


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Malacca Straits on Urbanspoon


joey@forkingaroundsydney said...

Oh yum! Why I keep looking at food blogs just before dinner is a mystery to me ....

Bean Sprout's Cafe said...

hehe..the place is just 1 block from my house but I still never tried... dunno it will be opened tomorrow or not...

I had the chicken satay with the traditional compressed rice cubes that u mentioned at Ayam Goreng 99 in Kingford..the indo one..the chicken satay was great ! (its the first indo satay style I have tried)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

The food looks pretty good and he has an interesting CV! I've driven past this place a few times and wondered what the food is like :)

foodwink said...

This place is a hidden gem. Tried the otak-otak, pulut panggang and Hainanese Chicken rice a couple of weeks ago and really liked them.

And I agree with the owner - they should get rid of the Thai dishes. Nothing but distraction to the authentic Malaysian dishes on offer.

sugarpuffi said...

wow you tell me now after I just completed uni at UTS. *stomps feet*. Luckily my brother starts high school tomorrow and his school just happen to be 1 block away! Gives me a reason to walk around broadway again and paying this a visit!

grace said...

hey nice find!
kuih and ice kecang look especially exciting :D

john@heneedsfood said...

I've been meaning to try this place for ages. As soon as you mentioned otak otak I was hooked.
There used to be a great Singaporean restaurant in Newtown that had the compressed cubes of rice with the satay. I was distressed for months when they closed up.
Might try Malacca Straits this weekend!

Simon Leong said...

hi joey, if it's any consolation i seem to look at your blog before i go to bed which makes me hungry

hi bean sprout's cafe, i'll have to get myself to ayam goreng 99 as this would be pretty close to me to try and search out the compressed rice cubes. thanks for letting me know.

hi lorraine, i'd probably try and go back again when i get a chance to try a few of the other dishes to make a full review of the place.

hi foodwink, glad you've discovered this place as well and enjoyed the otak otak and chicken rice. i think it'll just be a matter of time when they do mostly Malaysian but i think at the moment they still have a few customers who go there for the thai.

hi sugarpuffi, that's a shame you didn't get to try it before but it's probably better now because it's under new management and they concentrate on Malaysian dishes

hi grace, just keep in mind the desserts are quite small so there'll probably be not much sharing ;-)

hi john, good malaysian restaurants which are reasonably priced seem to be far and few between but hopefully there'll be more of them in the future to satisfy our cravings for them :-)

Anonymous said...

Simon, Abang Sam in Kensington (across the road from Chairman Mao) serves their satay with ketupat (compressed rice). However, be warned. The place has changed hands, and whilst the satays are still pretty good, other items are hit and miss. Skip the cendol. Meanwhile, I'll definitely put M Straits on my must-try list. Thanks. Gobsmack'd

Simon Leong said...

hi Gobsmack'd, thanks for the suggestion. will look out for it :-) hope you enjoy Malacca Straits if you get time to check it out. let me know what you think.

ronald said...

i tried the "Fried Raddish Cake" at this place for the 1st time last night, and sadly not a dish i would recommend.

it is very much unlike the style that i've been used to back in Singapore (or Malaysia).

it turns out to be quite firm, chunky, and quite a fair bit of shrimp paste. Nothing like the soft raddish cake, with dark soya sauce style i'm used to - or in a way expect.. unless this is a particular style or version that i'm not aware of.

the other version of the raddish cake i've tried, which is passable, is the one at MC Lucksa (Foodcourt in Market City). still not exactly 'close to home' version, but at least the raddish cake is bit more representative of what i'd expected.


Simon Leong said...

hi ronald, that's a shame you didn't enjoy the fried radish cake although it sounds like they cooked it a bit differently to what I had because it wasn't too firm for ours. I've also tried the MC Luksa version which was good and this one was even softer than that when I had it. keep me posted if you find one that's even better than MC Lucksa :-) did you try anything else?

ronald said...

hi Simon,

yeah, was looking forward to the fried raddish cake here, but alas it turned out to be quite different to what i'd expected.

i didn't try anything else this time round as it was only dinner for one. on a previous occassion a while back, had tried the Hokkien Mee, and was not bad. i'd like to try their Har Mee + the other M'sian dishes.

one thing that bugs me with the menu is why do they have Thai dishes for what's supposedly a M'sian restuarant? ;)


Simon Leong said...

hi ronald, the har mee was ok but i find malay-chinese is better for depth of flavour. they actually used to be more a thai restaurant but with the new owners being Malaysian they are hoping to make the menu more Malaysian but at the same time try and keep their Thai menu customers happy. i think they should just pick one or the other and concentrate on that. i know what you mean though. :-)

Eve said...

Thanks for posting the links to the chicken rice places in Sydney. After being in Sydney for 2mths, I am craving Singapore hawker food bad! Will go give this place a try. Hope it hits the spot. Am real homesick for Sg food especially my kopi and teh.
Btw great blog...looking and reading the reviews really makes me hungry!

Simon Leong said...

hi eve, i think you'll be missing you singapore hawker food for quite a while because it'll be very hard for Sydney to match in terms of taste, authenticity and value. but after a while you'll hopefully find some decent favourites until you revisit singapore for the real thing. thanks for reading my blog and please keep me posted if you find any excellent dishes you enjoy :-)

Eve said...

Hi Simon,
That is true. I am counting the days to end nov when I am heading home. The food at Malacca straits is more Malaysian than singaporean. Their chicken rice was ok. The rice was good but the chicken and chilling not. The epitome of good chicken rice is dependent on the holy trinity of rice, chicken and chilli. The symphony of the combination creates magic. Alas! Theirs lack 2 of the 3.
Try Singapore Shiok a food stall in eating world hay market. Their chicken was silky smooth and chilli punches a kick. Their rice was not so good but they serve theirs with the dark sweet soy which makes it more Singaporean.
I will be trying their char kway teow tomorrow nite. Hope it is good.
Btw if you ever swing to Singapore, I can give you a list of the best chicken rice and laksa stalls. But I think my mom's laksa is the best. I better learn her recipe.

Simon Leong said...

hi eve, thanks for the tip for singapore shiok. i'll have to try as well as their char kway teow. let me know what it's like. you'll have to try the chicken rice in the asian food court under woolworths called sayong and let me know what you think http://simonfoodfavourites.blogspot.com/2009/07/sayong-curry-laksa-malaysian-cuisine.html :-)

Cath Dwyer said...

Thanks for the post - I wanted to book here but couldn't remember it's name - your photos really helped me recognise that this is in fact the place where I have had the most delicious vege malaysian curry - DELICIOUS! Thank for all your effort in putting this blog together, it's great

TheLaksaBlog said...

Hey Simon, I went here a couple of months back - one of the chefs is from Seremban, Malaysia apparently - they still had some Thai dishes on the menu. We thought the curry puffs (vegetarian) were excellent - light & fluffy with a great mix of spices, although somewhere like Istana in Thornleigh probably has better pastry.

Onto the laksa, I have only tried it the once, but it was very thick, a bit mild and overall a little average. I remember there was a mountain of vermicelli noodles and thinking it was almost like a bowl of noodles and sauce instead of a soup.

Oh yeah - I had the banana fritter for desert and I thought it was pretty nice.

Simon Leong said...

hi cath, thanks for the positive feedback, much appreciated.

hi TheLaksaBlog, my dad is actually from seremban too which is about an hour out from Malaysia. thanks for letting me know about the laksa. sounds like more noodles than soup. i'll have to try the banana fritter next time :-)

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