With Jonker Street seemingly always busy, we decided to try Meals At Jackson’s. I believe it changed management in recent times, but I never actually dined there before the change. Meals At Jackson’s offers a selection of Chinese and Malaysian style dishes like Laksa, Nasi Goreng, Lemon Chicken and Sweet & Sour Pork.
I tend to order a Laksa at Malaysian restaurants I’ve never been to before, it seems to be a decent indicator of the quality and authenticity of Malaysian dishes. The Chicken Curry Laksa at Meals At Jackson’s, is unfortunately a disappointment. It has a generous use of curry powder, and lacking in pretty much any other flavour. The shrivelled up long beans don’t make things better either. I guess one of the pluses is that it comes with a lot of chicken pieces.
Their Ipoh Combination is decent. Though, an odd addition of Char Siew (BBQ Pork) instead of the typical chicken, or beef which adds this weird sweetness to it. The noodles also lack some of the “wok flavour” too.
The Fish Head Noodle Soup was also lacking in flavour. It’s “milky” but it doesn’t have the required sourness from the preserved vegetables and tomatoes to balance it. Quite average.
I hope Meals At Jackson’s Chinese style dishes are tastier because their Malaysian dishes are truly mediocre.
Meals At Jackson’s
52 Jackson Court
Doncaster East VIC 3109
Kim Sing opened its doors earlier this year under new management after Madam Kwan closed down. Their menu has been tweaked and a number of menu items have been removed from the menu, but Kim Sing still has a mixture of Malaysian/Chinese style dishes on offer and they advertise itself as Kim Sing, Truly Malaysian Delights. So expectations are high with that statement.
More often than not, I always try a new Malaysian restaurant’s Curry Laksa to see if they can trump Laksa King and Chef Lagenda. Kim Sing’s Laksa is a letdown, and substantially poorer quality than its predecessor. It has this watery, curry powder flavoured taste to it. A Curry Laksa it ain’t.
Their Char Kway Teow is served in a bowl, for some odd reason and with Madam Kwan’s logo still placed on all its crockery. It has that ‘wok’ flavour, so thank goodness for that but there are several oddities with this dish. It uses Char Siew (BBQ Pork) as its protein instead of Lap Cheong (Chinese Sausage). The prawns are tiny, and they don’t add in the deep fried Pork Lard but usually I can live without that. We also ordered it spicy, but no heat to it whatsoever. The substitution of Lap Cheong with Char Siew completely changes the taste of the Char Kway Teow. Very strange.
The Salt & Pepper Chicken Ribs with rice was actually quite nice. No chilli, which I think it needs to give it a bit of kick and depth of flavour but the chicken is crispy and still moist but they aren’t very generous with their fried capsicum and onion which I think is needed to give the chicken and rice much needed flavour. Decent but you can probably find better elsewhere in Box Hill.
Kim Sing unfortunately does not live up to its Truly Malaysian Delights statement. It serves quite frankly, mediocre dishes that are so disparate from traditional Malaysian dishes.
Shop 3, 1 Main Street
Box Hill VIC 3128
Jonker Street in Doncaster is named after a popular street in Malacca, Malaysia which has now taken over the location that Ronz Roti Kaya used to occupy. The menu at Jonker Street is actually quite extensive, they offer an array of noodle and rice dishes, as well as congee which include your Malaysian staples like Nasi Goreng, and Curry Laksa but they also serve mains if you prefer to share dishes and take the opportunity to try a few more dishes at a time.
Not many places can do a good Assam Laksa, it’s usually either it lacks in flavour or their use sardines which often changes the entire flavour of the broth. I found the Assam Laksa here to be lacking in flavour, it tastes slightly watered down which is disappointing. I’d say it’s around 70% of the intensity it should be at.
The Curry Laksa here is surprisingly good, but it isn’t your typical Laksa that you might find in Laksa King or Chef Lagenda that are more creamier. The Laksa tastes like your typical Chicken Curry sauce but as a broth, which has this lovely spiciness to it that it needs.
The Pan Mee here also has the same issues that the Assam Laksa has, which is that the soup base lacks flavour but more so in this case. The Pan Mee broth should have the flavour of pork and dried anchovies, but it really doesn’t have any taste to it at all so I had to add a lot of chilli to give it flavour.
The Teh Tarik isn’t too bad, maybe just a tad too sweet and not pulled enough but overall it’s decent!
The Ice Cendol has the balance of gula melaka syrup and coconut milk all out, it needs a lot more gula melaka.
There isn’t anything that stands out to me at Jonker Street, though the Chicken Laksa is probably one of the better dishes but it seems like they have issues with making their broths more intense in flavour. Maybe their other dishes are better, but at the moment I’m in no hurry to try it again.
84 Jackson Court
Doncaster East VIC 3109
PappaRich is practically everywhere in Melbourne, and interestingly their Doncaster outlet is located in a separate building and not part of a shopping centre or shopping strip. It’s a spacious area but bustling during the weekends. If you had never been to a PappaRich before, they basically offer a wide selection of Malaysian rice, noodle and roti dishes along with a an almost innumerable amount of drinks to choose from.
PappaRich’s Chicken Curry Laksa is one of the better laksa’s around town, but still the ones to beat are Chef Lagenda and Laksa King. It’s just creamy enough, with the right amount of chilli and spices. With a hint of mint to freshen it up.
Their Red Chicken Briyani with Fried Eggplant is a dish you wouldn’t often come across as it leans towards the more Indian/Malaysian style of cooking unlike most Malaysian restaurants which are more Chinese influenced.
I love Briyani and the rice here has that lovely spices infused into the rice, but I detest sultanas in dishes so I very rarely (read: never) order this. Comes with a crispy thin pappadam too!
Doncaster outlet doesn’t stray too far from the standard set by Chadstone or Glen Waverley so it’s nice to have one on the eastern side of town.
540 Doncaster Road
Doncaster VIC 3108
Madam Kwan’s recently opened its doors in Box Hill, replacing Straits of Malacca which seemed to vanish as soon as it opened. Also, not to be confused by Madam Kwong’s and Kwan’s Dim Sum on Whitehorse Road. It retains the same name as a franchise in Malaysia. Variety-wise, it’s quite similar to PappaRich with a mix of noodle and rice dishes, drinks and desserts (Durian too) although where it falls short is the number of menu options, like Nasi Kandar, Roti Canai but seem to mark its place with a few of their specialties such as Madam Kwan’s Noodle Soup.
Madam Kwan’s Mee Goreng, is probably one of the better ones I’ve tried although it lacks that slight sweet and sourness from the tomato sauce that is frequently used in Mee Goreng. Apart from that, I found it quite filling (portions are generous).
The Chicken Curry Laksa isn’t like what you’d find in Chef Lagenda or Laksa King where it has this rich, creaminess to the Laksa. Instead, it opts for the fragrance of the spices used to add depth to the soup base. Again, it’s a generous offering with both egg and rice vermicelli noodles.
Madam Kwan’s Lobak is one of my favourites I’ve tried in Melbourne and can actually best some of the ones I’ve tried in Malaysia. It has this wonderful balance of pork and the seasoning. Plus, it adds yam/taro that adds texture and fragrance that I didn’t even know I wanted in a Lobak, and yet it works so well together. Yum. Be warned though, their side dishes cost nearly as much as their mains.
I found their Teh Tarik on the other hand to be overly sweet from its excessive use of condensed milk. Tea flavour-wise it’s on the stronger side of things so the balance is a bit off in my books.
While I would say, Madam Kwan’s isn’t my favourite Malaysian eatery in Melbourne, it’s probably one of the tastier choices for Malaysian cuisine in the Box Hill and even Doncaster/Blackburn area.
3/1 Main Street (Box Hill Central)
Box Hill VIC 3128