Located in Bayswater, Junior Tan Hawker Kitchen adds to your list of Malaysian restaurants to choose from in Victoria. The decor inside Junior Tan has this colourful 1920’s Chinese era imagery on the walls that I haven’t see done before. On their menu, some of the items have a slight twist to it like Eggplant chips, Balachan chic-a-wings or even a ‘Malaysian’ burger. However, they do also offer the more traditional dishes such as Nasi Lemak, Laksa, Char Kway Teow and Nasi Goreng.
Junior Tan’s Nasi Lemak looked quite appealing, it had all the essential parts to a good Nasi Lemak. However, I found the beef in the curry to be very tough, presumably not cooked long enough. The sambal was also a bit average, it doesn’t quite have that punch of flavour and spice.
The Char Kway Teow had a lovely wok flavour, and spiciness! Although, it was overly oily and wet as a result and the choice of the thin noodles I felt was a bit of an odd choice but overall I was quite happy with it.
Junior Tan’s Murtabak had this nice crispy exterior and flavourful filling. The curry sauce had just enough creaminess and spice to it, and goes well with the murtabak. My only con with it, is that is looks very barebones (styling is leaves a lot to be desired).
Still on my mission to try all the Teh Tarik’s around Melbourne, so how does Junior Tan’s drink stack up? Well, it has that lovely foamy top that is very essential to a good Teh Tarik. A tad too sweet for my liking but tea flavour is just strong enough with the condensed milk.
If I were around these parts of town, Junior Tan would probably be high on my list of places to dine at. However, is it worth the extra effort? Not particularly for me, when there are plentiful of choices around me and in the CBD but as I usually say it’s worth a try.
Shop 25, 7 High St
Bayswater VIC 3153
OldTown White Coffee opened its first restaurant in Melbourne earlier this year. Old Town already has a presence in Australia through its 3 in 1 White Coffee sold in quite a number of Asian grocers across Victoria. Originally from Ipoh, Malaysia, it has spread across Malaysia and into parts of Asia as well. It’s similar to PappaRich with its prominent drinks menu and wide variety of Malaysian dishes to choose from.
Oldtown’s Nasi Lemak comes with a number of sides, such as fried chicken, satay skewers and seafood sticks and of course sambal. The sambal is quite fragrant, although is sweeter than I would like. I still would say PappaRich’s sambal trumps it but it’s not far off. I found the satay to be warm, and not hot, which indicated to me that they pre-cook it. I suppose that’s to be expected as to speed up the order to serving time. The fried chicken, however, appears to be cooked to order. The coconut rice leaned towards the mushier side of things, and the fried seafood sticks were interesting things but I wasn’t a big fan of it. Overall, it’s a nice dish with many accompaniments which is a plus!
Their Balacan Seafood Fried Rice is delicious. It has that lovely fragrance of spices and it was spicier than expected.
I simply adored the Roti Canai, it’s fluffy and crisp. It’s my favourite Roti Canai in Melbourne. Every other Malaysian restaurant does it the typical square shape and although it’s crispy when cooked on the stove, it lacks this lightness to it that Oldtown’s has. It’s served vegetarian with a Curry, the typical Dahl curry (without the Dahl) and sambal. Mamak’s curry probably beats it in terms of flavour but its all pretty similar in my books. I’d go back just for this Roti though, it’s that good.
Their Ice Kacang looks exceptional but leaves a lot to be desired in terms of taste. It’s overly icy, the shaved ice is too rough for my liking. It lacks the red syrup (usually like a rose syrup), but does have the brown sugar or palm sugar syrup. The cendol jelly is a nice bonus but once you get the syrup, condensed milk mixture wrong, it really lets everything else down.
Oldtown’s Ice Teh Tarik has a wonderful strong tea taste, though just a tad too sweet for me. One of the better ones in Melbourne.
The reviews for Oldtown make you really question whether you would want to try it out. Maybe, I dined on a good day when service was pretty fast, although not particularly friendly but that’s pretty much expected at most Malaysian/Asian restaurants. Taste-wise it’s definitely above average and I can’t really understand the poor reviews it has received apart from the pricing which is a $1 to $2 more than most Malaysian restaurants. I’d go back.
303 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
I’ve dined at most of the PappaRich stores in Victoria and the Glen Waverley and Chadstone stores I would say are the best of the bunch. Although, I’ve heard from numerous people the Doncaster outlet is above all, I have actually yet to try it even though it’s now the closest one to me. Go figure.
Malaysian cuisine has almost become part of the Melbourne dining experience with Nasi Goreng or even Laksa as commonly known dishes to most. What isn’t as well known is probably the more Indian or Malay influenced Malaysian dishes such as their Nasi Kandar style dishes which is usually rice served with curry and side dishes.
PappaRich has a decent selection of menu choices such as beef rendang or curry chicken or even prawns and eggplant for instance. Generally, I would say you can’t go wrong with it and the Biryani offerings I would say are pretty darn tasty.
Their Har Mee (Pappa Prawn Mee) is one of my favourite Malaysian dishes. Some restaurants tend to water down their prawn soup base, but here it’s still full flavoured. My only con is that it’s just overly oily. Otherwise it’s something I can probably rely on being satisfied with.
As mentioned before, PappaRich Glen Waverley is one of my preferred PappaRich outlets and both service and food quality is above average. Although finding a table during peak times can be the most challenging issue of it all. Queuing is almost the norm there. However, to be honest I would probably prefer to dine at Petaling Street for my Malaysian fix at Glen Waverley. Though, you’re really spoilt for choice with Kitchen Inn, Straits of Malacca and O’Town all within walking distance from each other.
Ipoh Koay Teow Soup with Steamed Chicken, Pappa Prawn Mee, Pappa Special Nasi Lemak
O’Town in Glen Waverley replaced Hakka Tea House this year. O’Town specialises in Penang cuisine, many of my favourite Malaysian dishes have origins in Penang such as Char Kueh Teow, Har Mee and Mee Rebus but of course you can find many of these dishes elsewhere in Malaysia but it’s telling that there are eateries in Kuala Lumpur/Selangor that prides itself on Penang dishes.
O’Town’s decor is very reminiscent of the streets of Penang, with its British influence and Penang’s famous street art replicated on the walls.
O’Town’s Hakka Kon Loh is served with fishball soup and taste wise it was oddly familiar, like a drier Pan Mee because of the mushrooms and crunchy anchovies. It’s subtle in flavour as I did require some sliced chilli to go with it but I was happy with the flavours nonetheless. The soup is pretty much your typical Asian stock soup so nothing really out of the ordinary.
The Chicken Satay’s here aren’t grilled, instead its deep fried. So it has this crispiness to it, however it isn’t quite the same as the smokiness of a grilled satay stick. The peanut sauce is pleasant, with a wonderful nutty aroma I preferred it to the actual satay to be honest. That’s not to say it’s a bad satay dish, just different.
O’Town’s Nasi Lemak comes with a very tasty Chicken Curry. I loved the creaminess of it, yet not overpowering with the spices. A good balance of ingredients. The sambal is nothing really to run home about but definitely above average.
When ordering the Assam Laksa we were worried they would use sardines instead of other fish, luckily our worries were squashed as they use small fishes but definitely not sardines. Sardines give off a very strong fishy flavour which, more often than not, overpowers the Laksa flavours. Here the Assam Laksa has a lighter soup base taste but it’s one of the better Assam Laksa’s around.
The Ice Teh Tarik is not bad a bit light as I actually prefer a stronger “Teh” flavour. When talking to one of the staff, it appears that initially the Teh Tarik here did indeed have a stronger tea taste to it but people complained (what!). In any case, the staff mentioned you can request for a stronger Teh Tarik if that’s to your liking.
O’Town makes a mark in Glen Waverley, adding to the Malaysian restaurant scene and yet all have slightly different styles of Malaysian dishes due to their local origins (e.g Penang, Malacca, KL, Sarawak). The food here is on average pretty good, but nothing came across as amazing from the dishes we tried.
19 Railway Parade N
Glen Waverley VIC 3150
Madam Kwong in Box Hill is one of the very few Malaysian restaurants around these parts. Not only that, it’s one of the very few authentic Malaysian restaurants around. Having opened not that long ago, this small shop is seemingly always filled with people. Probably because of the lack of seating, but also frequented by Malaysian Australians. You can tell just by hearing their accent! I digress. From what I’ve been told, the food they serve here is Penang style cuisine which I’m actually more used to since my parents are from Northern Malaysia.
What they also have retained from Penang is their smaller portions. It’s not exactly small but for the price it leans towards being expensive compared to other Malaysian restaurants in Victoria.
I ordered the Nasi Lemak with Beef Curry. I actually really loved the curry, it was just creamy enough but not overwhelming and had also just enough spices and hit of chilli. I really couldn’t ask for a better curry to go with my Nasi Lemak. What they lack here though is a sambal of sorts, they included the preserved vegetables (behind the rice) but sambal is almost a necessity for Nasi Lemak so that in itself was slightly disappointing. However they do make up for it with generous serving of beef. They add all the other common sides, egg, cucumber, nuts, anchovies and scented rice. Overall, I was still pleased with the dish and at least the curry made up for any shortcomings.
Madam Kwong’s Char Kway Teoh is packed full of flavour. You can really taste the heat of the wok come through and of course you can’t have a Char Kway Teoh without a bit of spice. We asked for spicy, it was, sort of. Not as spicy as I would have liked though. The noodles were seasoned and cooked well, with all the things you’d come to expect with this dish. A satisfactory dish I would say!
What I was very disappointed with was their “Ice Kacang”, and I use quotation marks with that because I really don’t know what we were given. I mean it meets the literal definition of Ice Kacang (shaved ice and beans) but it was basically sugar syrup and ice. It needed a serious tablespoon of brown sugar syrup, a bit of condensed/evaporated milk and thinly shaved ice. It actually tasted like those snow cones that come with just cordial/liquid sugar flavourings and ice but not even as good as that. It was also extremely small for the price. Wouldn’t order it again.
Their cendol was indeed better. The cendol (green jellies) seemed fresh enough, not rubbery or hard. The jellies had a delicacy to it. It was quite creamy with the coconut milk and brown sugar and very sweet. I think they added too much coconut milk for my liking but it wasn’t in anyway bad like their Ice Kacang was. Would I order it again? Hmm, probably not. Again portion size is to be considered for the price, I wouldn’t. Straits of Malacca and ChilliPadi Mamak do it better and bigger.
I liked their food, there isn’t too much variety on their menu but what they serve in terms of hot food is tasty and that’s all that really matters here. The desserts, and even their Kuehs’ I find them to be on the sickly sweet side but I guess some people like it that way. They also are partly a grocery store (well they sell a few grocery items) and frozen dim sum dishes so even if you may not fancy their food, if you’re in the need of a few Malaysian ingredients this may be very well be the place to stop at.
1025 Whitehorse Rd
Box Hill VIC 3128