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
PappaRich QV was the first franchise to open in Victoria before the Chadstone and Doncaster stores and since its opening earlier this year. I avoided the restaurant for months because usually the curiosity factor is high and the management work out the kinks of the service and etc. Even after many months, the QV store is extremely popular.
We ordered the Ipoh Hor Fun with Prawns & Chicken Strips, and it was quite pleasant tasting. The soup was seasoned well, and with the large chillies and chicken pieces, it all came together nicely.
Their Roti Canai with Curry Chicken is a departure from the usual Roti Canai’s you would find elsewhere or from those frozen packets in Asian Groceries. What makes it so different is that the Roti here is extremely dry, but crisp and crunchy nonetheless. The ones you would find in most other Malaysian restaurants are layered, oiled and although crisp on the outside, it would be soft and pull-apart inside.
The Curry Chicken accompaniment was reasonably tasty, but with the chicken being all bones and skin it was a tad disappointing. The Dahl is surprisingly good, but nothing really out of the ordinary from what you may find in ChilliPadi Mamak in Flemington.
The real highlight of this dish is the sambal, as I mentioned in the Chadstone review, it has all the right things. A bit sweet and a huge kick of heat. Probably could eat that all day.
Their drinks menu is extensive with a lot of variety, we ordered the Soya Bean with Grass Jelly and it was extremely delicious. Not too sweet, and just the right amount of creaminess. Would order again!
Their Iced Red Bean drink was also quite nice, with their sugared Red Beans at the bottom with shaved ice. Not overly sweet but still sweet enough for those sweet tooths.
Service here was decent, food came quick enough. My main issue here is that when we requested for some extra sambal, they wanted $3 for basically one spoonful. I’m not sure if this is consistent with the Chadstone and Doncaster stores, but when we did ask fore more sambal in Chadstone, and we were not asked to pay for it. We did mention this to the staff at the counter when paying, and he said that this was something the management from the PappaRich franchisor have decided upon.
Can’t say I’m that impressed with this decision to be honest. Not the best way to treat your customers when you start micro-charging them. Alas, can’t do anything about it though. Will see if Chadstone have started charging next time we visit. Would I go back to PappaRich QV? Maybe not. We didn’t have the best experience here, the food was a slight letdown, definitely less tasty compared with Chadstone. Plus there are plenty of Malaysian restaurants to choose from in the city.
Level 2, Shop 11, QV Square
210 Lonsdale Street
Nanyang Kopitiam is located on Canterbury Road, close to an Indian grocer and a BP Petrol station. They offer a mix of Malaysian and Chinese dishes for a decent price. It’s not exactly a popular part of Box Hill, it’s actually very quiet even around the peak lunch time period on a weekend. [Update: Apparently this has closed down]
They don’t particularly have a great range of dishes to choose from, but they do have all your standards offered in many Malaysian restaurants here. One that seems to be on more Malaysian menu’s now is the Mee Rebus, and luckily for those Mee Rebus lovers out there, this is on Nanyan Kopitiam’s menu.
I’ll first talk about their Nasi Lemak. You get your choice of Curry Chicken or Rendang Beef like most Malaysian eateries, I often choose their Rendang since I like the flavours more so than your usual curry. It’s probably also that I often have Curry Chicken at home anyway.
Their Nasi Lemak also comes with your standard sides, so nothing out of the ordinary here. Their Rendang was a bit too tough for my liking, I think it’s because they hadn’t cooked it long enough but the sweet and spicy flavours were all there. I did enjoy it to be honest but the toughness was a bit of a letdown.
The sambal was overly sweet, and lacked that chilli punch that Taste Of Singapore has.
Overall it was a decent meal, and if you’re in those parts of town their Nasi Lemak is definitely okay.
I had a little taste of their Mee Rebus and it was quite good but it was odd because their sauce was extremely watery but it had all the essential flavours in it. I’m usually used to a thicker gravy but although this was different in looks, the taste was all there.
Probably the stand out for me was their Roti Canai. Their curry was delicious and had loads of flavour. It wasn’t too creamy and had just enough spice and heat to it. Along with their fresh roti (Their own roti if I’m not mistaken), that was nice and crisp on the outside but soft inside, I couldn’t really fault it.
Nanyang Kopitiam’s Char Kway Teow looked great. I only had a small taste of this as well, but again, it had a good balance of flavours and spice to it. People rave about Straits Char Kway Teow as one of the best in Victoria but this isn’t too bad either.
Strangely enough they say Kopitiam but it lacks many of the drinks you may find in a Kopitiam like for instance, Teh Tarik. I can’t remember if they served Coffee but I have my doubts.
All in all, if you’re in the area Nanyan Kopitiam will satisfy your Malaysian cuisine cravings. Even if you’re not , it’s decent enough to give it a try.
895c Canterbury Road
Tel: 03 9899 7077
Taste of Singapore is located on Clayton Rd, not too far away from Monash University’s Clayton Campus. If I’m craving Malaysian food and can’t find it anywhere, Singaporean cuisine will satisfy my cravings. What I’ve noticed between Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine is that Singaporean food is usually slightly sweeter but of course that can depend on where you frequent.
What I found with Taste of Singapore is that it had fantastic flavours and yet wasn’t that sweet like most Singaporean food I’ve tried.
Taste of Singapore serves quite a few well known dishes along with some not so famous dishes such as Nasi Lemak, Murtabak and Nasi Briyani. They also offer some sweet treats like Kueh and Teh Tarik!
Murtabak, as shown in the first image, is similar to Roti Canai but has a meat and onion filling. Usually this will be either lamb or beef. I’d probably go for their lamb but I know a few people who can’t quite stomach the lamb flavour.
Their Murtabak was very good, I do enjoy a crispy thin roti to dip into a spicy curry sauce and this dish met all my requirements for a great Murtabak. You also hardly ever can find a restaurant that sells Murtabak in Melbourne. So luckily it didn’t disappoint!
Taste of Singapore’s Nasi Lemak was surpisingly decent. Along with their cheaper than average, their serves are proportionate to their price. The Beef Rendang was cooked well and not too tough like some Rendang’s I’ve tried and the sauce had great authentic flavour to it too.
What was the biggest surprise was their chilli sauce/paste. I was expecting something sweet and not very spicy but this packed quite a good punch along with its sweetness so it balanced out nicely.
The usual assortment of egg, cucumber, anchovies and peanuts are mostly standard with what you get in any Nasi Lemak. I don’t think you can really go wrong with that.
Overall their Nasi Lemak is probably one of the better offerings I’ve tried in Melbourne.
I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the flavours are from the Nasi Briyani, while the rice looks plain enough it has good flavours to it. Although their serving size is less than desirable and with only one skinny chicken drumstick, I don’t think it’s value for money to be honest.
Oh Teh Tarik, how I love thee, and especially a good one. Taste of Singapore’s offering is one of the best I’ve tasted, probably up there with Chillipadi. It has a nice frothy top and it’s also not too sweet. A definite must try.
Here is one of their Kueh offerings on my Saturday visit. It was so-so. What I didn’t like about it was how sweet it was. It just overpowered any flavour that the Kueh was supposed to have. The one upside is that the texture was quite nice, it was slightly chewy but mostly soft like jelly.
Taste of Singapore has great flavours and although there are some cons with a few of their dishes, it does have a lot of upsides so I’d recommend you give it a try. The Singaporean chef is also quite friendly to chat too, so it has a great atmosphere to boot. However, I’ll admit the decor leaves a little to be desired.
Taste of Singapore
162 Clayton Rd
Clayton VIC 3168