Great North Express – KL Cafe

Based on a recommendation from a reader, I tried KL Cafe in Kelston. It’s a bit of a drive to be honest, but I think well worth the visit. First you get to try a different place, and second, you get to see West Auckland. =) KL Cafe to me looks like a 2-in-1, quasi-takeaway-malaysian-cafe-hybrid. It works. Several samples below:

Char Kuey Teow.

Wonton Noodle.

Mee Goreng.

Prawn Noodle.

I didn’t manage to note the price unfortunately, but it’s standard price. Nothing that will blow you away. Out of these 4 dishes above, I quite like the Prawn Noodle. Apparently quite authentic. The people who served us are quite friendly and seem to recognise the locals.

My rating 8/10. Good try if you’re willing to go for a ride (assuming you’re not in West Auckland).

But someone did say to me, if you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME. =)

Bing’s Authentic Malaysian Restaurant & Cafe

This is a strange place to find a Malaysian restaurant. It’s located in the Auckland Hotel on Hobson St. It’s almost impossible to find, in fact, it was a work colleague who told me about this place. I’m surprised how they manage to put a place like this in a hotel, but I guess it must work for both parties. The environment is a bit strange. The pricing of the meals are above average, all above $10 if I can recall, but the portion is huge.

Char Kuey Teow.

Wat Tan Hor.

Mee Goreng.

It’s not a bad place, the meals aren’t the best I’ve tasted. The portion is huge but that’s reflected on the pricing. The staff is friendly, but the environment is a bit different.  My rating is 7.5/10. It’s a good place for a Malaysian food if you want portion, and if you’re in the vicinity of the Auckland Hotel.

Sri Mahkota

This is a quick one for the month. I have a few in the pipeline, but haven’t uploaded pics and stuff. I was recommended to Sri Mahkota by one of the readers. First impression when I was there, a lot of people so it must be good! This was lunchtime in the weekend. It’s a small place, located in the industrial area of East Tamaki (ish). The food they sell is pretty much the standard Malaysian dish. However, I realised the fish head soup was quite popular – I see lots of big bowls.

However, keeping to my conservative side, I chose the same ol’ stuff. Samples below:

Sri Mahkota - Char Kuey Teow

Char Kuey Teow.

Sri Mahkota - Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak.

Sri Mahkota - Curry Puff

Curry Puff.

To be honest, I didn’t come out of Sri Mahkota with a “wow” and I forgot how much each dish was! But the dishes above wasn’t anything special (sorry). The food isn’t horrible, but not something I’d drive 10-15 mins for and wait outside. Perhaps the dish above is too common / bland.

My rating is a 7.5/10.

Food Junction – Tastes of Malaysia

If ya’ll didn’t know, today is the Malaysian National Day (Hari Kebangsaan), so I will post something Malaysian. 🙂

I found this place thanks to a friend of mine. We keep in touch in the strangest ways; random texts at odd times of the year but hardly meet up. He’s probably a better reviewer and writer than me. Anyway, this recommendation of his is quite a pleasant surprise. My first thoughts of Food Junction – it’s in friggin’ Manukau! That’s far!

Although far, the Food Junction is located at the Te Irirangi off ramp on SH1, very accessible if you think about it. It will take about 10-15 mins from the city. The Food Junction is a food court with a lot of a variety, but for this occassion, I am targetting the Malaysian store – Tastes of Malaysia. The first thing I spotted is the fresh roti they make – which is the second time I’ve seen (after the Sri Lankan place at East Tamaki).

Samples of some of their dishes below:

Tastes of Malaysia - Mamak Mee Goreng

Mamak Mee Goreng.

Tastes of Malaysia - Roti Telur

Roti Telur.

Tastes of Malaysia - Murtabak

Murtabak.

The Mamak Mee Goreng is pretty good, and costs $9.50 It’s… dare I say it, better than the one at Sri Puteri in Panmure. It’s not wet, but not dry – just right and flavoursome.

The roti is probably their “flagship” product – the roti telur costs $9.50 and the murtabak costs $10. Both rotis are great, but I preferred the roti telur as it is not “heavy”. The curry sauce was fantastic, with at least one drumstick in there.

My rating for this occassion is a favourable 9.5/10. I am definitely going back again!

Angie’s Kitchen

I got recommended to this place and heard lots of good things about it. Angie’s Kitchen is located very near to AUT in the CBD. Parking is quite a pain to find, but on the weekend it’s alright. The place is also a halal restaurant which is pretty good.

Samples below:

Angie's kitchen - Kapitan Curry Chicken on Rice - Copy

Kapitan Curry Chicken on Rice.

Angie's Kitchen - Braised Beef Noodle Soup - Copy

Braised Beef Noodle Soup.

Angie's Kitchen - Teh Tarik

Teh Tarik less sugar (with a free apricot biscotti).

Angie's Kitchen - Kopi O

Kopi  less sugar.

I thought the Kapitan Curry Chicken was very good, but the braised beef noodle was plain. The mistake was probably not selecting “traditional” Malaysian food, i.e. Nasi Lemak, Laksa or whatever.  The price of the food was above average, I don’t remember it being less than $10, so not a cheap option. The coffee and tea drinks didn’t taste that great.

My rating is average, 6.5/10. The pricing didn’t help.

Eat Asian Food Hall @ East Tamaki

The East Asian Food Hall is one of those noticeable food court when you go towards Botany Downs. It’s on the right hand side when going towards Botany Downs. Most of the shops in the food court are standard i.e. Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Vietnamese etc. But this one has a Sri Lankan shop which makes roti!

The Sri Lankan and Indian shops were sampled. Pictures below:

Eat Asian - Roti Delight

Roti Delight.

Eat Asian - Curry on Rice (2)

Lamb Madras on Rice.

The Sri Lankan Rotti Shop sells a range of roti and for Malaysians, it does feel quite at home.  The Indian shop is right next to it, but I can’t remember the name. Funnily enough, the Indian shop also sells kebabs.

The Roti Delight which was $8.50, came with some curry and had mutton filling. The Lamb Madras ($9.00) was not bad, the meat was tender. I have to admit, the standard is quite good. I wasn’t disappointed at all.

Usually I don’t give ratings if I can’t remember the price but for this occassion, overall they get an 8/10. Highly recommended, especially the Sri Lankan shop.

KK Malaysian Restaurant

I’ve got a love/hate relationship with this place.

KK restaurant is based on Manukau Road, quite close to Alexandra Park. It’s hard to spot unless you know the place. And most Malaysians know or heard of the place. From outside it looks small, and you won’t be wrong to assume that. It is damn tiny.

Anyway, it has been a while since I’ve been to this place, so decided to give it a try. At 12pm on a Saturday, I was surprised to find a seat immediately, but was placed in a round table sharing with two couples. It’s weird but food was the priority, not comfort. The conditions were cramp, so don’t expect plenty of breathing space at KK restaurant.

A sample of the dishes below:

KK Restaurant - Hainanese Chicken Rice 

Hainanese Chicken Rice.

KK Restaurant - Nasi Lemak with Beef Rendang 

Nasi Lemak with Beef Rendang – served on Nasi Kerabu.

The chicken rice was $10, and the nasi lemak was $12. Both looked and tasted good. I’d say the KK Nasi Lemak had a lot of appeal because of the blue coloured rice (my favourite colour). The beef rendang was moist and tender – same goes for the chicken. The chilli side dish was very nice. Price-wise, I thought it’s pretty fair for the quality.

The place has two problems though (1) space and (2) customer service/attitude. I guess space in any popular Asian restaurant has a proportional relationship to its quality of food.  So, this was no exception, it is good so it’s cramp. Fair enough. If you don’t like being cooped up, I’d recommend the takeaway.

However, the customer service and attitude is a bit bad. It’s probably the thing that irks me about KK restaurant. The last time I was here, there was an older lady (perhaps the owner) who would often give you the “look” if you didn’t order more than one dish per head, as if we owed that much to her. Similarly, now there is a lady there as well who gives the “look” probably for similar reasons. On this occassion, she gave the “look” to a customer who asked for her order to be taken after waiting for quite a while. So, I guess there’s a similar conclusion, get the takeaway if you can’t stand the attitude.

My rating is based on many criterias, the food being very tasty and reasonably priced. However, the attitude needs some serious improvement because they are in the hospitality industry (and they are Malaysians!). My rating is 7/10.

Selera

Another Malaysian place. I know. Boring. But why not? =)

I hardly go to Selera, which is situated in Newmarket (also near where I live). I was there about 10 months ago and I got pee-ed of with the “quality” of the food and price. But I’ve heard they’ve changed ownership and/or management. Some things that annoyed me previously was the crappy fatty left-overish char sieu they put on their kon low mee and the very MSG-ed laksa. I had to drink a bucket of water after that. That was before.

So during the weekend, I decided to have a look. Two dishes were sampled:

selera-kon-lo-mee

Kon Lo Mee.

selera-nasi-lemak-with-beef-rendang

Nasi Lemak.

After trying the two above dishes, I was pleasantly surprised. Although the price is still expensive (above $12), they have tried to reduce their price only for lunch during the weekdays ($8.90). The Kon Low Mee, flavoursome although still lacking substantial protein. The Nasi Lemak with Beef Rendang was tender and moist. I can’t complain, although price-wise it is high they have specials for the weekday.

My rating is 8.5/10. They do still have some work to do in terms of reducing their price. It’s just $2 more expensive (on average) compared to the nearest Malaysian restaurant (Laksa House at the Newmarket Food Plaza).

Do give Selera a try – only during weekdays for lunch. =)

Malaysian Noodle and Rice House

It’s been too friggin’ long. I know, it’s my fault. But I’m back.

My day starts at 9am to 7pm everyday since I returned from my holiday in Melbourne – that was early last month! So work is keeping me very busy.

Anyway, I was venturing out to the West and found this supposedly good Malaysian restaurant. In fact, I used to go there when I first arrived in Auckland. I lived in Blockhouse Bay about 3 years ago, and what I’ve noticed is that there is a fair number of Indians there.

This “cafe” is called the Malaysian Noodle and Rice House on Wolverton Street, Avondale. It’s in an industrial area, a strange place to put a Malaysian place but ideal for suburbanites. Two dishes ordered for this review:

malaysian-noodle-salted-fish-and-diced-chicken-fried-rice-copy

Fried Rice with Chicken and Salted Fish.

malaysian-noodle-char-kuey-teow-copy

Char Kueh Tiaw.

The price is not too bad. The fried rice is a bit on the high side, $10 and the Kueh Tiaw is 8.50. A good eat out especially the Kueh Tiaw, but not exactly the best tasting.

My rating as I am in a hurry (again!), 7.5/10. It’s not bad, but it’s not the best.

Sri Intan

My apologies for the long, long update. I have been pre-occupied with work. Yes, I do have a day job which I surprisingly enjoy. There are the odd weirdos at work, but not as bad as my previousy employer.

I am a bit shocked that it took me a month to update. Anyway, today’s post is a Malaysian place in Mt Albert called Sri Intan. If you know where Momo Tea is, it’s further down the road going towards West Auckland.

They have a mixed cuisine, personally, I’d say Chinese, Malaysian and Vietnamese. I only try their Malaysian stuff and they do have one unique dish, the popiah. A few dishes were sampled as shown below:

sri-intan-popiah-copy

Popiah.

sri-intan-salted-fish-and-diced-chicken-fried-rice-copy

Salted Fish and Diced Chicken Fried Rice.

sri-intan-mee-goreng-copy

Mee Goreng.

sri-intan-char-kuey-teow-copy

Char Kuey Teow.

Obviously the above dishes are generic Malaysian, sorry about that. Their service is great and friendly owners. Apparently, they now have a buffet. The fried rice was a bit wet but not bad, the other dishes tasted good. I would say the popiah is the dish to try, mainly because I haven’t seen much of them around. Their pricing for the dishes is above $10, I can’t remember exactly.

It’s kinda unfair to rate them since I totally forgot their exact pricing! But based on taste and environment, they get a generic mark of 7.5/10. I feel that their pricing is a bit on the high side, maybe because of the recession or something. But I can find Malaysian places that charge cheaper than them. Good to try out and let me know what you think.

Sri Pinang

Ever wondered if there’s anything good at all on K Road? Well, there is. I’ve always been quite afraid to go there after dark – for many reasons. When I was younger, it was no problem. Now I’m just old and afraid! =)

356 K Road is the place to be (click the link!). It’s near the bridge (not Grafton bridge) where all the bus stops. Sri Pinang is near some pubs and adult shops so it is in a strange place.

Sri Pinang is a small place, but the atmosphere is great. BYO is something they emphasise. Another thing, the host (not sure about her name) is very friendly. Usually, it pays to book, just to be safe.  For this occassion at Sri Pinang, we got a few interesting dishes as shown below:

sri-pinang-char-kuey-teow

Char Kuey Teow.

sri-pinang-sambal-eggplant

Sambal Eggplant.

sri-pinang-rendang-chicken

Rendang Chicken.

sri-pinang-pinang-curry-fish

Fish Curry.

All dishes are generally not too bad. I’d say the thing to try is the fish curry. It’s something I haven’t had for a while. I do have a feeling they cater for the Europeans because it’s not very spicy. Also by observation, it seems like the Lemon Chicken dish is a popular one. So you get the drift!

Price-wise, it hovers around $15-$20 per dish. So not bad for dinner. Not sure about their lunch menu.

My rating for this place is 7.5/10. It’s not authentic enough for me, but it does a good job in terms of service. I did see some very good reviews for this place and justifiably so, because of its location and target market.

Go have a try and see what you think.

Melaka Cafe

I ventured out to the Onehunga area to look for this elusive Melaka Cafe. There wasn’t any in Onehunga, so I decided to drive back home and passed by Royal Oak.

And guess what I happen to pass by – Melaka Cafe. It’s located very near to the Royal Oak Shopping Mall. I don’t know how to describe this mall, but it reminds me so much of the quiet, old-fashioned malls in Christchurch. I wasn’t quite sure if this was a great place to eat, so I roam around the area looking at other stuff. Apparently, there ‘s an authentic looking Chinese restaurant, called the Great Tong (I think).

Anyway, after aimlessly walking around the area, I decided to stick to this cafe. Their menu doesn’t come with pictures but it assumes the customer knows something about Malaysian food. Here’s a couple of dishes that was sampled.

melaka-cafe-chicken-rice-ball

Chicken Rice Ball.

melaka-cafe-seafood-laksa

Seafood Laksa.

In terms of pricing, the chicken rice ball is $11 and the seafood laksa is $12. The rice ball dish is quite a specialty, and should be the “thing” to try. In fact, there is another unique dish – the Lontong (I’m still not sure what it is but it’s apparently quite nice). I’ve tried the curry chicken + roti canai and bak kut teh with rice, both are  not bad. Everything there seems to be $11 for a single dish (lunch-ish type).

Overall, I can’t really complain but it is just another Malaysian restaurant. I would only recommend going to Melaka Cafe for the chicken rice balls and Lontong because it’s a special thing, otherwise you can really get the Malaysian/Chinese dishes somewhere else and for a much cheaper price.

My rating for this particular place, 7.5/10. They have some unique dishes, unlimited tea and a clean toilet. I do wish their prices was a little bit lower. Good to try once and after lunch, go for a walk in Royal Oak Mall to get a sense of nostalgia of how malls really used to look like!