Happy Hour

It surprises me places like Happy Hour exists. It’s located in a building that looks like a trailer, the door slides funny and there’s no toilet. But I have to admit, the food is top notch. I got recommended this place by a work colleague (and now friend). It’s exact address is 947 New North Road. I’ve been here many times, and here are some of the samples:

Steam Chicken with Chinese Mushroom on Rice (Small Size = $8.50).

Happy Hour – Steam Chicken with Red Dates and Kei Chee on Rice (Big Size = $10.50).

Steam Pork Spare Ribs with Black Bean Sauce on Rice (Big Size = $10.00).

Crispy Chicken.

Tofu Dessert (Small Size = $3.00).

Stew Long Yan, Red Date and Egg with Rock Sugar ($6.00).

Tofu Dessert ($4.00).

To be honest, I think Happy Hour’s prices are fantastically value for money, and taste wise it’s great. There are so many options from steam chicken and pork dishes to desserts and snacks. The service is great, in fact, I believe they serve the tea quite quickly. Parking is quite easy to find. It’d be great if you can speak Chinese, but don’t be intimidated, they have an English menu (with pictures), it’s just unfortunate the specials are in Chinese. =)

I quite like the place, and recently, have been a regular visitor. My rating 9/10.

 

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Momo Tea House

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Meadowlands. Maybe my behaviour is now different after not having a company car =). But thanks to a good friend, I’ve paid a visit to this place by recommendation – Momo Tea House. There’s obviously a couple branches, Birkenhead and Mt Albert.

This one at Meadowlands is a former KFC I believe, and it’s got a defunct drive-thru. Parking is easy and free, and environment of the place is great. Maybe it was good old furniture from KFC?

Anyway, I sampled some dishes, see below:

Fried Black Pepper Chicken Chop and Eel on Rice ($12).

Spicy Wonton Noodle Soup ($6).

Deep Fried Salty Chicken ($7).

Taro Pearl Milk Tea ($6).

Overall, food’s taste is great, no disappointment at all. The prices are very reasonable. There is a variety of food and drink (I think there’s a Malaysian section). Also, the place opens very late, I am not sure what time, but from what I remember, after midnight!! So a great place for supper.

Rating = 9/10. Fantastic!

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.

Saigonz


Finally, another decent Vietnamese restaurant in town. Saigonz is apparently a new Vietnamese restaurant on Beach Road. It’s quite near Foodtown, but parking is difficult to find like any place in the city. I think the place caters for the nearby businesses and residents. Just by initially looking at the place, which is small with only a few tables and with their dishes served in plastic bowls. Their menu is small, which makes decision making somewhat easier. They have a website, and  even an 0800 number (0800 SAIGONZ).

Anyway, the dishes sampled are shown below:

Saigonz - Beef Pho 

Beef Pho.

Saigonz - Lemon Grass Chicken Rice 

Lemon Grass Chicken on Rice.

Saigonz - Lemon Grass Chicken Curry 

Lemon Grass Chicken Curry.

Saigonz - Pork & Prawn Summer Rolls 

Pork and Prawn Summer Rolls.

 All of the above dishes cost $9.50, except the rolls, which cost $7.00.  I have to admit, all the dishes tasted great! The only niggle is the plastic dishes they were served in. A bit too takeaway-ish for me, but I guess that’s what the business is catered/designed for. I was hoping the rolls would be cheaper, perhaps like $4 or $5. Perhaps we need more Vietnamese immigrants like Melbourne. =)

My rating is a very favourable 9/10. It’s something new, the flavours and pricing do not disappoint. The rolls could be cheaper but I guess they’re one of two Vietnamese restaurants in town.

Food Alley

The Food Alley. Yes, yes, yes.

I’ve always wanted to try this place. But I couldn’t be bothered because parking is extremely difficult to find and they have too many choices. Perhaps that’s why they’ve won the Best Cheap Eats last year – lots of competition for pricing and better tasting food.

Food Alley is on Albert Street, more towards downtown. There were many places that I sampled. Some of them are as below:

Chicks

chicken-rice

Chicken Rice Large.

Chicks is serving purely chicken dishes. The above dish is $9 and it’s not bad. I thought the soup was a bit luke warm. Most of their dishes is below $10 which is good for those cheapos like me. However, overall it did not impress me.

Waroeng Wardani Indonesian Food 

waroeng-wardani-indonesian-food-seafood-balado2

Seafood Balado.

food-alley-chicks-oxtail-soup-on-rice

Ox Tail Soup on Rice.

Both dishes were $11 each. I thought the Balado was quite good. The seafood was the “fake” seafood, so perhaps my next try would be chicken or something. The Ox Tail is unique. Overall, not bad. Something I’d try again. There isn’t a lot of Indonesian places around.

Umaiya Japanese Cuisine

food-alley-umaiya-jap-cuisine-chicken-bento

Chicken Bento.

The above was $10.50 and it had a lot of stuff. I thought it was a good dish and damn good value for money. It’s definitely worth a try for a value meal. But Japanese food tends to be the same all the time, so it wasn’t very exciting. 

I can’t exactly give a rating for this place – it’s a bit unfair since I haven’t tried everything else. There is definitely a lot of choices, and each with their own strength and weaknesses. I’d say try the Indonesian place which is right at the back of the food court.

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!

Penang Cafe

It has been a while, and I thought it’s about time to post.

I knew about Penang Cafe from my previous job – it was close to the old office. Penang Cafe is located in Otahuhu, not exactly the ideal place to live (and park your car). But they do have some reasonably good food outlets like Vietnam Cafe, a food court etc. So, when you go to Otahuhu, take the lousy car and make sure your third party fire & theft car insurance is up to date. =)

I visited Penang Cafe for lunch as I was in the area. I was actually looking for a bike somewhere along Great South Road. Anyway, two dishes were ordered that particular day, the Wat Tan Hor and honey garlic chicken rice. Pictures below.

penang-cafe-lunch-menu-wat-tan-hor

Wat Tan Hor.

penang-cafe-lunch-menu-honey-garlic-chicken-rice

Honey Garlic Chicken Rice.

The Penang Cafe menu is quite easy to figure out. They had two sides, one side is the lunch menu and the other side was the dinner menu. There were some pictures outside for those that might struggle to decide. One thing you’ll immediately notice – almost all the lunch dishes were around $7.50!!! The Wat Tan Hor was $7, and the honey garlic chicken rice was $7.50. They had other dishes like Hainanese chicken rice, curry chicken rice etc. Just for the price alone, it’s shockingly below market price. But don’t get your hopes high, their dishes are generally smaller than other places. It’s not ridiculously small, but it’s still worth it! Perhaps go there and see for yourself.

As usual, I was being a busybody and it seems like the Hainese chicken rice was the most popular. It looked good as well. The Wat Tan Hor was extremely good value for money – delicious and cheap. The honey garlic chicken rice was not bad, but there was hardly any “meat”, in fact it was more like deep fried boned meat pieces. But I couldn’t complain. It’s only $7.50 and it didn’t taste bad. Probably should have picked the Hainanese chicken rice.

Impressed with the lunch menu, I decided to come over to Penang Cafe for dinner! Several dishes were ordered as shown below.

penang-cafe-stew-duck-on-special-sauce

Braised Duck on Special Sauce.

Pepper Pork Chop.

Minced Pork on Sizzling Tofu.

Hainanese Half Chicken.

There were actually five dishes ordered for dinner, missed out on the picture of the vegetable (which was Kangkong Belacan). Penang Cafe served us “chicken rice” that means the yellow, fragrant rice which was pretty good. I loved the tofu which was $18 and the Hainanese chicken $15. The pork chop and braised duck was not bad, for $20 and $24 respectively. No complains at all.

The environment is not “posh” but clean, and Otahuhu isn’t exactly Remuera. For the price of the dishes and its variety, I think it’s definitely worth a try especially for a lunch outing. Like I said, check your car insurance and maybe bring a steering wheel lock.

My rating, an 8.5/10. Extremely cheap lunch and great variety, however, pity about the location!