There is an odd-looking place on Parnell Road called Thai Friends. I say odd because it doesn’t exactly look like a big place at all when you pass by. I always thought it was a bit strange for them to run a business with tables and chairs (about a handful) outside. Little did I know that they had more room/space at the back! But that’s probably reserved for dinner.
I decided to try out this place for lunch after a long day at looking for overpriced property around the area. Also, they’ve got awards and stuff like that. So I wanted to see what the big fuss was about. Initial observation of the menu will definitely give you a heart attack. It’s really odd, of all the Asian cuisine, Thai and Indian are always overly priced comparatively. Why is that?
Anyway, thank goodness they had a “Special Lunch Menu”. Two dishes were sampled as shown below:
Thai Hot Green Curry Chicken.
Thai Style Seafood Laksa.
The chicken green curry is a traditional, all-time favourite and it costs about $13.50. It’s not bad. The Thai style seafood laksa was a unique one. I thought the laksa was very good. The seafood is quite fresh and the flavour of the laksa soup was delicious. For $17.50, I thought it was worth it. Of all the laksas I’ve forced myself to try, this was the best (I’m usually not a big fan of laksa). It’s not full of MSG, and the seafood is real seafood. It’s not frozen seafood like fishballs, fishcakes, surimi, etc.
Based on the two above dish, I thought Thai Friends is worth a try, for lunch that is. I am not sure about dinner. It may be a bit overpriced, especially during this difficult economic time. My rating, 9/10.
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:
Kon Lo Mee.
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. =)
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.
Chicken Rice Ball.
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!