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:

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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. =)

Kiraku Japanese Restaurant

If you ever wanted a very light meal in town but in a cramp condition – try Kiraku. It’s located on Elliott Street, near the Atrium on Eliott. The selection is pretty good and friendly staff. Some dishes sampled are shown below:

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Teriyaki Chicken Ramen.

  copy-of-kiraku-pork-gyoza

Pork Gyoza.

copy-of-kiraku-jap-curry-on-rice

Japanese Curry Chicken on Rice.

The first two dishes came as a combo for $14.50. The curry chicken rice is $10. I quite like it even though there isn’t much “material” i.e. light. As for taste, it’s good. My rating is 8/10.

A good place for a quick and light meal.

Vietnam Cafe

Lately for the past several months, I’ve been trying to find alternative Vietnamese restaurants. And yes, there is one in Otahuhu called the Vietnam Cafe. I used to know the place because it was near my old work place (Mt Wellington). Ah, those were the days.

Vietnam Cafe is quite easy to spot, it’s off Atkinson Ave. It’s pretty much the route you’d use if you’re coming from Mt Wellington towards Otahuhu, or taking the Princess St offramp.  The parking is harder to spot because it’s at the back. You’d spot the cafe, but most likely miss the turn for the carpark!

The place generally looks dodgy because of the car park. And it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s owned by Vietnamese. You be the judge. =)

A few dishes were sampled as shown below:

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Combination Noodle Soup.

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Vietnamese Noodle.

vietnam-cafe-curry-chicken-on-rice-noodle-copy

Curry Chicken on Rice Noodle.

vietnam-cafe-traffic-light-copy1

Traffic Light.

I’d say the best dish to try is the combination noodle soup.  The rest are OK. I even tried the “Traffic Light” drink which was somewhat disappointing. The dishes are cheap though, $10 for the curry chicken on rice noodle and vietnamese noodle. The combination noodle is $12. Traffic Light is $3.50.

Personally, if you do go there, just get the combination noodle soup. It’s not bad. The rest you’d have to cross your fingers. I found the curry chicken rice noodle a bit plain. The drink was also a bit plain. However, one thing I notice is the fried spring rolls which “looked” good.

My rating is 7/10. Good enough for me because of one dish. Perhaps they forgot to add MSG on my curry chicken. =) 

On another note, I believe there is another Vietnamese place opening very soon on Beach Road (near Foodtown/China Restaurant). Can someone confirm this? I’m interested to find out if it’s already open, or going to open. I knew about it because they sold a damn good Pho (noodle soup) during the Lantern festival.

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:

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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.

Halong Vietnamese Restaurant

I don’t often venture out to the west, so this a rare one. For now, as far west I can go is New Lynn. Yeah I know, that’s pathetic. As I was passing by the New Lynn mall, I noticed an out-of-place restaurant called the Halong Vietnamese Restaurant. So, I decided to try the place, mainly because I couldn’t find this other place.

Anyway, this restaurant is kinda secluded and clearly doesn’t look like a Vietnamese place. But it does try hard. Once I heard the kitchen staff spoke Mandarin, I knew it was owned or managed by Chinese. Similar to Hansan and the Vietnamese Cafe. Anyway, tried two dishes shown below.

halong-vietnamese-lemon-grass-chicken-and-roast-pork-slices-on-rice-copy

Lemon Grass Chicken and Roast Pork Slices on Rice.

halong-vietnamese-beef-noodle-soup-copy

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup.

Both dishes were cheap, $10 or below. I think the noodle soup was about $8 or something. The noodle soup wasn’t too bad, but the rice dish was average. There’s nothing much I could say about the place except that it’s probably somewhere you’d go just to eat. There is nothing special but it is affordable.

My rating for the place is 7/10. No complains – just average!

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:

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Popiah.

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Salted Fish and Diced Chicken Fried Rice.

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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.

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.

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Chicken Rice Ball.

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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!

Mentatz

By now you’ve probably figured out that I “hang out” in town. Yes, very true, mainly because I work smack in the middle of the city, unlike my previous job.

Anyway, tried Mentatz, which is another Japanese ramen-ish place located in Lorne Street. It’s somewhere near Esquires. To be honest, my first few times here was average. I think because I tried to be adventurous and chose the non-standard ramen. On this particular occassion, we chose the basics – Shoyu Ramen (the 1st choice) and Katsudon. Both for under $10 (I believe.) Bah, it’s cheap anyway.

Picture below:

Katsu Don.

Shoyu Ramen.

Personally, these two dishes above are fantastic. Tasted great and it’s frickin’ cheap. I guess the only negative part is that it can be quite busy. I don’t really have much to say but to rate it 9/10.  A cheap eat after work or uni. =)

Also, right at the end of Lorne Street is a Korean pan cake shop. Here is a link with more pictures. I tried the cheese pancake before for $3 and it tasted great. It’s like pizza! They have a ham and cheese as well. I am not too sure about the chicken/beef ones. But you can tell it’s popular, there’s always a line!

Newmarket Plaza Food Court

This is the infamous Newmarket Plaza Food Court (and a massive post). I know, I’m probably boring everyone with the same old type of food and “area”. But don’t worry, I am working on going to the outskirts of Auckland very soon – seriously! But this post will have variety as I have collected a few things for everyone to see. If you’re one of those people working in Newmarket on weekdays, or those who shop there during the weekend, maybe this post will help with your barrier of resistance when pondering into the land of the unknown – that is the Newmarket Plaza Food Court.

Personally, foodcourts tend to confuse potential customers with billions of choices at affordable prices. At times, I really hate it. It drives me crazy. And also, how do these places come up with all these ideas and fit so many pictures in one menu. But, rest assure, Newmarket Plaza is a milder version. There is no overkill of choices, still plenty but not unreasonable like some places *ahem* CBD *ahem*.

LAKSA HOUSE

This is a Malaysian place – two things tend to be quite popular here. The Hainanese Chicken Rice and Hokkien Mee (based on observation). I’ve tried the chicken rice and it’s fantastic. I haven’t tried the Hokkien mee yet. Occassionally I try the other stuff, for example, the Kueh Tieu Mee shown below. This dish costs me $9.50 I believe.

Kueh Tieu Mee.

Personally, I would recommend the chicken rice, and the rice noodle dishes i.e. kueh tieu mee, wat tan hor and char kueh tieu. They’ve also got curry chicken on rice and curry laksa noodle soup, but I haven’t tried them in a while. My rating? Based on the recent dishes I had here – it’s an 8/10. It’s very nice and you’d expect to pay $10.

PASSION FOOD

This place has a Hong Kong flair to it – dead poultry hanging for all to see. It’s hard to notice this place because they are the odd one out, hiding in the corner on the way to the toilet. One thing you have to try is the combination rice. You’re thinking *yawn* combo rice again!? But hey, I love that stuff.  Remember that it’s not listed in the menu (only one meat with rice is listed). But just ask for it i.e. a two combo rice. Not surprisingly, my favourite is the BBQ pork and soya chicken. For this post, I tried the roast duck and soya chicken. Again, a fantastic combo and it’s cheap! Around $10 only.

Combination Rice (Roast Duck and Soya Chicken).

Hard to rate this place. It may be difficult to eat the meat dishes because of the bones etc. But there is no complaints from my side. The standard rating, 8/10. You ain’t gonna be disappointed. If so, let me know!

NEW VILLAGE KOREAN FOOD

You can’t go wrong with Spicy Pork on Rice at this Korean place. $10 is the price you pay for most of the dish, and it usually comes with three side dishes and a soup. Magnifique! On a different occassion, we bought two dishes (BBQ Chicken and Dolsot Bibimbap), and they gave 5 different side dishes! That’s generous!!

Spicy Pork with Rice.

Dolsot Bibimbap

BBQ Chicken with Rice

New Village rocks because of their generosity. The bibimbap and bbq dishes are my recommendations. The serving size is also large. My rating for this place is 9/10. It’s got flavour, variety and all for $10 (usually).

SILK THAI

I have almost no recollection of this dish but it’s that Thai place. It’s not particularly popular for some reason. Maybe because they’re not noisy enough and don’t have big flames in the kitchen. I’ve tried one of their curry dish below, I think it’s mango curry or something. Silk Thai has come a long way, about a year ago, they were severely lacking in appeal. I think they probably got a marketing guy to help them out and I think it helps. They’ve got pictures now and the food looks good.

Unknown Curry Dish.

From memory, the curry dish is reasonable (curry soup didn’t look “curry-ish” enough, as if they put lots of cornflour). Other than that, no issue whatsoever. Also, I’ve tried the satay chicken before, and it’s what I would recommend as a side dish. Price wise, I have almost no recollection.

A rating would be unfair as I only have one single dish reviewed, and I don’t even know the name of it. But, Silk Thai offers an alternative to its high-performing neighbours (New Village, Passion Food and Laksa House). Thai always seems to be a “Kiwi” favourite and perhaps they’re taking advantage of it.

BAR IN THE CAFE

I had a post about this place a couple of months ago – just for one drink! The Asian Coffee is highly recommended by me.  Seriously, don’t buy those sugary bottled drinks, try the fresh sugary coffee instead. If it’s too hot, get the iced version – the Iced Asian Coffee is only $4. It’s like the funky Asian version of the Starbucks Frappuccino.

Iced Asian Coffee.

If you want to rate this place, it’s hard. For bottled drinks, it’s not worth rating. For desserts, I’ve never tried it. For the fresh coffee, damn good! 9/10!

My friends, overall this is my pathetic attempt to do a bundled “foodcourt” review. It’s hard because I can’t seem to remember prices and things like that – so prefer one off visits. But if you have comments, please feel free to make them!

The Newmarket Plaza – it has variety, it is affordable and depending on which dish you choose, you can get a fantastic meal (and drink).

Lai Lai Noodle Cafe

This place is kinda cool. Lai Lai Noodle Cafe is a tiny place hidden among the shops in Remuera. To be exact, it’s right inside Remuera Mall. If you know where the Remuera shops are, it’s on the right hand side coming from Newmarket. I guess the first mission is to find it.

I’ve been to Lai Lai Noodle Cafe many times, often for lunch. It’s quite a refreshing place, especially the noodle soups. Apparently, it’s an establishment, as it is owned by the same person for 11 years (I read this somewhere). So, it’s got history, plus I think the owner is some martial arts expert!

On this particular review, there were two dishes we tried as seen below.

Minced Pork on Noodle.

Hainanese Chicken Rice.

Both dishes were affordable and delicious. I couldn’t remember the exact price but I think the Hainanese Chicken Rice was $9 and the noodle was $7. However, the thing that bugs me is that they have no Eftpos – so you need to bring cash. Also, they close on one of the days during the weekend, which sucks as well.

They also offer other dishes like fried chicken with noodle soup, beef noodle soup etc, as well as side dishes. For a small place, it’s pretty outstanding and I think the reason why it’s still there for 11 years. Personally, I recommend the noodle soup. If you’re on a diet, stay away from the fried dishes.

My rating for this place, a cool 8.5/10. You gotta find the place first though. Good luck!

T Mark

I have great things to say about this place. T Mark is located upstairs, above their chinese supermarket in Newmarket. If you know where East in Newmarket is, then T Mark is right opposite it. I know East (and Wagamama) has a neo-oriental arrangement but I think it’s not authentic enough. You must go for the real thing, the root of it all. There are so many places out there, so get out of your comfort zone! Plus, they’re much cheaper and more delicious!!!

The ladies behind the counters are polite and friendly, even in English (they would speak mainly Chinese Mandarin). T Mark has the home-cooked feel, and personally the soup noodle dishes are great. I’d recommend the fishballs ($6) as an entre or for sharing. They also have a fast food section which I call mixed rice, and those are flavoursome. You get 3 choices for that option. The ones that I usually go for are the herbal-ish noodle soups. The chicken noodle in sesame oil or the lamb soup is great for winter. I have got some pictures below.

Mixed rice – Simmering pork on rice.

Herbal lamb noodle soup.

Oh, the best thing about this place is the parking. It’s free as long as you eat and shop at T-mark. The soup dishes would cost around $10, and the rice dish is about $9. Overall, it’s good value for money and it’s great tasting. If you really can’t make a decision when you’re at T Mark, try the beef noodle soup! I’ll give this place a 9/10. The price is right and they never seem to get it wrong – plus parking is easy.

Boon Thai

Mediocrity. This is how I would describe this place. Boon Thai is located at the Rialto Newmarket food court. It was a random winter afternoon and we decided that Thai food would warm us up. The pictures looked great but in reality, it was average. We ordered the Tom Yum noodle soup and Basil chicken on rice. The portion is small for the price they were charging, and furthermore, the MSG is just a tad too much for me.

Tom Yum noodle soup.

Basil chicken on rice.

The Tom Yum noodle soup uses the instant noodle, which was fine because I’ve tasted a Korean version and it was great. I thought they were going to use authentic Tom Yum soup, I doubt it because it tasted like the Yum Yum instant noodle flavour. It probably was because the noodle was awfully similar to it. Portion was small, flavour was OK and price is not right ($10). I could have done this myself and did a better job, and for less than $10.

The basil chicken on rice wasn’t too bad. It was, in my honest opinion, average. Anyone can cook it, they just used basil leaves to flavour it up. Chicken portion was little, price was OK ($9) and it was salty.

Overall, not a place I’d recommend. If you want Thai food in Newmarket, I would suggest going to the Asian foodcourt underneath the Rialto carpark, otherwise if you really don’t want to move within the Rialto foodcourt, try Nandors, Subway or Fuku Sushi. Those are safer choice and “value for money”. I will give this place a 4/10. This is a combination of its mediocre taste offering and pricing – you can’t win ’em all.

On a side note: Fuku Sushi’s cheapest ‘piece’ is now $1.20. Urgh!