I had begun to worry that all my reviews were positive. A bit like Homer Simpson when he first embarks on a (short-lived) career as a food critic. His love of all food means the whole town of Springfield overeat, everywhere and everything.
Homer: Oh, I like food alright …
(sings) I like pizza, I like bagels,
I like hot dogs with mustard and beer
I’ll eat eggplant,
I could even eat a baby deer
I was almost looking forward to a dodgy meal so I could be a real critic. So when I spotted Old Town Kopitiam while walking through Chinatown on Little Bourke St, I was delighted to note the low percentage of people who “like it” on Urbanspoon. (At the time it was just 45%!) Hurrah! At last a restaurant I might have to say negative things about. It wasn’t BYO (what’s with that, Melbourne?) but we could at least buy a decent enough bottle of McWilliams sem-sav blanc for just $18.
We got two Malaysian classics – roti canai to start ($4), then char kway teow ($9.90) and nasi lemak with beef rendang ($9.90). Great choices! The roti was delicious, perfectly flaky yet chewy, hot and not too oily. The sticky, chilli sambal was dark and intense; the rich curry sauce added from one of the bain maries in their takeaway section and so had the well-developed flavours which you can only get from a long time at low heat.
Yum! We were beginning to wish we’d got more roti, but then our mains arrived. My char kway teow was hot, slightly sweet and smoky with lap cheong (delicious sweet chinese sausage) and the salty goodness of belachan (shrimp paste). As traditional in Northern parts of Malaysia, it was made with thin rice noodles (although I think I prefer the softer, more velvety wide noodles myself).
Mr Black was so impressed with his nasi lemak with beef rendang he made Homer Simpson faces.
The rendang was the best I’d had since Enak in Kuala Lumpur. Seriously.
Plus all the sides were fresh and delicious (with more of the lovely sambal yay!). I wish we’d had time to try their sago gula melaka but unfortunately it was well past their closing time and even though they had been patient and polite about it, I guessed that they wanted to go home. So we paid the bill – I’ve posted a photo of it below it was so impressive – and strolled out feeling far more satisfied than we’d expected.
So there goes my opportunity to write a bad review. D’oh!!
“Homer: This gets my lowest rating ever. Seven thumbs up.”