Salero Kito Padang, Tivoli Arcade Shop, 18, 239 Bourke St, Melbourne. Phone: 039 571 3097
Tivoli Arcade is old-school CBD and to be cherished for that.
Over the years, a variety of cheap-eateries have come and gone.
Salero Kito Padang’s current competition includes places of the Vietnamese, Indonesian and Nepalese varieties.
These premises were long inhabited by a Malay/Chinese joint called – IIRC – Chatterbox that I used to be happy to visit for perfectly fine chicken rice and the like.
This is my first chance to check out the new, West Sumatran configuration.
Most of the food is displayed in a bain marie and doesn’t appear particularly inspiring.
The menu includes jackfruit curry (maybe next time) and deep-fried ox lung (nope).
Nor does my plate of three choices with rice for $13 lead to wild excitement and high hopes.
Which just goes to show that one should never judge just about anything on appearances and first impressions, let alone on relative swishness of decor.
Because this is the best South-East Asian meal I’ve had in a long while.
For starters, what appear to meager servings of my three choices turn out to be more than plentiful enough to fill me up and make the $13 price seem something of a bargain.
The beef rendang is good-dry, tangy, chewy and free of fat.
The spicy eggplant has that very excellent silky thing going on and tastes heavenly. It’s not particularly spicy apart from the red-hot chilli mash, an extra dollop of which I am dished up from a choice of about five condiments.
The gratifyingly meaty bone-on chicken thigh is part of a mild chook curry that is nevertheless delicious.
Of the few dishes prepared to order, I see great love and care being accorded serves of a lurid yellow laksa.
That’s for me next time!