A couple of times a month, various affairs draw me into the CBD.
Whatever the business at hand, the city adventure always seems something of a failure unless I manage to secure a beaut lunch.
Which is pretty bloody silly, as the CBD is by no means familiar to me these days – particularly Elizabeth Street, where I invariably end up searching and eating.
It’s all a bit of a lottery, really.
And it’s got both easier and harder because the number of cheap Asian eateries on Elizabeth, roughly between Bourke and Abeckett, seems to have doubled or more in the past year or so.
Anyway, this year I’ve endured some truly rubbish meals in the area.
But today I get lucky and have a fine lunch.
Old Town White Coffee (303 Elizabeth Street) – I don’t stick around long enough to find out the cultural and/or food history of the name – is smartly done out, as are the staff.
The patrons – the place is busy but not hyper so – appear to be enjoying what look like fine Malaysian-based meals.
The menu is quite extensive and features many familiar dishes, but here they are packaged in rather imaginative ways.
I don’t even get through the longish list before making my choice – Old Town Fried Chicken Beriani ($14.90).
It’s very enjoyable.
The papadums are crisp and unoily.
The achaar is most splendid – I wish there was more of it!
The rice is indeed redolent, in an enjoyably vague sort of way, of the Indian rice classic from which my lunch draws its inspiration.
The curry has spud pieces and the gravy/sauce is very heavily perfumed with cardamom.
The two chicken pieces look over-cooked and tied, but are juicy, meaty and fine.
For sure, I’ll happily return here on my next CBD foray to explore the menu further.
However, a word of warning:
Old Town is one of the starker examples I have come across of the menu photos really, really not matching what is served.
Check out the above photo – pictured is the beef rendang version of my chicken-based lunch.
Notice the difference?