CC – it’s pretty darn good

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CCWok, 464 Victoria Street, North Melbourne. Phone: 0468 783 168

We remember it well – our first visit to CCWok in North Melbourne.

The personnel involved were Kenny, Bennie and Nat – a formidable and regular trio.

The meal included, IIRC, chicken curry mee, nasi lemak and one involving roast pork.

But despite us having a swell time, I cannot – despite several searches – find any record of a subsequent blog post or even photos on my desktop.

Nope; it just didn’t happen.

Possibly it got lost in the rather giddy times between lockdowns or some such.

Or, more likely, the photos and reaction to that meal were “saved up” to be added to those of a subsequent visit.

Ah well, too late now.

But here we are again – just father and some this time, our Saturday lunch venue the latter’s winning suggestion.

Because during and after another splendid meal, we happily conclude that CCWok is right up there among our very favourite Malaysian places.

We enjoy our meals very much and ogle with envy many of those we see around us.

The corner restaurant is roomy and always bustling – or so it appears to me; this is, in fact, my third visit.

And here’s a real neat thing – each time the place has been very busy, but there’s always been a table for us.

The mains prices mostly fall in the $15 to $20 range; the serves are big, the service happy and the delivery prompt.

Bennie delights in his kon lou mee hoon ($17.80) and its multiple flavours and textures.

The soy carbiness of the skinny noodles is offset by bean sprouts and wonton pastry chips, with a soy hard-boiled egg, lard croutons and pickled chillies also arrayed around.

The roast pork – the main drawcard for him – is very nice and quite unlike that usually found in Chinese eateries.

For me it’s one of the weekend specials – the CCWok variation on the banana leaf theme ($23.90).

With one caveat, it’s a fantastic meal – and again it’s the contrasting textures and flavours responsible for a high pleasure rating.

The crispy wafer appears to be house-made. A Malaysian version of a papadum?

The green beans and a couple of luscious eggplant cubes are fine, the okra even better. The latter achieves the neat trick of being al dente outside and having inside just the right quotient of characteristic slime. Yum!

The deep-fried mackerel flakes away nicely; the apparent pervasive bones factor proves no barrier to ease of eating.

The curry gravy with the four plumps prawns is also very tasty.

The shellfish themselves peel with ease – but, sad to say, are pretty much completely tasteless.

Still, it’s a fine thing in the ongoing story of our banana leaf explorations.

CCWok offers also a range of snacky things and dumplings.

We try just one as we await our mains – one of Bennie’s very favourite things.

The BBQ pork bun ($4.50) is state-of-the-art good – fluffy and fresh, the stuffing sweet and sticky.

It’s been grand – and it’s highly likely we’ll be back quite a bit sooner than later.

Check out the CCWok menu here.

Leaf it alone? No way!

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D Roti King, 290 Ballarat Road, Braybrook. Phone: 8528 0064

Our Saturday banana leaf lunch at D Roti King is among the very best such meals we’ve enjoyed.

Perhaps even the very best.


Well, for time being at least that’s only day of the week the joint’s banana leaf meals are available.

Want to check it out some other time of the week?

No problem – a couple of other offerings are discussed below and the entire menu is down there somewhere, too.

Based on the evidence of our two superbly yummy visits thus far, we reckon there’s a very good chance anything you order here will be terrific.

The basic veg banana leaf meal costs $14.90.

Only the rice, dried chillies, pickle and some deep-fried bitter melon rings sit atop the banana leaf, with the rest of the meal’s bits arrayed around thali-style.

Clockwise from bottom left, they are …

A fine spud-studded dal.


Raita filled with more chunky bits (cucumber, carrot, onion) than is customary in such settings.

Chick peas, also with potato chunks.

Greens with tofu.

A luscious eggplant concoction.

Everything is very good or better, though the chick peas could do with some more heating.

The outright star?

The eggplant – it’s sweet, unctuous and completely wonderful.

And, yep, there’s papadums as well.

The basic banana leaf meal is very generous – in quantity as well as quality.

Really, it stands as a fine meal in it’s own right.

But curry add-ons are available for $7 to $9.

Of course we go for it!

Our selections – from left, chicken 65, chicken varuval and lamb curry – are all exemplary in their tastiness and ingredient quality.


A little less than a week earlier, we’d enjoyed some of D Roti King’s other fare.

Oh boy, we do great.

Bennie’s nasi lemak with fried chicken ($14) has all the necessary bits and pieces and hits the spot nicely.

My roti/curry combo costs $15 and is stupendous.

Chicken curry is swell. Three pieces on the bone, the meat falling away easily.

Dal/gravy beside them.

And two rotis – hot, moist, perfect.

D Roti King is a cheerful, bright, clean space to spend some time and we found the staff smiling and on the ball.

Myth lustre


Myth Cafe, 48 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne. Phone: 0460 659 400

Journeying to Myth Cafe – for the first of two visits – we muse about its location.

West Melbourne? Qualifies as western suburbs under our always rubbery definition!

West Melbourne? Kinda handy to our inner-west home, actually – a nifty, sweet drive that is easier to navigate than, say, St Albans or Werribee.

West Melbourne? Close to North Melbourne shops and Victoria Market, but not a part of either; just sort of a small nowhere it seems to us.

So despite the ease of our journey, we wonder: Why?

We soon find out.

Myth Cafe is located in shop-level premises of a modern apartment block. There are others like it nearby, as well as many cool houses, many of two levels, of the type so prevalent in the residential areas that fringe Melbourne’s CBD.

Moreover, this housing – and local workplaces – seem to provide a handsome supply of Myth Cafe customers.

For good reason – the Myth Cafe food is excellent. It is very affordable. It’s a small and newish operation that is destined to soar and is already garnering many hot google reviews.

Out advice: Get in before the hordes respond to inevitable coverage in Broadsheet, Timeout or similar.

Delivering Malaysian food, Myth Cafe is still in the process of marshalling its resources.

So far, this means its specialty – yong tau foo, “a very Chinese (Hakka) dish common in Malaysia” (thanks to a knowledgeable friend for insights on the food here!) – is served up during the week, with a small range of broader and more diverse dishes available on Sundays.

But sometimes on other days, too! It’s a changeable situation.

More advice: Lock into Myth Cafe’s FB page, on which its crew regularly updates what’s what and what’s to be got.

Yong tau foo? Ha! We’re very cool with that, having enjoyed it quite a few times at M Yong Tofu in Flemington and a few other places, too.

Bennie enjoys the chee cheung fun premium ($17.50), with the various surimi-style stuffed items surrounding wide noodles bathing a tangy bean paste-based sauce.

For me, it’s the same yong tau foo with curry noodles ($15.80) – it, too, is most excellent!

Predictably, we both enjoy the luscious stuffed eggplant the most, but all the yong tau foo is superb.

The great thing about it here is that despite all being made from the same base ingredients of smashed pork/fish/tofu, each piece/variety seems to have a different texture and even flavour.

Cooking smarts in abundance!

On our follow-up visit, we respond to FB notification that two of the Sunday specials will be available to us as week-day lunches!


Stonking good they are, too!

My khao jam ($17) is a marvel of flavour and texture – it’s a sort of rice-based salad plate!

It’s served with fried chicken, salted egg (very, very, very salty!), fish crackers and various kinds of sublime crunchiness.

Bennie’s nasi kak wok ($15) is less flamboyant, but no less enjoyable.

Chicken curry and marinated fried chicken are accompanied by steamed rice and accesssories.

He particularly enjoys the marinated chicken.

And not for the first time, we muse that when it comes to fried chicken of various kinds, countries that start with the letters M and J generally have it all over those that start with US!

Malaysian heights delight



Orange Hat Cafe, 16 Harrington Square, Altona. Phone: 0433 264 887

We reckon it’s pretty cool to see life – and food – blooming at Harrington Square, and Orange Hat Cafe is right in the thick of it.

We have visited previously.

But that was pre-winter, pre-lockdown – and subsequently seems a long time ago.

So, inevitably, I end up asking the same questions again.

Or more precisely, inquiring exactly what kind of food does Orange Hat serve?

The answer is Malaysian. With a hint of Singaporean. And a flourish of Indian – especially with a new chef on board, one with an Indian family background.

As well, some of the staff members wear hijabs, so of course the food here is halal.

So I figure Orange Hat is something of a halal twin for another of our favourite places, Panjali in Sunshine, where the food is likewise Malaysian, but the spiritual flavour is Hindu.

Not that any of this matters, really, but I do like to get such things right.

And besides, the most important things about Orange Hat are the following – the welcome is toasty warm, the smiles wide and the food very, very good.

If we lived in Altona, or anywhere near it, we’d be here once a week.

At LEAST once a week.

Orange Hat Cafe is gearing up again after the long, unopen winter.

We’re told “specials” such as banana leaf meals will return in the new year.

And – who knows? – perhaps the current opening hours of Thursday-Sunday and noon-5pm may be extended.

In the meantime, we are restricted – during our Sunday lunch visit – to the “Permanent Menu” (see below).

And that is no hardship at all.



Bennie rates his nasi lemak rendang ($14) as right up there with “the best” he’s ever had.

It’s all very simple, with all the requisite bits and pieces laid out beautifully.

The beef is very coconutty – and manages the neat trick of having the feel and flavour of homecooked food, as opposed to restaurant cooking.

Cool, eh?



My mee rebus ($12) is a 10/10 soup noodle dish; it’s superb.

There are plentiful cubes of no-bone lamb in there and lots more besides, all luxuriating in a viscous “shrimp/peanut broth”.

Hardboiled egg, noodles, bean sprouts, tofu.

You get the picture.

It’s a big serve at a low price.



Having enjoyed our savoury lunches so very much, we are in such an expansive mood that we partake of a trio of the sweet offerings – the pinkish kuih lapis (steamed layer cake), the yellow bingke ubi (baked tapioca cake) and apam gula melaka (a sort steamed apple cake).

We love the first two; the last, with its earthy flavour, not so much.

We reckon Altona locals are extremely lucky to have Orange Hat Cafe in their backyard.

And we also reckon westies from all over, and Melburnians generally, should make the drive and the effort.


A new Laksa King



Laksa King Kitchen, 328 Racecourse Road, Flemington.

A regular sight that bemuses us when where seeking a feed in Flemington is people queuing up for a table at Laksa King.

On the footpath outside on Pin Oak Crescent.

Sometimes in chilly mid-winter.

And sometimes, even, in the rain.

Such is the allure of the Laksa King name.

Sure, the food is good.

But the place’s popularity lends it a somewhat rushed, impersonal vibe – and we’re not alone in thinking that.

Good luck to them, but the CTS ethos usually leads us to going where the crowds aren’t.

And where the food is as good, if not better.

In Flemington and for Malaysian, that invariably means M Yong Tufu – a place we dearly love.

But we are happy and keen to check out the new Laksa King family establishment – Laksa King Kitchen on Racecourse Road.

This is actually the second Laksa King Kitchen – there is another at Westfield Southland Shopping Centre.



The new Laksa King Kitchen in Flemington boasts a chic-but-small dining area, though there is more seating upstairs.

The staff are keen, happy and all a-bustle.

The menu (see below) is a solid gathering of Malaysian staples divided into small/big bites, noodles, rice dishes, laksas and vegetarian.

There is a nifty twist – laksas are offered in two sizes.

This makes good sense, as regular laksas are always a big meal.

Not that we can envisage a day when we would order the smaller size!



Selections can be ascertained using the printed menu or on the laptop at each table, but the actual ordering is done via the latter.



Bennie and I share a starter and have a bigger dish each.

Lobak ($8.60) is less gung-ho on flavour and crinkly beancurd skin than we would like, but it’s a fine beginning that delivers us three porky chunks each.



In a fine break with boring CTS practice, it is Bennie who orders a laksa – in this case, the bigger version of the angus beef outing ($13.50).

It’s a big an handsome bowl-full.

But he is so-so about the laksa as a whole – perhaps a higher spice level may have won him over?

He does give, however, an enthusiastic 10/10 for the many tender beef chunks.

And I get to try one of the eggplant pieces – it is wonderfully luscious and memorable.

But still … for us, when it comes to laksa hereabouts, M Yong Tofu will remain our go-to.



That leaves me ordering the Hainan chicken rice $13.50).

The photos of the dish didn’t really inspire and that unease increases when I realise my rice meal will be eaten without the usual bowl of chicken soup on the side.

But all is forgiven from the first mouthful of perfectly ginger-perfumed rice and onwards.

This is a triumph and one of the best of this personal favourite I’ve had for a long time.

There’s a lot of chook – it’s double layered in the photo above – and it’s tender and expertly boned.

The ginger mash, chilli sauce and soy accompaniments are excellent and in generous quantities.

And the wilted bean sprout/veg offering is likewise top notch.

My mouth is doing a high-stepping boogie as we depart.


Our kind of food


Nat Stockley captured in his natural environment.


Panjali Banana Leaf Malaysian Restaurant, 3/10 Sun Crescent, Sunshine. Phone: 9193 1740

On the Panjali menu, there’s dosas, vadai, dal and curries.

But you’ll also find roti canai, mee goreng and nasi lemak.

I cannot recall – in what is now many decades of trawling funky eats places all over Melbourne – any other eatery that so thoroughly, wonderfully expresses a particular school of transnational cooking, in this case Indian/Malaysian.

Panjali has been open about three months and is popular – as I discover on a CTS reconnaissance trip for Sunday lunch.

The service is warm and the prices are extremely cheap. It’s closed on Mondays, but other than that it keeps long opening hours.



House-made curry puffs ($5 for two) are ungreasy and have a thick casing that is nevertheless good; the spud-based vegetable filling does the job.



On my initial solo visit, I go for the eponymous banana leaf meal.



When Nat Stockly and I return for a more in-depth exploration of the menu (see below), he does the same.

The basic banana leaf meal costs $9.90 and consists of a generous rice pile anointed with vegetable-studded dal, with various vegetable dishes arranged alongside, along with rasam, yoghurt, pickle and pappadams.

For an extra $6, I top my meal up with a truly excellent and big fried chicken piece. The chicken has been freshly cooked and placed in the bain marie just as I order, so is an obvious choice.

For $8, Nat gets a serve of lamb curry. It’s quite good, but could’ve been a bit hotter.

Nat opines that often the state of pappadams can be taken as a fair indicator of the rest of a restaurant’s food.

Ours are crisp and unoily.

I could eat them all day.

Perhaps it could be said this kind of food is not for everyone – the vegetables (cabbage, beans, pumpkin, okra, broccoli) are cooked down to quite an extent.

But the food and the place that serves it most certainly hit the spot with us, and will do likewise for dedicated CTS readers.



From the noodle line-up, mamak mee goreng ($10.90) is simple, lovely and surprisingly dry – in a good way.

No meat or seafood here, the dish getting its flavour kicks mostly from just cabbage and egg.



The many tempting roti variations will have to wait for another visit.

Instead we order chicken murtabak ($10.90).



It’s tremendous in every way – hot and fresh; and delicate and hearty at the same.

The stuffing is a great mix of onion, egg and shredded chicken.

And I love the lightly pickled fresh onion served on the side for extra crunch.

As we depart after a fine meal, Nat quips: “That’s my kind of food!”

And that, right there, gives me the headline for my story.


Meal of the week No.43: Dumpling Story



CTS has never been much impressed by the food offerings at Pacific Werribee.

As well, one of the few outlets that may be expected to arouse our interest, if not our enthusiasm, is Dumpling Story – and I’ve long carried some baggage in that regard because of an unfortunate meal endured by someone near and dear to us.

So what am I doing here?

Well, it’s parent-teacher night.

I’ve departed Yarraville in plenty of time to allow for whatever the freeway and weather may come my way … so much so that I’ve arrived with heaps of time to grab some dinner before the business part of the evening unfolds.

That’s a lot happier prospect than trying to find something to eat between Werribee and Yarraville about 9pm on a cold Monday night.

Still, as you’d expect, my expectations are pretty much rock bottom.

I order and wait.

A bit less than 10 minutes later, I am presented with my combination laksa ($11.80).

And am duly knocked out.

I’m not about to proclaim this laksa as a champion of its kind, and maybe my happiness is coloured by my low hopes.

But this is really very good.

Commercial laksa gravy?

Maybe – there are no curry leaves that sometimes are a tip-off that the soup part has been tweaked in-house.

But no matter – this tastes fine.

It’s a big serve.

There’s a hefty amount of good, if somewhat bland, chicken.

Better, there are several delectable slivers of excellent eggplant.

And four plump, tasty and peeled prawns.

And more …

I’ll be much more open-minded about this place – and its extensive and interesting menu – when I’m down this way again.


Reliable, excellent Malaysian

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Chef Lagenda, Shop 9-10/835A Ballarat Road, Deer park. Phone:8358 5389

Consider The Sauce is facing a very busy – but happy – few Saturday hours.

Kung fu class in Carlton from 11am to noon.

A 2pm appointment in Toolern Vale for a frolic at the Dingo Discovery Sanctuary and Research Centre with some dingo pups.

Do we have time for a quick bite of lunch in between?

Of course!

Though, mindful that there’s a bit of driving to do in a somewhat hicuppy car, I make sure we get a long way to our rural destination before parking at Deer Park.

There we pass by – for once – our regular Deer Park favourite and head for Chef Lagenda.

CTS reviewed this place way back in 2012 soon after it had opened.

These days there are four in the Chef Lagenda family – the most famous in Flemington, as well as Deer Park, Hawthorn and Richmond.

At the time it opened in Deer Park, there was a good deal of excitement in that neighbourhood.

Since then, the Deer Park strip has bloomed considerably in terms of food – is Chef Lagenda holding its own?

The answer is emphatic: “Yes!”

All we’re after is a quick, simple, affordable and tasty feed – and we succeed admirably.

The place is obviously a popular local stalwart, as it’s doing very brisk trade at 12.30pm on a Saturday afternoon.

Nothing much appears to have changed since our earlier visit – the bicycle is still on the wall and the service (cash only) is fine.

Chef Lagenda may be ostensibly Malaysian of food, but it roasts, Chinese-style, its own meats.

But we pass by those options and pragmatically opt for some straightahead Malaysian favourites.



Achar ($5.80) could do with a bit more spice and vinegary tang, but is fine nonetheless.

We pretty much automatically give a hearty thumbs up to any dish that involves cauliflower.



Bennie’s koay teow ($11.50) is a superb rendition – significantly less oily than some we’ve had and fully redolent of wok hai.



My regular curry laksa ($9.80) is, well, regulation.

But it’s also very, very good.

There’s a good handful of tasty, plump prawns in there.

The plentiful chicken meat is way superior to the scraggly chook that sometimes manifests itself in laksa outings.

Best of all is the eggplant.

I always eagerly look forward to the eggplant portion of a curry laksa.

But sometimes it can be bitter and not very attractive to eat at all.

This Chef Lagenda laksa has just a  single piece – to the left of the bowl.

But it’s long, meltingly tender and 100 per cent delicious.

In recent weeks, Bennie and I have discussed how prices have risen since CTS started.

Outside of a couple of banh mi, the days of a meal that covers us both for $20 seem long gone.

Yet, here in Deer Park, we’ve had a grand cheap feast when we weren’t even looking for a blog-worthy meal.

The total bill – including two mains, a side dish and two cans of soda pop – is $34.10.

And we reckon that’s excellent.


Real good Malaysian



Ya’Salam Restaurant, 2/14 Lavinia Drive, Tarneit. Phone: 9748 6860

We enjoyed our visit to Ya’Salam when the premises was being used to operate a Somalian eatery – though truth be told it was a bit too much of a drive to become a regular haunt.

Now there’s new management in the place.

They’ve retained the name – and even a page of Somalian food at the back of their new menu.

But the rest is all about terrific Malaysian food.

In fact, based on two visits we reckon this is some of the best, cheapest and most authentic Malaysian food you’ll find in all of Melbourne.

And word appears to have gotten out – we note with assured pleasure the happy, hungry tables on our visits.



Chicken laksa ($10, top photograph) is unlike any I’ve eaten – and as good as any, too.

The chicken is so finely shredded that it’s pretty much subsumed into the gravy, but that’s fine when the soup base is so funky, house-made and delicious.

Protein oomph is provided by two hardboiled egg halves and there’s plenty of cucumber and other veg bits to provide texture and crunch to go with the fat, short udon-style noodles.



Roti canai ($5) is a wonder.

Accompanying a just-right bowl of runny chicken curry (with a dob of sambal paste) are the two lightest, flakiest and best flatbreads of the Malaysian style we’ve ever eaten.

Simply: Wow.



Char kuey teow ($10) is a bit like our laksa – unlike any we’ve before tried.

This one comes in a bowl and – appropriately – is more like a hearty, thick soup than the drier dish we’ve been expecting.

No problems, though – because while the wok hei factor is predictably muted, there’s no doubting the flavours and all-round yumminess.



Given the obvious real-deal vibe of everything served us thus far, we are keen to try the Ya’Salam satays.

They’re unavailable, though, so we happily settle for these two fine curry puffs ($1 each).

Again, these are a far cry from your usual curry puffs.

The rich short pastry is stuffed with an extremely toothsome jumble of chicken mince and vegetables.

They could’ve been a tad hotter, however.

The Ya’Salam food we’ve tried has been really fine.

We’re usually not much concerned about notions of authenticity – but they have heaps of it here.

Next time we’ll be sure to try one of the many nasi goreng variations.

Check out the Ya’Salam menu here.

Lovely Malaysian in Newport




Hawkers Lane, 12 Hall Street, Newport. Phone: 9391 0611

“I’ve never seen so many depressed people in one place!”

That’s the desolate text message I receive from Bennie.

He’s stranded in Laverton and the trains are not running.

Neither he, nor anyone else it seems, knows what is going on.

In the meantime, he’s directed me to Newport for pick-up duties – prematurely as it turns out.

But as we await transport clarification, I get the chance to scope out the Hall Street shops and businesses – including the Malaysian place I’d heard about.




It’s small and tidy – not much more than a glorified take-away, really, with one tall and small table and a bunch of counter/window stools.

Still, something about the place feels just right – an exciting impression given ooomph by the surreptitious looks I grab of two different meals I see being eaten.

Our stay-at-home dinner options are happily jettisoned for another night and – once the tricky transport logistics are finally resolved at Footscray Station – it’s back to Newport we head.

The Hawkers Lane menu (see below) covers much familiar territory, from curry puffs (including a sardine option) and rotis through to noodles (wok, wet and soup), one-person rice dishes and full-serve mains such as beef rendang and Nyonya fish curry.

I’ve heard there is a link between this place and Wok Noodle in Seddon, though how deep I do not know. Nor, on this occasion, do I pursue the matter.




Rotis can be served plain or with the likes of peanut sauce, beef rendang and chicken curry, or as wraps.

Our fine roti with potato curry ($9) is all good, though the curry is rather more runny than we’d like – a more sticky gravy that sticks to the flat bread would be just the ticket.




Bennie makes quick work of his mee goreng ($12.50).

It’s a solid, well-cooked outing.

My chicken kari laksa ($15, top photo) is a variation on your regular chicken laksa.

The curry sauce blends with the laksa soup to create a very flavoursome brew, while the chicken pieces are heftier and much tastier than the diced or shredded chook routinely found in laksas.

For veg, there’s just a single, longish chunk of eggplant – no beans or broccoli or the like.

But that matters not, as the chicken, the tofu, two halves of golden boiled egg and mix of two curry gravies combine with the noodles and bean sprouts to produce a top-notch laksa.




Hawkers Lane is a real find.

The locals must be thrilled.

The bare-bones set-up means eating in feels more like just grabbing a quick, unfussy bite and less like going through the whole restaurant ritual.

Yet the service and food quality shine.

Hawkers Lane is a cash-only operation, does not do deliveries and is closed on Sundays.





Very short Road trip



Roti Road, Highpoint. Phone: 9317 4293

When Consider The Sauce and friends hit Roti Road in Footscray – see story here – we enjoyed a good feed.

However, subsequent visits failed to back up that good impression.

One such visit involved myself and Bennie and also involved, IIRC, nasi lemak and Hainan chicken rice – both dishes being of the very average variety.

Another visit involved myself alone and was prompted by the restaurant’s claim on FB that it had listened to its customers and lifted its laksa game. I found that not to be the case, or not according to my laksa tastes anyway.

Since then, we have – as you’d expect – avoided the place, save for a very occasional visit for the reliable, cheap roti canai.

And that’s why Roti Road is pretty much the last of the eateries at the new Highpoint dining area to be checked out by us.

Bowling up solo just before Christmas, I wasn’t exactly feeling trepidatious but I certainly had no high hopes.




So I am surprised and delighted to find that my lunch – Hainanese chicken rice ($12.90) – is in every way wonderful.

Soup – hot and not too salty.

Condiments – chilli sauce and ginger mash just right.

Chicken – a big serve of beautifully tender and expertly boned meat luxuriating in cooking juices mixed with soy sauce.

Rice – stock-cooked and fine for the job at hand.

Really – one of the best versions of this famous dish I’ve enjoyed in recent years.

A more recent visit with two lads in tow fails to reach such heights but makes for a good lunch nevertheless.




Six chicken satay sticks are the real deal, coolly priced at $9.90 and served with a sticky and flavoursome peanutty sauce on the side..

I am irked that I must share them with two teens.




Mee goreng ($11.90) is a fine version of another staple dish – we like it a lot.




Vegetable curry with rice ($11.90) tries hard but doesn’t really get where it should be going.

We like that there’s myriad green vegetables such as beans and broccoli involved.

Bbut the eggplant is cooked down to mush and the whole impresses as steamed vegetables with curry gravy added rather than as a from-scratch curry.

Still, it’s not a bad way to ensure vegetables are had in a setting where it’s easy to give them miss.

Good Place for Malaysian

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Makan Place, Pacific Werribee, Hoppers Crossing. Phone 8742 2368

Whatever the planned longevity of shopping centres, there’s no doubt that once they’re up we’re stuck with them for several decades.

Stuck, too, with old-school food courts, lousy fast food and a neverending torrent of plastic.

But with the new food area at Highpoint (see stories here and here) and the even newer Urban Diner precinct at the rebranded Pacific Werribee at Hoppers Crossing, it seems that – going forward (ugh!) – developers have finally twigged that their customers want better food in better surroundings.

And that it is a very good idea to provide them.

Nevertheless, I confess to being on the snooty side when I first saw the Pacific Werribee/Urban Diner food line-up.

Sure, there’s outlets – Grill’d and Guzmen y Gomez, in particular – of which we’re fond.

But there appeared to be little of real interest to us.




Somehow, during that process, I missed Makan Place – until a story by the Urban Ma tweaked our interest.

A full-on, new Malaysian restaurant at a Hoppers Crossing shopping centre?

Oh yes, we’ll be in that!

So it is that we front up after Bennie’s guitar lesson, also (very handily) just up the road.

Makan Place is a lovely eatery in which to spend some time, with several different seating configurations on hand.




We find the ordering system – mark dish numbers on a slip, push a buzzer on the condiment tray, have order whisked away by a staff member – works really well.

The service is fine and our food arrives very quickly.

The menu is pretty much as expected, long and packed with photographs, and starts with “toast” and snack items.

At first, I fear we may have over-ordered – but we down the lot.

Hungry lads are we!




French toast with Kaya and peanut butter ($5.90) we order based on the Urban Ma’s enthusiastic recommendation.

I figure that if I don’t like it, Bennie sure as hell will.

It strikes me as more of a breakfast dish – very rich, almost cloying.

Bennie loves it!




I recall a time when most Malaysian eateries in Melbourne served acar as a side dish.

The Makan Place version ($5.90) makes wish that was still the case.

This generous serve of (very) lightly pickled vegetables is superb, crunchy and packed with sesame flavour.

It would’ve been nice if some cauliflower had joined the carrot, cucumber and cabbage.




Bennie’s nasi lemak with beef rendang is another winner – and another good-sized meal for the price ($12.90).

All the usual components are in place, including some of that acar.

The curry serve is also generous but – as is often the case – the big chunks of beef are dry.

Smaller and more tender pieces are needed – or at least quite a lot more gravy to make up for the dryness.




Just for comparison purposes, I order the regular chicken laksa ($11.90).

It’s a good, solid if unspectacular laksa but not quite not in the same class as that to be had at M Yong Tofu in Flemington.

Still, our quibbles are very minor – Makan Place is a fine addition to the Malaysian options available in the west.

Our total bill, having eaten very well, is a most excellent $36.60.



A monarch among Melbourne’s laksas (2)




Kitchen Inn, 469 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne. Phone: 9328 2562

Appointment in the city, park at Vic Market, left enough for time for a quick lunch – of course!

I have no great plans or destinations in mind.

Indeed, this stretch of Elizabeth Street is so busy at lunch time I’m happy to get a seat just about anywhere.

I have no plans to write or take pictures.

But then I get Kitchen Inn’s Sarawak laksa ($10.90).

CTS has been here before.

I’ve even had the laksa here on another occasion.

But …

I don’t remember it being THIS good!!!

Gravy that looks like a rich chocolate milkshake. Spice/heat levels that are just right and plenty of deep, dusky flavour – quite unlike the more regular laksas around town.

Vermicelli only in terms of noodles, which is real nice for a change.

And the extravagant goodies … oh my!

Shredded chicken, two monster pieces of chewy tofu sucking up that amazing gravy, fish cake, bean sprouts, quite a few very good prawns, noodle-like strips of omelette.

And – best of all – stacks of salty pork belly/crackling that is wonderfully crunchy to begin with but that becomes equally wonderfully soggy as the eating of my meal unfolds.


This is a 10/10 laksa – a masterpiece of Melbourne cheap eats.

See earlier Melbourne laksa monarch post here.



A monarch among Melbourne’s laksas

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M Yong Tofu, 314 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Phone: 9376 0168

Driving home from a Saturday night function in Flemington, I do a double take as I tool along Racecourse Road.

What the … ?

What was once our cherished Grand Tofu has a new name and the exterior has a new paint job.

So naturally I make it my urgent business the next day to find out what gives.




I am immediately re-assured upon seeing this sign in the window.

Inside, I find that everything is indeed the same – including the welcome from the ever-smiling Suzanne.




Turns out some alterations in the partnership arrangements of the business have occasioned some superficial tweaking.

“Everything the same,” Suzanne tells me. “Laksa still good!”

“You mean the same angry management and crap service?” I ask.

Much laughter ensues as I await my laksa – because, yes, I just have to make sure.

And it is.

Heady broth packed with flavour, fresh mint brightly contrasting with the cooked curry leaves.

Greens beans, broccoli and two pieces of heavenly eggplant.

Supper sodden tofu, fish cake – and, oh yeah, chicken.

Look, I’m not going to proclaim this as the best laksa in the west or Melbourne.

There’s more than enough outfits and websites and blogs doing that sort of thing when it comes to food “lists” – almost always without having done the incredibly hard yards that would give those sort of claims to be definitive any sort of gravitas.

But I sure do love this laksa.

Regardless of the name change …

The crew here have printed up a new menu with lots of pretty pictures, but I am happy note the price rises have been very tiny indeed.

Such is not always the case when such overhauls take place.

Footscray’s Roti Road



Roti Road’s “flying roti men” can be observed in action in the kitchen … or (bottom photograph) right out there on the dinging room floor.


Roti Road, 189-193 Barkly Street,  Footscray. Phone:9078 8878

Since Consider The Sauce hit the road, a variety of widespread options – in Seddon, Sunshine, Deer Park – have come to offer Malaysian alternatives away from Racecourse Road in Flemington.

Still, the opening of Roti Road in the premises of what was formerly the Yummie yum cha joint has created quite a buzz … and even a week or so after it opened its doors and very early in the week, there’s obviously quite a few people in the house to see how it  stacks up.

Laksa and the like right here in downtown Footscray?

We’re right with them and excited about it, too.




The revamp leaves the place still looking like a cheap ‘n’ cheerful ethnic cafe, but with very real touches of class to go with it – there’s a lot of dark wood and it looks great.

The staff are on the ball, even when Bennie’s main soup/noodle bowl appears to go missing.

Bennie and I are joined by our equally hongry pals Eliza and Josh, so we get to take quite a few of Roti Road’s offerings for a test run.

We have a great time – but there are hits and misses.




We order two serves of the basic roti cani deal for $5.90 apiece.

This is great stuff – super fluffy roti that is much more substantial than first appears to be the case, accompanied by dal, curry gravy, sambal.

What a super and affordable snack meal, with a serve of four different curries available to supplement for $4-5.




Red bean Okinawa ($5.50) and traditional three-colour milk tea ($4.50).




Satay chicken (six pieces for $9) is sweetish, a little smoky and fine.




Eliza goes OK with her char kuay teow ($10.50), but besides not being made with the wide noodles of her mum’s rendition it seems on the undistinguished side.




The reading/eating public wants to know – so I was always going to order a laksa.

Roti Road’s basic chicken model ($11.50) is dull.

All the expected bits and pieces are in place, but it simply lacks the sort of impact and lusty oomph for which I’m hoping.

The curry soup itself is mild and bland. Eliza takes a taste and concurs.




Bennie stuns me by ordering the fish head noodle ($11.90).

Good it is, too, with plenty of fish pieces both bony and fleshy in a lovely, homely, tangy, milky broth.

But there’s simply too much of it for him and it’s also a little too much on the high-maintenance and fiddly side.




In terms of our main selections, Josh is the big winner with his man-size serve of Malaysian-style curry chicken ($16.80), of which he makes lip-smackingly short work.

It has many chook bits bathing in a sticky sauce that has a sweetish, perhaps smoky tang the likes of which I’ve never before come across is a Malaysian curry.




We grab two of the roti tisu desserts ($9.50, $9.90), the crispy bread “lightly coated with condensed milk and dusted with sugar” and the above specimen additionally having cocoa powder thrown into the mix.

Both are served with garishly white ice-cream and are a sticky, moreish treat – sort of like an “impossible to stop” dessert version of potato chips!

Roti Road is a great Footscray addition, but it’ll simply take a short while to find what works … start with the rotis and go from there.







Shopping centre Malaysian – really good



Nyonya House, Sanctuary Lakes Shopping Centre, 300 Point Cook Rd, Point Cook. Phone: 9394 8881

Nyonya House is in Sanctuary Lakes Shopping Centre, so we keep our expectations prudently in check.

No matter the ambitions, we fully expect the necessity of also serving coffee, cake, breakfast and more to compromise – perhaps seriously – the nature of the Malaysian food on offer.

We are dead wrong.

As becomes apparent as we scan the long, illustrated menu (see below), and as is confirmed when we enjoy a fine lunch.

This is some serious stuff going on here, the Malaysian menu seeming to have quite a notable Singaporean influence.

All the expected bases and dishes are covered, but there are a few unusual and intriguing items as well.

But with a couple of exceptions, we stick to standard dishes.

Our choices are served promptly and the service from a handful of different staff members is full of smiles and patience with our many questions.

The decor and ambiance are bog standard shopping centre, but the food vibe is of a much loftier standard.


Char koay teow ($11.80) is average in a good way.

It’s less greasy than the norm and light on wok hei, but the spice level is a little higher than normal and the $2 extra we pay for inclusion of Chinese sausage is well spent.


Jala are lace-like crepes – see recipe here.

They’re so delicate – eating them is akin to enjoying a meal of Sri Lankan hoppers.

We have them with chicken curry sauce for $6.80, but they’re also available as a full serve with chicken curry for $12.80. Maybe next time!


Chicken nasi goreng ($12.80) is OK, but as ever seems to me just glorified fried rice with not much zing. Still, it suffices as a base for all else on our table.


Achar ($6.80) is fantastic.

All Malaysian restaurants should serve this, but we don’t see it that often.

More to the point, this is a great version – sweet and sour, crunchy, and it’s a good-sized serving, too, with plenty to go round a table of four.


Beef rendang ($16.80) is another big hit with everyone at our table.

Yet it’s unlike any previous rendang any of us have tried.

There’s no discernible coconut, for starters.

Instead, the rich, smooth gravy is heavy with black pepper, while the large chunks of beef are fat-free, firm and even a little crusty on some of the extremities.

It comes across as curried, Asian-style take on a hearty beef stew from Italy or central Europe.


For company today we have Courtney and James.

We met them at the Paella Party, where they told me they routinely rely on Consider The Sauce and Footscray Food Blog to know where to go to eat.

My immediate thought on being told that was: “Stuff that! Time to rope these guys into helping us do some of the heavy lifting!”

Turns out they’re definitely not your passive blog readers, are in fact zealous and adventurous in pursuit of mostly cheap but always funky foodiness, and are thoroughly hip to and appreciative of Malaysian food.

Even better, as the four of us chow down it becomes clear that we have more than food in common, with the conversation zooming from science fiction and fantasy writing to anime and manga, various football codes, politics, travel, films, comics and more.

I even come away from our meal with a short but enticing list of books titles to explore.

Meeting them was a gas; having lunch with them has been even better.


James and I mostly leave the “ooh-ing” and “aah-ing” over our desserts to Bennie and Courtney.

Sago pudding ($2) is quite firm but very nice, with the caramelised sugar adding a lusty touch.


Iced kachang ($5.80) is all about Bennie, with no comment from his dad necessary.


Muar chee ($5.80) are cute, bursty, gnocchi-like dumplings made from glutinous rice and coated with finely chopped peanuts and sugar and sesame seeds.

Courtney loves them; I’ll sit on the fence.

What a find Nyonya House is – it strikes me as easily the equal or better of anything thing in Flemington, or Melbourne generally.

There’s plenty of scope to be more adventurous on future visits.

I’m keen to try out some of the one-for-lunch dishes such as laksa, chicken rice or the aforementioned jala with chicken curry.

And I wonder how crash-hot the $13.80 lobak or the $4.80 wonton soup might be …













Feeling the love in Hoppers Crossing

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Glory We Cafe, 3/76 Old Geelong Rd, Hoppers Crossing. Phone: 9394 8845

While we enjoyed our first visit to Glory We Cafe, the chances of return visits seemed slim at best, especially given the options we have in the greater western suburbs for the sort of food it serves.

But since that visit, a few things have happened – with the upshot being the Glory We crew have earned our return custom through their goodwill, sincerity and dedication in engaging with their customers.

For one thing, they have made the switch from plastic, disposable implements and receptacles to those of a more re-usuable variety.

We don’t know or care if Consider The Sauce had anything to do with them making that change – we are simply happy that they have.

For another, we couldn’t help but notice the regular updates on their Facebook page in which they have been introducing new, alluring and seemingly authentic dishes of a Singaporean and Malaysian nature.

So off we go for Sunday lunch!

That Glory We remains a rather charmless, utilitarian space is well and truly compensated for by depth of the warm and caring service that is bestowed upon us on our return visit, service way above that we commonly expect from such places.

Combined with reliably good and sometimes very good food and the lack of alternatives in this general neighbourhood, we reckon Glory We fully deserves whatever good reputation it is earning as a westie hotspot.

The same photos that have appeared on the joint’s Facebook page grace the walls of the restaurant, so we take only a few minutes to make our selections.


Mee goreng ($9.50) looks nothing special – like what might get served in any old shopping centre food court, in fact.

But this wet version tastes a whole lot better than that.

A wonderfully gooey fried egg sits atop lovely al dente egg noodles, with calamari, prawns, egg and tofu complemented by crunchy onion slivers and some greenery.

It’s simple, homely and fine.


Our second dish is the subject of today’s Glory We Facebook post: “XO Sauce Fried Carrot Cake – Introducing our NEW weekend delicacy which is a common dish in Singapore which Singaporeans eat throughout the day whether at breakfast, lunch, dinner or even supper. This dish consist of stir-fried cubes of raddish cake. You can order it fried with or without sweet black sauce. To order one fried with sweet black sauce, you have to tell our friendly staff you want it ‘black’.”

This is a new one on us, so we had sought advice from Ms Baklover, who spent a week or so eating her away around the island state a while back and so whom we consider an oracle of all things Singaporean.

She told us it’s a delicious dish “when made right”, but to be cautious when it comes to the “black” version as she finds it a bit on the cloying side herself.

So we order and don’t ask for dark – and end up with the dark variety ($9.50) anyway.

It’s OK and Bennie likes it but, truthfully, I do find it too rich and oily.

Our bemusement over what we’ve been provided sparks some charming back-and-forth dialogue with the staff, with the chef explaining that the dark version is a Singaporean preference and light a Malaysian one.

“That’s OK – we’re Malaysian,” I proclaim.

(Cue much laughter all ’round …)

So we’re served a plate of the lighter variety of the Glory We Cafe XO Sauce Fried Carrot Cake at no charge.

(It’s important to acknowledge that this generosity and level of customer care would have been afforded us no matter who we were or that the staff members eventually twigged that we were food bloggers or some other sort of busybodies.)


Ahhh, this is more like it – and much more to both our liking.

There’s a lighter touch going on here and much more textural variety, with the raddish cake pieces having nicely tanned and crisped exteriors.

At this stage of our meal, though, it’s more than we can consume so what’s left goes home with us.

If this dish, no matter how good, is unlikely to become a firm CTS favourite, we’ve had such a fine time at Glory We that this place already is.

Check out the Glory We Cafe Facebook page here.




Lazat Malaysian Restaurant




Lazat Malaysian Restaurant, 495 Ballarat Rd, Sunshine. Phone: 9312 7880

Lazat is a new Malaysian eatery in Sunshine, and a very welcome in that it is the suburb’s first of that denomination – AFAIK.

It’s accessed from an always busy and unlovely stretch of Ballarat Rd – miss the turn-off an you’ll be going around the block. Although we’re pleased to learn there is also access from Hampshire Rd – turn off at Chinese restaurant Golf Leaf.

Lazat occupies a building formerly home to a short-lived place called Grills Plus and, before that, a Souvlaki Hut (I think …)

Some of that fast-food vibe lives on in the set-up and decor, but we enjoy a lovely and late (for us) lunch.


Moreover, the service is spot on, our food arrives with admirable speed and there is a welcoming presence in the form of manager Francis, who has landed here after helping launch Chef Lagenda in Deer Park.

Perhaps best of all, in an area where late-opening joints are difficult to find, Lazat is open until 10pm every night of the week except Saturdays and Sundays – on which it is open until 11pm!

There’s outdoor seating and a function room available.


We enjoy having our pal Carl, a former Geelong Advertiser colleague of mine, along for the ride so can go a bit further than just a bowl of noodles or rice each.

On the other hand, us hungry boys plump for regular Malaysian eatery mainstays that mostly satisfy without really setting our worlds on fire. With one fine exception …

Curry puffs ($5.80), prawn dumplings ($6) and lobak $5.50) – all are average in the good sense of the word and are gobbled up with glee.


The star of our show is beef rendang ($16.80).

The is very mildly spiced but the gravy is deep, dark and rich and the meat is fall-apart tender.

Better yet, it’s of a far better quality than we’re mostly familiar with when ordering this dish – there’s no gristle or fat here. At all.


Our gado gado is a cause for puzzlement.

The mix of tofu, hard-boiled egg, snow peas, bok choy and broccoli is good mixed with a nice peanutty sauce.

But $14.80 seems a really steep price for such a dish.

No matter – we’ve enjoyed our feed, and Bennie and I suspect we’ll be back soonish to try such Malaysian benchmarks as Hainan chicken rice and/or mee goreng.

We take Carl to La Morenita for coffee before calling it a day.

 Lazat Malaysian Restaurant on Urbanspoon




Penang Road



Penang Road, 177 Clarendon St, South Melbourne. Phone: 9690 0536

My non-blogging journalism career seems to be mirroring, in its own way, the rapidly changing nature of work in Australia and no doubt elsewhere.

After 15 and more years on the one masthead and pretty much two decades with a single employer, I am on to my third workplace in as many years.

I’m finding myself nimble enough to keep pace with changing circumstances and enjoying the various challenges.

Even better, a far higher number of the stories I am working with are to do with coffee and/or food and/or restaurants than has previously been the case, even if mostly they’re about places I am not viscerally interested in or can afford.

At my new South Melbourne office, home of the The Weekly Review and associated enterprises, there are a few familiar faces from other places and times, but a lot of shared history even with those I have never met before.

Ironically, the one staff member with whom I share a deep and lengthy job history went unnoticed by me, so long had it been since we worked together.

It was only when partaking in a discussion of the local lunch options that he reminded me of all that and the metaphorical penny dropped. Turns out he’s hip to Consider The Sauce, too!

Ben is deeply involved in the business development side of things and is the office wine writer/guru to boot, so not so coincidentally likes a good feed, too.

So when he robustly enthuses about the Malaysian place just around the corner, I take notice for sure.

Still, work continues to be deadline-driven, so opportunities for lunch escapes are not that common.

Finally, though, we escape for a brief but spectacularly fine Malaysian lunch.

Penang Road has a modest facade, so gives little away about what goes on within.

Stepping through the door, though, I am pleasantly surprised to find a cheerfully busy restaurant with quite classy dark wood furniture, a step up from, say, Coconut House.

Penang Road has all he expected bases covered – laksas, rice dishes, noodles and snacks.

The place is quite crowded but we quickly score a table and get down to perusing the menu, placing our orders at the counter and getting our “number”.

Our food arrives with gratifying haste – and it’s brilliant!


Ben’s chicken rice ($9.60) looks fabulous.

Very good rice and plain soup/broth with what I suspect are chicken balls floating in it – neither of us get around to finding out, so intent are we on the meatier side of things and a wide-ranging conversation.

Best of all, the all-important mix of soy sauce, oil, chicken broth, ginger and garlic in which his boneless chicken resides is way more plentiful than is the norm in Melbourne’s Malaysian cheap eats joints.

And it’s tasty, too.


My “chicken chop with rice” ($9.90) is superb, though it’s a nutritionist’s nightmare in almost every conceivable and excellent way.

Same fine chicken rice and broth, albeit minus the balls.

Good fried egg atop the rice.

Plenty of chilli sauce of just the right heat levels on the side.

And the chicken?

This is truly “OMG fried chicken” of a kind to make the Colonel blush with shame.

It’s boneless (despite being described as “chop”), crispy, wonderfully chewy, ungreasy and so plentiful that I am unable to devour it all, despite rampant deliciousness.

The garlicky, spicy tang of our lunch lingers with gusto deep into a hard-working afternoon.

I find it thrilling that such a beaut Melbourne cheap eats experience has eventuated through evolving changes in the media landscape.

Than again, it’s not surprising at all … and how about those prices?

Penang Road on Urbanspoon


Lazat: Malaysian food for Sunshine



Lazat, 495 Ballarat Rd, Sunshine. Phone: 9312 7880

Once upon a time, not so long ago and outside of Flemington, there was nary a trace of Malaysian food in the western suburbs.

Then arrived Wok Noodle in Seddon.

And then, more recently, Chef Lagenda hung out its shingle in Deer Park to wild applause of most who live in the vicinity.

Now those two are to be joined by another Malaysian joint, on a busy, unlovely bit of Ballarat Rd just up from the Gold Leaf eatery of Chinese persuasion.

When I drop in to get the lowdown, things are in a state of disarray, but management tells me they’ll be up and running in about a week – and even, “hopefully”, by Monday, December 2.

The building they’re taking over was most recently sporting signage that said something along the lines of “Grills Plus”, but it was closed down by the time I noticed it and so have no idea what, if anything, was cooking when it was running.

If it ever was.

The menus the Lazat folk provide me hold little by way of surprises but are reassuringly stacked with familiar faves – the usual noodles about the $11 mark, soft shell crabs two for $12.80, Hainan chicken rice at $9.80, roast meats, lobak for $5 and so on.

One word: Yummy!