Level 2, Shop 11, QV Square
Cnr Lonsdale and Swanston Streets
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9654 2682
It seems like every Asian and their pampered chihuahua dogs have been flocking to the newest addition to QV’s restaurant scene. The younger sister to Chinatown’s Old Town Kopitiam, Old Town Kopitiam Mamak, is considered a gem in Melbourne’s dining scene as it offers mamak food, the type of fare that Muslim street-sellers dish up in Malaysia. Although my experience with the original OTK had been not so favourable, I was still keen to join the herds of people that seem to constantly enter the cafe that is located right next door to 3 degrees bar.
Looking around us, it appeared that most people were content with ordering either fried snacks such as otak-otak or kaya toast, though there were a few who were enjoying nasi kandar, a Malaysian dish consisting of rice doused in whatever sauce they fancy and several side dishes. The snacks looked nice but because Adam and I were keen on having dinner, we decided that nasi kandar plus roti chanai to share was the way to go.
We ordered a biryani rice nasi kandar with a selection of 3 side dishes ($12). There were about eight different items on the menu, all of which sounded yummy but we ended up with the curry chicken, fried calamari and curried goat. The sauce that was poured all over the rice was a curry chicken sauce. We were under the assumption that this dish would be cooked to order so imagine our surprise when we saw that it was actually being dished out from the bain marie at the counter (NB: I did not see the bain marie prior to ordering the dish). To our horror, our food was not only verging on cold, it was bland. Most disappointingly, the rice was devoid of any complex flavours that biryani’s from Indian restaurants in town could easily offer.
We also shared a roti chanai ($4) which, thankfully, was cooked to order. The roti was fine, nothing out of the world though. The curry sauce they served with the roti, however, was bland as was the sambal.
Our meal was nothing short of disappointing, though I guess it was because we ordered the wrong things. I guess I shouldn’t be quick to discount this place as it seems pretty popular with the Asian crowd and plus, the snacks were going off like hotcakes. I might give this place a second chance if I feel like something to graze on one afternoon. Heck, I also wouldn’t mind a kaya toast for breakfast sometime. As long as it’s not from the bain marie, that is.