Let me begin by saying, I have no knowledge of Malaysian/Singapore foods. I don’t know what is considered authentic and don’t know what authentic should taste like. However, after seeing all the rave reviews for this place, and after reading my friend K’s recent visit, I was very determined to go give them a visit. Another factor is that this is a small mom and pop type shop (that I love supporting) and the prices are very reasonable. So hubby, sonny and I finally decided to come here for lunch last Thursday. As K experienced, we haven’t even fully enter into the restaurant and the owner already had a high chair ready for us. Wow. As part of the terrible twos though, my son is completely refusing to sit in high chairs… sigh. As a result nowadays when we go out to eat he always runs around… unless I can find him a booster seat. Even then he may not stay in it the whole entire time.
Here’s what we tried today:
Laksa – $7.50
Even though I have a low tolerance for spicy foods, I know the heat in here gets toned down a lot by the coconut milk. Spoonful after spoonful of the soup, my lips tingled a bit but I didn’t mind at all b/c it was so delicious! The owner gave me a choice of vermicelli and lai fun – I chose the latter just b/c I think it will go better with this soup. There was a good amount of shrimp, fish balls, tofu pockets, imitation crab, lettuce and half a boiled egg – garnished with crispy shallots and green onions. I loved this. I loved it so much I wanted to come back here the next day to eat it again! This was served with their house made sambal which was a bit spicy for me so I didn’t use it all, but I had to taste it!
Nasi Lemak with Beef Rendang – $8.99
With this rice special, you have a choice of various meats but we chose beef rendang b/c hubby loves 牛腩 (beef brisket). Nasi Lemak is the coconut rice. This was a very well executed dish and hubby kept saying how much he loved it b/c it tasted so simple, and tasted so home cooked. He also wanted to remember where this place was (I drove that day so he wasn’t paying attention) so he can come back and eat it on his own when I’m not around – looks like I got him hooked! So according to my online research this is more of an Indonesian dish and the spices used to cook this ranges from star anise, tamarind, coconut, cinnamon, lemongrass, cardamom pods… not planning to experiment this just yet. I found that it had a slight spiciness to it (again, nothing that I can’t tolerate) but it was welcoming. The sweetness of the coconut rice brought a balance to the spiciness anyway. I’d love to eat the entire plate myself next time!
Wonton Kolo Mee – $7.50
Kolo Mee, translates to 干撈麵, is a type of dry, tossed noodles. Since the soup is served separately for this dish, the flavor relies heavily on the type of sauce/mixture that is tossed with the noodles. I ordered this for my toddler who loves noodle and he definitely liked this! Tossed with somewhat of an oily meat mixture, I do find the noodles a tad greasy. I think the mixture consists mainly of ground pork and shallots. I know the pickled green chilies will help cut down the grease, but it’s not my thing so I didn’t use it. The noodles were cooked perfectly – soft, springy and still had a good bite to it. I also really liked this noodle. The wontons were fried and I found them a tad salty. I didn’t try the soup so I can’t comment on it.
Condiments – Pickled Green Chilies and House Made Sambal
This was an awesome meal. I can’t believe we have such a gem here in Calgary! This year I resolve to try more ethnic foods and eat more at local mom and pop shops vs fine dining/chain restaurants etc. and this definitely fits in nicely. When I went up to pay the owner asked if it was my first time here, and I told him I really liked the food! We went during lunch so there was quite a few diners. I only wish they would open for dinner so I can come here more often – as of now I can only visit on Saturdays (or if I’m off during an odd weekday again). Do note that they only take cash or debit.
ETA (February 15, 2013) – I am very sad to report that the restaurant decided to do quite a drastic price hike since my last visit as of a week ago. Every dish has increased from anywhere between $1.00-$1.75 and I bet it’s because of the recent review that John Gilchrist did. I understand it’s costly to run a business but with the Nasi Lemak jumping from $8.99 to $10.75…? Seriously? What’s wrong with a 50 cent modest increase? Way to ride the fame!!