Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Nasi Lemak House

Since moving around the corner from Malymas in Fitzroy North my desire to eat Malaysian has exponentially increased, as has my thirst for finding THE BEST GOD DAMN MALAYSIAN THIS CITY HAS TO OFFER! Having Singaporean heritage has always meant an extra healthy intake of laksas, char kway teow, curries, nasi lemak and so forth making me at times quite finicky about quality/authenticity when I eat out. Malaymas has always been hit and miss for me, and upon discussion of other options in the Carlton / Fitzroy area KH and I decided to try Nasi Lemak House. Why I hadn't ever been to this institution during Melbourne Uni days baffles me, but ain't nothing wrong with joining the party now.

Nasi Lemak House
113 Grattan Street
Open:Mon-Sun lunch & dinner (close ~10pm)
BYO: Nada, no booze but drink the barley tea!

 Nasi Lemak House on Urbanspoon

 The decor and service are basic, but I always believe this to be inversely related to quality of South East Asian food. There are exceptions to the rule of course (Camy Dumpling House I will NEVER EVER EVER return) but for Nasi Lemak House this still rings true. You order up at the counter and get a ticket, collect your own cutlery and sit down. This is generally followed by glaring at other customers already eating their meals, and "ooh's" and "aaaaaah's" everytime something new comes out.

The menu is broken into 3 sections: Nasi Lemak Originals, Vegetarian, and Hawker specials. I pretty much wanted to order everything, but thought best to stick with the originals and explore other territories later. I was feeling fragile from the night before so was aching for some fried chicken.. but tempted by the fried calamari, so ended up ordering the Nasi Lemak Langkawi $11 with an extra piece of fried chicken. And a cup of barley tea $1.30 (SO CHEAP LAH!). The nasi lemak langkawi included deep fried calamari topped with 'sweet and spicy' sauce, served with the usual nasi lemak suspects of a fried egg, ikan bilis (fried anchovies), peanuts, sambal, cucumber and coconut rice. One point of difference at NLH is serving dishes with pappadums instead of roti. The calamari wasn't mindblowing, in fact it is quite plain, so I think next time I'd just get the original chicken nasi lemak. A small irk was the fried egg was way overcooked.

Check out the size of this fried chicken, cowabloodybunga! You could kill someone with that à la serial mom. ( for inspiration see here).


 KH ordered off the Hawker Specials menu and opted for the Traditional Curry Laksa $10.90. This was a rich and creamy broth with chicken, fish balls, tofu puffs, bean shoots, spring onion and hokkien noodles. This is a gold standard laksa if you are into the heavier styles (but seriously, who wants a watery laksa?), and I will definitely be ordering this in the future. The pappadums work well in this dish, and I think if you had a big hunka roti there would be a slight chance of a coronary episode.

It was like a pot of gold when it came out, there aren't many times flash works in your favour but I think I struck..er..gold here. KH had a case of the laksa blush hence sexy photoshop (DISCLAIMER: KH is 26187326876178999 times more attractive than the paint job suggests). And no I don't think I am perez hilton.

The Real Deal

So all in all, Nasi Lemak House surpassed my expectations and now I fear I'll never go back to Malaymas (Malaymas CKT is great though).. which is a shame because it's about 60 seconds away from home. Sigh.  I can't wait to go back and try some of the other dishes, especially the Wat Dan Crispy Mee which looked like some sort of delicious gravy laden birds nest (maybe not the best description).

Later during the week when I was walking just around the corner from Nasi Lemak House I saw this sign up at Subway (Corner Grattan and Swanston). Pretty impressed - I hope this initiative takes off!

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