15 July 2014

Kaki Lima Restaurant ~ Malaysian - Kensington [CLOSED]

The ladies at Kaki Lima Restaurant have a cooking style we've come to appreciate even more over the years and after countless Malaysian restaurant feeds and a couple of trips to Malaysia. The food has a Malay touch,  a delicate touch, we reckon it's a bit special.


Kaki Lima Restaurant began life as Kaki Lima Cafe in a tiny closet of a shop in Kingsford. We were devastated when the cafe closed, but for some reason it's taken us a couple of years to get around to trying the cafe's big sister, Kaki Lima Restaurant, we thought it might be too upmarket for our inverse snobbery, but it's not, it's just right.

Kaki Lima Restaurant is bright and airy, it's clean and nicely decorated with a few knick knacks, but not too much. It's a lot bigger than the squishy old cafe though still a small restaurant. It's casual and nice enough to bring your mum, but we do miss the old cafe, it felt more 'overseas'.

The boss lady tells us the kitchen was simply too small at the old cafe. The location here isn't quite as good for them we reckon, it's that little bit further away from UNSW for the student crowd, and this stretch of road has little of the weekend lunchtime pedestrian traffic that the Kingsford strip does.

We've eaten at Kaki Lima few times over the last couple of months and had a little 'woohoo' moment every time. Kaki Lima is run by Malay folks which is a bit of a rarity in Sydney. The ladies have a special Malay knack with spices and the cooking has a homely touch. We dig. We unashamedly gush. We love Kaki Lima.

Curry mee - $10 from the blackboard specials. Like a laksa - a thicker coconut-y gravy with yellow noodles.

Chicken laksa ($10) - is similar to the curry mee but with thin rice noodles that have nice bouncy bite-y texture to them. We are usually ho-hum about laksa but this one is a beauty, the broth has depth and spice to it with a citrus fragrance.

Nasi lemak - $10. The classic Malaysian breakfast dish of coconut rice with spicy sambal sauce, peanuts and crunchy anchovies, a googie egg and curry chicken (or beef rendang). We love how nasi lemak differs from joint to joint, and Kaki Lima makes a beauty. Some folks judge their nasi lemak on the rice, others on the sambal, others on the protein. We love the sum of it's parts, how it all goes together.

Nasi ayam - $10. Chicken flavoured rice with a piece of fried (or steamed chook), served with chili, fresh ginger and a soy/vinegar sauce. The chicken has a nice light crunch to the lightly seasoned skin. The flesh is dry but the magic happens when you pour on the sauces on top. Hoochimama.

Mee rebus - $10. Yellow egg noodles in a thick gravy/curry/soup tasting of tumeric. According to wikipedia mee rebus broth is made with potato, which would explain the lovely thick, smooth texture. It's mildly sweet and spicy and given extra oomf with chopped tofu, small fried potato pieces (chippies!) and a dollop of sambal on top. We've tried mee rebus a couple of times in other restaurants in Sydney where it's been overly sweet and borderline awful. But this mee rebus is wonderful - the balance of sweet and spice is spot on. Highly recommended.

Mee bandung - $12. Mee bandung is a noodle soup with thick yellow egg noodles in a thick broth that reminds us of tomato soup, perhaps with a tamarind kick to it. Our favourite part is where the runny egg yolk melds with the broth. Mumma. There's also various meats and veggies swimming around. It's the kind of dish that you could easily get very wrong with just a little more sugar, but the chef here has a magic touch.

Mee goreng - $10. Spicy stir fried yellow egg noodles with egg, tofu, veg and probably a bit of chicken. This mee goreng is ballsy, spicy and full of flavour and wow. We're recent mee goreng converts after our last trip to Malaysia. We haven't tried many in Sydney but this is our favourite so far by a long shot.

We can never resist the sweeties at Kaki Lima. They're only $2 a pop and always taste fresh and home made. We'd bet the drinks still taste like Malaysia as they did at the old Kaki Lima Cafe.

Speaking of kuchings, this post was brought to you by Joffrey J. Pussycat of Enmore, surveying his kingdom from his pussycat throne.

Kaki Lima Restaurant is at 3/230 Anzac Parade, Kensington. Phone 9662 6868. https://www.facebook.com/k5restaurant

Kaki Lima Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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