Ever since my son was born, I don't get to eat out in the city very often anymore. That is why I don't do a lot of restaurant reviews on my blog (although my blog is primarily for cooking and recipes anyway). However, last week while my family were in town visiting from Malaysia, I took them to Queen Victoria Market one fine afternoon and we ventured down Elizabeth St looking for lunch. Naturally, we were drawn to Coconut House for several reasons:
- Coconut House has two outlets within 20 feet from each other on the same street. For a restaurant to have two outlets on the same street, they must be doing pretty well!
- The restaurants were both packed - not only were they packed, they were packed with Asians. That is always a good indication of the quality and authenticity of the meals.
- The menu features so many mouth watering options, we couldn't resist!
Our family decided we would order a few dishes and share them amongst ourselves. That way we get to taste each dish! Very good way of enjoying food when you don't know what to order for yourself because there are too many yummy options!
I personally was immediately drawn to the Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng. I couldn't wait to tuck into that spicy sambal and coconut rice, that fried chicken and perfectly cooked egg. It was the perfect winter meal for me, and I was quite impressed with the portion of my meal considering I paid less than $10 for it.
Because the restaurant was so packed, we had to sit outside in the cold so we ordered some hot Teh Tarik (Pulled Tea) to warm ourselves up. It was a lovely, smooth sweet milk tea.. almost like a hot chocolate on a cold day.
We also ordered the Sizzling Noodle Hot Plate with Chicken and Seafood. To be honest, it wasn't my favorite. I thought it tasted pretty bland compared to my spicy Nasi Lemak! It probably would've tasted more flavoursome if I hadn't been eating a spicy dish alongside it.
Our highlight for the day was definitely the Bak Kut Teh. The weather was so cold, that the hot and steaming herbal soup tasted like heaven. Every traditional component of this dish was perfect. The pork was deliciously tender and the mushrooms, tofu and all the random parts of the pig thrown into the soup tasted like the ultimate winter comfort food. When I asked my parents (who are die hard Bak Kut Teh fans) whether it was as good as the BKT from back home in Malaysia, they claimed it didn't taste "strong" enough... but I was pretty happy! Any stronger and the herbs would've been overpowering I thought. Besides, they needed to "tone it down" to suit the tastebuds of people trying this dish for the first time anyway, especially non-Asians. This dish is served piping hot, with a bowl of rice.
So overall, I was pretty happy with Coconut House! We had four dishes and two drinks and only paid $42 altogether - pretty affordable for Melbourne standards. I just wish there was a Malaysian restaurant as good as this closer to home in the South Eastern suburbs... especially in Berwick. Sadly not many quality Asian options here in Berwick. Thankfully, all I have to do is cook at home and get my fix!