When I was in Brisbane visiting my family recently my sister suggested we try a Malaysian place she has driven past countless times, yet never bothered to drop in. Her kids were on school holidays so our gaggle descended upon Malaysia Makanan for lunch before I headed off to the airport to fly home.
Located just down the road from The Calamvale, a place I used to visit many times back in the late 80’s when I lived in Brisbane, the restaurant is perched at the end of an unappealing strip of shops in the middle of Calamvale suburbia. The menu is a diluted version of some of the Malay places I’m used to but does have a few classics I made sure we ordered.
Fried wontons (6.9) was a safe choice for one of the kids that hadn’t tried Malaysian before. The crispy little parcels were teetering on flavourless but the sweet red sauce helped out in that department.
The glass wall on the kitchen gives you vision of the wok-tossing and a huge pot of bubbling satay sauce had me ordering the satay chicken (7.9). Sadly the skewers of chicken were snap-fried in oil rather than grilled, which rendered them a little over-cooked. Great sauce, however. The roti canai with beef rendang (11.9) was chewy and sodium rich and the chicken curry version was quite nice despite being very mild on the chilli content. The roti isn’t made inhouse and comes from a packet.
One of the kids orders the nasi lemak (12.9), a very brave move considering she’d never had it. I had to help her along with most of it as the ikan bilis, sambal eggs and pickled veg were a bit much for her. What are uncles for, right? Pretty good nasi lemak! The eldest tucks into a steaming bowl of wonton noodle (10.9) soup and gets halfway before declaring he’s not loving it. I give it a try and find it ok but what it was screaming out for was a good scoop of dried chilli in oil or sambal oelek. The youngest stuggles to get through his hainan chicken (10.9) rice as it resembled chicken a little too much. Kids! So again, uncle John to the rescue. I prefer my hainan chook on the room temp or warm side so the cold hacked-up breast was probably freaking the poor child out.
Sweet options are minimal. No roti with sugar or condensed milk but instead such things as deep-fried ice cream (4.8) with your choice of chocolate or strawberry topping and my hot bowl of black sticky rice with coconut cream (3.8). The kids loved their ice cream (not surprised) and my sticky rice was more like very runny congee with a drizzle of coconut milk. Nothing sticky here! The eldest gives my dessert a try and the only words he could conjure were “that tastes funky”. Kids!