Several months back I was wandering down York Street when I just happened to notice that Jaipur Maharaja had closed and a Malaysian place was about to move in. Nice one. I never really made it to the Indian joint but something told me I’d definitely make it to Ipoh on York. It’s always good to have another lunch option close to work and when it’s Malaysian, I’d say that’s a bonus.
The friendly girls at the service counter are exceedingly sweet and now that they recognise me as a “regular” they’re chummy and cheeky as well. If anyone has been to Jimmy’s Recipe at The Galeries they’ll recognise a familiar mural on the wall here at Ipoh. Something tells me the two restaurants are in cahoots, sharing the same outfit down to the wooden tables and too-short-for-lanky-freaks-like-me stools. At least there are regular chairs. The whole place feels like an under-dressed Asian cafeteria, sprawling between two basement eating spaces, one of which is tucked around the side on a slightly higher level.
A bunch of solo lunch visits plus a couple with Anna had me trying a few tasty bits on the brief menu. I’ll start with the meal I wasn’t all that crash hot about. The seafood kway teow sirum (11.5). Strips of seafood extender (something I actually don’t mind eating), fish cake, fish balls, some squid, a chunk of white fish and a lone prawn. The noodles barely had the expected wok flavour, a thickened opaque sauce that resembled uncooked egg white and overall a plate of food that required very little chewing. Haven’t had one quite like it. Not sure if I want to again. My accompanying cuffy puff (2.8) made up for the lusterless noodle dish. It’s generous in dimensions, lukewarm but packed with mildly-curried potato and other veg.
Now, onto something a little more positive. Something that took me by surprise. The wonton laksa (9.5). I think everyone’s quietly on the hunt for the best laksa they can possibly consume and stain their work shirts with. On this particular day I felt I hit some kind of jackpot. The colour looked good, the level of chilli was comparable to one I had in Langkawi many many years ago and the spice sediment lurking in the depths with the two types of noodles packed a wallop as well. Creamy, rich and the best I’ve had for quite some time.
Anna tried the chicken laksa and declares it as being better than the one at Malay-Chinese up on Hunter. I’m inclined to agree, especially since the last one I had at M-C wasn’t as great as previous visits. Equally delicious is the beef rendang (9.5), scented with lime leaves and so tender it needs next to no chewing. The murtabak (8.5) is generously drowned in spicy curry sauce. Drowned in a good way as I’m loving the sauce mushed up with the chicken wrapped in roti. Another dish where the chilli smacks you around the face a little. The hainan chicken (10.5) is of the average kind, nice enough even though the skinless breast was dry and the har mee (10.5) is quite mild in the chilli stakes but nothing a good dose of sambal can’t fix. A few fishcake slices waft about with strips of chicken, noodles and very little prawn.
For all the visits, four or five of them now, I asked for the otah otah [sic] but every time I’m told they don’t have it on that day. My last visit I’m told it’s on just one day of the week, yet there’s no indication as to what day that may be. Something tells me the kitchen just couldn’t be bothered making it, along with the teh Tarik I’ve been requesting off the menu as well. Mr Ipoh, please email me when you’re in the mood for it?