I really can’t remember the last time I set foot in Sydney Kopitiam Cafe but something tells me it was about a decade ago when 2009 was my postcode. Yup, that would be Pyrmont. Why so long between visits? I’m shrugging my shoulders. I just never get to Ultimo, I guess, or that part of it. I was reminded of Kopitiam Cafe by a Malaysian girl that worked at Straits Kaffe in Erskineville when I asked her where she goes for her fix of Malaysian food in Sydney. “Forget Mamak” she said, “The closest I can find to real Malaysian food in Sydney is at Kopitiam”. That was a year ago, when we had the discussion, then life got in the way of me returning to this little kopitiam on Harris Street, Ultimo.
Well here we have it. I’ve broken the drought. A quick lunch in a place that hasn’t changed much other than with fresh green walls, by the look of it. One thing I must add is that on this particular day my sinus was so congested I lost almost all of my sense of taste. If my eyes were shut, you could have dipped a McDonalds burger into an ash tray and fed it to me saying it was foie gras with shaved black truffle. I wouldn’t have tasted the difference. Why was I eating out with one of my senses on sick leave? Because it’s better than sitting at home.
People can’t help themselves with teh tarik, you know, the milky stuff that’s “pulled” to make it frothy. I’m not a tea drinker so it’s wasted on someone like me; as is the iced variety. I’d rather get my lips around an over-sized straw poking out of a chilled glass of soya milk with grass jelly (4), a refreshing beverage I’ve since learnt has been dubbed “Michael Jackson” by many South East Asians. Thanks to my congestion all I picked up on was some very slight sweetness and that very familiar jelly sloshing about my mouth.
The hainanese chicken (10.8) looked really good, swimming in a shallow pool of soy sauce which was an usual approach to this dish. The meat is skinless and boneless plus very soft and tender. As for the taste, well, I couldn’t tell you about that. Damn this is annoying! The other half said it tasted quite nice, just a bit heavy on the salt thanks to the dark pool of soy.
The sate chicken (7.5) skewers looked like they should taste great, and apparently they did, but all I picked up on was a slight caramel flavour and small pieces of what was probably ginger and lemongrass in the marinade. Another nice dish that I need to go back for when my nose is functioning as it should. I asked for clay pot loh see fun (10.8) despite it not being on the menu and was pleased when I heard they did it. It may not come in a traditional clay pot but it sure does look like the real deal. The rice noodles are shaped like rats tails, hence the name, and it’s heavy in dark soy, some pork mince, bean sprouts, chilli and chopped green beans. I’m sure there are many variations out there but the one here at Kopitiam Cafe is pretty damn special. That’s what the other half thinks, anyway, as I only picked up on a little saltiness from the soy. Loved the texture!
Ok, let’s get out of here. There’s no point in doing an ais kacang just to perpetuate this tasteless torture that was already pissing me off. Note to self – return to Sydney Kopitiam Cafe asap.