Posts Tagged ‘malaysian’

30
Apr
2009

Jessie’s Curry Kitchen

Satisfaction

Finally back to the business of eating in Perth. I have long been missing the love of a good honest curry. Since the fateful closing of Suraj last year, there’s been a curry shaped void in my life that no amount of franchised Indian restaurants could fill.

Enter the charming Jessie and her curry kitchen.

Situated in a barely recognisable corner of Inglewood on the Beaufort St strip that holds so much potential for both greatness and disaster for potential dinner goers, you probably wouldn’t know it was there. If you did happen to walk past it, you’d more than likely assume it was just a dull little suburban Indian takeaway store and continue on your way to get a dodgy kebab… but then you’d be wrong.

What Jessie’s Curry Kitchen lacks in style, it makes up for abundantly in substance. Jessie works the kitchen, and her husband Jeya works the floor. Everything is made from scratch in the kitchen and the curries have a special quality to them that can only be construed as “love”.

The menu is a mixture of Indian and Malaysian dishes. There’s dosai, chapati, roti paratha, and selection of basic curries described succinctly as “chicken butter curry”, “chicken curry”, “fish curry”, “lamb curry”. No need for superfluous explanations or derivations as the flavours stand for themselves. The fish curry we had consisted of mackeral and had a texture so meaty I could have sworn it was chicken if I closed my eyes. I’m not sure if that’s a great compliment but for something so unassuming to completely surprise me is a rare and special thing. The lamb curry brims with clove and star anise, but doesn’t attack the senses. In fact all the dishes are quite reserved in the Johnny Cash (Ring of fire) sense.

Being from Sri Lanka originally before moving to Malaysia, there is also the added bonus of String Hoppers served up on weekends. They’re little bundles of rice noodles woven together into flat circles, and make a fantastic way to mop up dahl and curry.

Jessies Curry Kitchen : MenusCharles Melton : Rose of Virginia2007 Chalk Hill BarberaEye level BarberaJessies Curry Kitchen: Fish CurryJessies Curry Kitchen : Lamb CurryJessies Curry Kitchen : Chicken BiryaniJessies Curry Kitchen : Minimal ChicJessie in her kitchenDahlJessies Curry Kitchen : String HoppersJessies Curry Kitchen : ChapatiSatisfactionJessies Curry Kitchen : DoneJessies Curry KitchenJessies Curry Kitchen

On my most recent visit to Jessies with my dining entourage the meal started off with samosas, then moved on to every different type of curry, dahl, chicken biryani, hoppers, and roti. There was 6 of us, and I think the total bill came to around $114. Which was plainly ridiculous given the amount of gorging we’d all just done. Add to the fact that I don’t think Jeya charges anything for corkage, so the 3 or 4 bottles of wine consumed over the course of an hour or two were well and truly worth it. On a side note, I’m still to find a great wine to pair with curry, although a glass of Charles Melton “Rose of Virginia” donated by Mr Wino-sapien & family was perhaps a better choice than my Chalk Hill Barbera, which on it’s own is quite stunning, but with curry just seems to confuse things.

All romanticism aside, the place is small, pokey, hard to find if you aren’t looking, and has about as much atmosphere as a dentists waiting room, but once the food arrives it all just makes sense. Each time I’ve been there I’ve had strange moments where I catch the eyes of other diners and we share a look that somehow indicates we’re in the know. It’s a nod of the head and a sly smile (which could just indicate I’m about to get lucky) that says somehow we’re onto something here that no one else recognises, somehow we’ve come to find something quite special. And I completely agree.

Jessie’s Curry Kitchen & Cafe
869 Beaufort Street
Inglewood

Opening hours:
Wed to Sun: 11:00am to 2:30pm
5:30pm to 8:30pm
Mon: 11am to 2:30pm
Ph: 9271 8528

Jessie's Curry Kitchen and Cafe on Urbanspoon

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06
Sep
2007

Return to Ria

Nonya Achard Fish

Ok, well this is probably a lot longer coming than it should have been, and a testament to the fact that I’ve been off gallivanting around the countryside far too much, because I haven’t been back to Ria in quite a while now.

For the unacquainted (or out of towners), Ria is a wonderful restaurant in Leederville, that serves up an array of Malaysian dishes, in a trendy and informal setting. Nothing too indepth about the food this time, other than my stance on what is “authentic” is as firm as ever (i.e: If the food tastes good, I couldn’t care less how authentic it is).

I was lucky enough to be joined on this latest expedition by Grendel, Mrs Grendel, and 2 x junior Grendels, as well as Kam, Justin + Irene (trusting lender of expensive cameras), the ever lovely Sharon, and potato growing, bike riding, Irish/Kiwi valkyrie Lorraine.

Ria : Authentic Malaysian Food Waiting for food Blanc de Blancs Nonya Achard Fish Chinese Shredded Beef Mums Lo Ak (carmelized duck) Almond Chicken  interior Red Bean Puffs with Vanilla Ice Cream Coconut Sago with pear 

So after finally making it into the place (that doesn’t take bookings) with 10 people, I had to struggle not to pry the vegemite sandwiches from the hands of a junior Grendel with discerning tastes. Then ordered essentially everything that looked good on the menu (most of it).

Prices of the dishes vary, but the majority of the curry dishes are around $18 – $20, a few other dishes cost more of less, depending on what’s in them.

Stand outs… definitely Mum’s Lo Ak, a caramelised duck covered in a rich sticky sauce, and the Nonya Achard Fish; a deep fried fillet smothered in sesame seeds and dressed with a chilli viniagrette.

Wine was a Pinot Blanc by Hugo & Fils of Alsace, well chosen by Kam.

Dessert (for me at least), was a delicious sago in coconut milk, with a dark sugar syrup hiding underneath.

All up, another outstanding Ria experience, and a great night shared with old and new friends. If you’ve been waiting to try this place out, now is definitely the time.

Coconut Sago with pear

Ria Authentic Malaysian
Unit 1
160 Oxford St
Leederville 6007 WA
Phone: (08) 9328 2998

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13
Feb
2007

A (Curry) Night to Remember

Curry !

I had the idea recently of organising a little curry night. I’ve been getting into all sorts of curry over the past couple of years, spurred on by Sharon introducing me to some excellent Malaysian curry. I’d never really understood the curry before then. I just figured it was a hot spicey kind of soup that other people ate, and that I didn’t like. I’m not sure why I had that idea, but I think it’s an important one to get rid of if you ever want to experience all the world of food has to offer.

Since then I haven’t looked back, having tried out a whole range of Malaysian, Thai, Southern Indian, North Indian, and Vietnamese curries, a good number of Moroccan tajines (which are almost kinda like curry), and doing my best to avoid Japanese curry, which still defies all logic.

So just last Saturday night a few of our closest curry making friends dropped by to share the love, and the food in their own special way. Sharon and I spent the better part of the day procuring supplies from Kongs (the local Asian supermarket), and preparing the base for her curry. I’m always amazed walking around in those places… it’s like, just when you think you have a pretty decent grasp on a type of food, you step one foot into a store, look around, realise you don’t know what even half of the stuff is for, and suddenly feel very small again.

A recent discovery along those lines for me personally was Asafoetida… which i’m sure is pretty common to my sub continental readers, but was a complete mystery to me. Turns out it’s a kind of spice made from the resin extracted out of the stems and roots of the Ferula plant, and is used particularly by Indians who are practitioners of Jainism, as a replacement for certain foods (onions, ginger, garlic) that they aren’t allowed to eat.

That has nothing to do with this post of course, other than to state formally that I still know bugger all about a great many things… and any education my learned readers are able to give is always appreciated.

So on to the curries.

Dan and Mabel brought a lovely lamb curry, I would say vindaloo, but I might be wrong, so i’ll stay general for now.
Dave and Mel also brought a lamb curry, this was a southern Indian style dish with no coconut milk and a predominant clove, cinnamon flavour to it.
Jen and Ben brought a Bicol Express (!). My first experience with Filipino curry and apparently one of the few of such dishes that exist in the Phillipines, It’s basically pork, chicken, beans, chilli, tumeric, and… ummm, stuff. Very tasty indeed and sadly too hot for the creator to manage, but well done Jen for taking one for the team.

Sharon made a Malaysian chicken curry. This one had a lot of ginger, chilli, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, garlic, onion, tumeric… all blended into a wonderful paste that got smeared all over the chicken (one the bone) while they cooked away for a good few hours til nice and fall apart-ified.
I was stuck for options, not having a home land from which to draw curry making experience from I either had to choose from my list of previous conquests that turned out ok, or tread the lonely road of experimental curry making.

Lamb curry Duck Curry

Plucking up all my courage, I turned the pages of Mel’s curry book she had kindly lent me, and settled on one that looked sufficiently different yet still tasty… Duck curry. A slightly odd choice perhaps, and not the most well known of all curries, but it was in the book dammit, and apparently is quite popular in the Kerala region of India where water fowl are more prevalent, and clearly not fast enough to not get eaten.

So I started with Duck breast… three of em, skinned and cubed. Fried a little fenugreek and fennel seeds in some oil and then added a whole onion, two green chillis, and a good dose of shredded ginger. When that was nice and soft I added some more chilli powder and a dash of turmeric. To that lovely concoction went the duck breast, to get coated and loved with all the spices and flavours. The rest was simple, throw in a few baby potatoes, a handful of curry leaves and a spash or three of coconut cream, and Babu’s your uncle. It turned out pretty darn good even if I do say so myself, and I do… Of course I am the worlds most biased food critic, and can quite easily overlook the slighty dry and somewhat gamey texture of the duck, which perhaps would have been nicer had I used it on the bone and cooked it for a couple more hours. Still, it was a triumph for experimental curriests the world over, and a great first effort.

Mel's mango cocunut puddings

We finished off with these lovely little mango and coconut puddings that Mel lovingly coaxed out their shells and served with a good dollop of ice cream.

All in all a great night, and like all things curry, the best was yet to come. Two days later and I’m still going strong with the left overs, and as much as a fan of Johnny Cash I am, there hasn’t been one ring of fire to speak of. Thanks to everyone for putting in the effort and all I can say is the next one will have some huge expectations… Anyone know where I can buy Iguana ?

02
Nov
2006

Ria: Authentic Malaysian

This is restaurant review in as few words as I can manage.

I went to Ria recently with my fellow bloggers from Perth Norg, for a bit of a get together and to see what we could see. I had previously heard some quasi Malaysian friend of a friend bagging it out for not being ‘authentic’, which made me wonder if it was any good or not. What I’ve since realised after going there is that the only thing that probably wasn’t authentic enough was the price, and the fact that some actual care has gone into the food rather than just throwing it onto a plate and grunting in your general direction (ala many of the Malaysian restaurants I’ve been too).

Now I’m not going to put myself up to be some kind of expert on Malaysian food, or curry, or really anything to do with original authenticity of ethnic dishes… personally the ‘authentic’ debate doesn’t interest me. It’s tired and is constantly pulled out as a reason to dislike a style of food or restaurant for unjustified reasons. Just because someone makes a style of curry in a different way than your great great great grandmother who originated from the very village where it was FIRST CREATED EVER… it doesn’t mean it is a bad meal. It just means it different. Funny little word that, but a very significant one. If uniformity in food was a good thing, then we’d all be eating at McDonalds and Han’s (and that’s a world I don’t want to have to imagine).

The nature of food in Australia is such that it is inherently a conglomeration (avoiding the word ‘fusion’) of many different types of food. You’ve got ye olde English roasts, your Irish stews, the huge Mediterranean influence of Italian, Greek, and French food, all manner of styles of Asian cooking, and most recently the middle eastern and African migrants bringing lots of lovely spices and styles for us to absorb into the ever growing organism that is the Australian diet.

So onto the restaurant. It’s kinda funky and relaxed, up market but not overly wanky. It is Leederville after all… If it was in Subiaco it would probably have turned out like Buddha Bar, which would not be a good thing. The restaurant is run by chef Deborah Ting and her husband Richard Serrano, who apparently got bored of cooking Italian food, closed up the shop, and reopened as Ria. She is Malaysian Chinese, and the food takes into account a lot of family recipes that she has given her own particular style. It’s quite hard to describe the food, but hearty currys and piquant flavours flow through the whole menu. Look up the style of cooking that is Nonya, and you’ll get a good idea of what some of the food is like.

Her signature dish is a braised caramelised duck called ‘Mum’s lok ak’, and its superb.
Other things we tried were the Chinese Shredded Beef and a Beef Rendang, along with some bok choy and tofu as a side. All very tasty and surprisingly moreish. So much so that I went back the next night to try a few more dishes.

Knowing Sharon would be keen to try this place out too, we headed back again on a Thursday night, after having just eaten there the night before. This time we ordered a chicken and chickpea curry, a lamb curry with star anise, the Nonya Acar Fish (absolute stand out), rice, more bok choy and a bottle of wine. Which was in fact more than we’d ordered the night before when we had 4 people.

Second time around it didn’t disappoint either. We also managed to do some star spotting with ‘HG Nelson‘ apparently in town, and stopping by for a casual dinner with his lady friend.
My only complaint about the place was that our waiter looked like had never carried more than one plate before in his life, and I was expecting to wear half of the dishes he brought over as he shakily fumbled them onto the table. That an the fact that he decided to finish his shift before asking if we wanted any desserts didn’t help either. But I’m not going to write off a place for a couple of oversights.

All in all the food was excellent, the vibe relaxed and happy, and the price just right to not break the bank while probably sending the majority of people who bemoan ‘newfangled’ upmarket restaurants that make traditionally based foods, back to food court land to get their fill of cheap eats with plastic forks. Most dishes are around $18 or so, and substantial enough so that you don’t feel ripped off.

So yeh…that’s all. Go try it, authentic or not, it’s intensely tasty… and keep your eyes out for some Nonya inspired meals coming to an Abstract Gourmet near you soon.

Ria Authentic Malaysian Food
Unit 1
160 Oxford St
Leederville 6007 WA
Phone: (08) 9328 2998