Straits Cafe

25 September 2010
Straits Café @ 694 Doncaster Road, Doncaster

Admittedly, the first time I visited Straits Cafe, I did not taste any of its food. I recall excitedly peering out the window trying to locate this Malaysian hawker restaurant that had attracted so many fantastic reviews. However, as we steadily pulled up to front of the restaurant, my enthusiasm quickly waned. Straits presented as a dingy looking food joint faced with the ever present spectre of potential food safety inspection failure. I was horrified to say the least. Without so much as stopping the car, we hurriedly left to find a safer dining option for the night.

A few weeks later, I spoke to a friend who had not only heard of this little hole in the wall, but assured me that that the Malaysian food is as good as the reviews say it is – tasty, authentic and cheap. I decided to return. And I’m glad I did.

Straits cooks up one of the better renditions of the popular hawker dish, Char Kway Teow. The version at Straits contains stir fried flat rice noodles, prawns, Chinese sausage, squid, fish cakes and egg. The beauty of this dish lies in the cooking oil that has been infused with all the spices, meats and vegetables that have made their way into the wok throughout the night. This smoky infused oil unctuously coats each and every strand of noodle to create a thoroughly appetizing dish. As unhealthy as the dish may sound, the oily goodness simply cannot be resisted. 

The Lobak is an appetiser containing small pieces of fatty chicken that have been wrapped in a beancurd skin and lightly fried. As you bite through the crispy beancurd, you are greeted with a mouthwatering piece of juicy, tender chicken. The sweet chilli sauce adds the finishing touch.

The Assam Laksa is also worthy of a mention. It is a tamarind fish-based noodle soup flavoured with pineapple, onions, cucumber and mint. This is a sensational dish that is packed full of flavour. But be warned, if you don't generally like to pucker up, it may pay to steer away.
This weekend, I decided to shy away from my usual order of Char Kway Teow and Lobak. Instead, I substituted the former with a special of the night, the Oyster Omelette.

The Oyster Omelette contains layers of egg and tapioca-based flour paste, with oysters, scallions, coriander and garlic scattered throughout. The dish is finished off with a coriander garnish and is served with a side of chilli sauce. Like most of the dishes at Straits, the Oyster Omelette is on the heavy side of oily. However, all is generally forgotten when you take your first bite. For $16, the liberal serve of oysters makes it a reasonably priced dish. It’s a shame that this oyster dish is not frequently available at other Malaysian restaurants in Melbourne.

I couldn’t tell you the number of times I’ve dined at Straits. As the old saying goes, never judge a book by its cover. 

Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)


Straits Cafe on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

FyZ said...

Perhaps it was my particular choices, but i have yet to be impressed by Straits. I think you have said all that is needed in terms of the atmosphere and condition of the restaurant - it is dingy, to say the least. Perhaps i will have to try some of those particular dishes you have mentioned in this review to have a better opinion - but at the moment, nothing too pleasant to say (maybe it was overhyped for me - meh..).

On another note, perhaps it is worth considering ratings for these reviews?

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