Archive for the ‘Syd: Thornleigh’ Category

Makan at Alice, Thornleigh

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to go to Makan at Alice. It was Father’s day and I was trying to decide where to go for lunch and I remembered a couple of weeks ago that Makan at Alice won ‘Best Bang For A Buck’ in Sydney’s Time out Food Awards 2011.

As expected, the place was packed for Father’s day lunch. If you didn’t make a reservation, I doubt you would have gotten a table until very very late in the afternoon. I love the kue at the front of the counter, unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of it as I thought I would do it after lunch and they were ALL GONE!!!!! I didn’t get to buy any kue which was a shame but definitely an reason to come back!

They left all the ordering to me, which was a tad dangerous! Started with the roti canai with chicken curry. I love roti canai – the roti was deliciously flaky, smooth and crispy. The chicken curry was thick, creamy with a hint of spice was absolutely delicious! We couldn’t help but also get an extra serving of roti, they were just too good to past!

I thought the serving for Hainanese chicken rice could be larger. Not even half a chicken, a quarter of a chicken but admittedly it was deliciously tender and soft. The chicken rice was also nice, but I think for me, Shiok!* still has the best Hainanese chicken rice. I did like how it came with two sauces – a sweet soy-based sauce and a chili sauce – YUM!

The nasi goreng cooked with sweet kecap manis (thickened soy sauce) and a mix of prawns, chicken, peas, shallots and corn was tasty, I could smell the wok aroma but a little too salty for my liking.

Next came the wat tan hor – grilled rice noodle topped with thick egg gravy with seafood, pork and vegetables was a favourite amongst the diners. The rice noodles were cooked to perfection and egg gravy, thick and wonderful complement. Definitely one of my favourites!

The curry puffs – beef curry and potato in homemade pastry (4 per serve) was hands down the best curry puffs I have had in a long time! Crispy, flaky pastry, and generous servings of beef curry and potatoes – it was definitely hard to stop at one and no guessing who ate the extra one!

Butter prawns (with shell) – crispy prawns cooked in butter eggs, curry leaves and fresh chili was also wonderful. Prawns were deliciously moreish and plump and the sauce, a wonderful complement.

I love char kway teow (CKT), rice noodles in thick soy sauce with chinese sausage, seafood, chives and sprouts! I have to say, this was one of the nicest CKT I have had. The noodles cooked to perfection, and served with chinese sausage and seafood was wonderful. My only gripe would be there weren’t enough rice noodles to go around!

Last but not least, vegetables, the sambal beans which was fried with dried prawn and sambal belachan. As much as I enjoyed this, I still prefer kangkong.

Malaysian desserts is quite similar to that of Indonesian dessert. It certainly has been a while since I had ice kacang – shaved ice with grass jelly, creamed corn, red beans in gula melaka and milk. I love the colourful ice, it would be perfect for a hot summery day! There weren’t a lot of ‘stuff’ in it though – not like in Indonesia! Regardless, it was still quite tasty.

Cendol, homemade pandan strands, red bean jelly in coconut milk and gula melaka was incredibly sweet, so sweet that if you had the ice kacang afterwards it would not be sweet at all! Usually served in a glass, this was also refreshing but sickly sweet!

‘The Mother’ couldn’t help but order a glass of the teh tarik, pulled Malaysian milk tea, can be served either hot or cold, he opt for hot. I prefer the teh tarik here at Makan at Alice than in Mamak – as it has a more distinct tea taste than the extra condensed sweet taste.

Overall, thought the dishes were quite tasty and flavoursome. My favourites were definitely the curry puffs, roti canai and the CKT! I enjoyed it more than I had anticipated, a different option as we always go to Istana!

To my wonderful Dad, my Father-in-law and all the Fathers out there, hope you all had a fantastic day with family!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Makan at Alice

264 Pennant Hills Road

Thornleigh 2120

Ph: +61 2 9484 8288

makan@Alice's on Urbanspoon

Mothers Day Lunch @ Istana, Thornleigh

I timed my trip back quite well this time round, Mother’s day! It was good to be able to celebrate something with both my mother and my mother in law. I left it quite late in terms of organising, work has been chaotic but thankfully when I called Istana on Thursday night, I was able to reserve a table.

Unfortunately when I got to Istana they didn’t have our reservation. This annoyed me a bit, as they specifically took my name, and number and I even double checked to make sure that everything was ok, which they said ‘ok’. Thankfully, after about 5 – 10 mins, they seated us to our table. I would have been a little unimpressed if they couldn’t fit us in.

One of their specialties is Hainan chicken with chicken rice. We got two serve of this Hainan chicken – there were 8 of us and we ALL loved Hainan chicken. The chicken was tender and succulent and it was indeed a great way to start the meal. All the diners enjoyed the Hainan chicken… how I miss a ‘good’ Hainan chicken.

We ordered some roti canai and some curry. As you can see from the picture, the bowl in which the curry came was not clean. The chef was either in a hurry or the waiter did not carry the plate carefully enough. I have to admit though, mamak still has the best roti canai in Sydney. The chicken curry was full of flavour and delicious, the roti canai, so so.. it was a little thick I thought and not as fluffy as it should be. Regardless, it still wasn’t too bad.

Seafood Char Kiew Tiau Siram, this was incredibly tasty. Rice noodles, cooked with seafood and vegetables drenched in sauce. The rice noodles was extremely soft, and although a little oily, it was absolutely delicious.

Fried char kiew tiau, fried rice noodles, this was also tasty. It was also a favourite amongst the diners.

Kangkung belacan, a favourite Indonesian / Malaysian dish, otherwise known as water spinach stirfried with garlic, chili and shrimp paste. The water spinach was soft and cooked to perfection. I thought the price for this dish was a little pricey, considering how much you can get water spinach in the supermarket! However, it was still fantastic.

Deep fried pork chop, crunchy on the outside and was incredibly tender. The pork was deep fried and cooked with garlic, shallots and chili. I was getting full by this stage, but this was seriously fantastic.

By this stage I was seriously about to burst, but TWO more dishes…. Tofu stirfry with vegetables and chicken. I love tofu, but after eating tofu in Hong Kong, nothing compares to it. The tofu in Hong Kong is definitely much better, their silken tofu, is incredibly soft. This was good, but it just wasn’t the same.

Lastly, beans with shrimp paste. I only had a little bit of this but it was as good as the kankung belacan.

Did we finish all of it? No, of course not! We clearly ordered way too much, but we had a variety of food and each dish was indeed delicious. I was a little unimpressed that they didn’t have our booking, however, the food made up for it!

To all the mothers in the world – hope you were all truly spoilt by your loved ones. I’m sure both my mother and mother in Law felt loved and were spoilt!

Happy Mother’s Day!

GA’s rating: 7.5 / 10

238 Pennant Hills Road

Thornleigh, 2120

Ph: +61 2 9481 8855

Istana on Urbanspoon