Tuesday, 5 August 2008

King / Bourke Quest Part 19: Malaysian Oriental Wok & Brother Baba Budan

Malaysian Oriental Wok
15 The Causeway, Melbourne (map)
9650 9801

Okay, so I'm expanding the radius of the King/Bourke Quest because it's tricky finding new interesting lunch places a quick walking distance from the King St/Bourke St intersection! Today's entry is a ten minute walk (or VERY short tram ride) away, so as long as you don't spend too long agonising over the menu it's still doable in an hour...

Malaysian Oriental Wok (hmmm, surely the inclusion of the word Oriental is somewhat superfluous?) is tucked into The Causeway, a narrow alleyway off Bourke Street Mall. A few months ago I was idly googling my way around the interwebs, looking for good Malaysian in the CBD, and I stumbled across Harbx's 2006 review of their Hainanese Chicken Rice. Best chicken rice in town, eh? We'll just see about that!

Malaysian Oriental Wok

I'm not convinced that it's the best chicken rice in town (my friend and colleague L swears black and blue that that honour goes to the subject of an upcoming Melb Gastronome review), and at $9.50 it's not the cheapest in town, but I really liked it. The chicken was tender, the sambal was spicy and best of all, the dish came with a delicious little side bowl of chicken broth.

Haianese Chicken Rice

On my second visit I took C down there for lunch, and we both got the Roti Chanai. It was filling and we enjoyed it, but on a subsequent visit with L the roti was too damn oily...

Roti Chanai at Malaysian Oriental Wok

My favourite dish at MOW is, without a doubt, their Mee Goreng. The noodles are extremely soft and coated with tiny flecks of shaved fried shallots, and in addition to chicken and vegetables the dish contains a few pieces of potato, which give it a great texture.

Mee goreng

The venue is minuscule and extremely no-frills in terms of decor and ambiance, but the wizened taciturn Aunty serving behind the counter gives MOW a nice touch of authenticity. Anyone else know any other cheap authentic Malaysian joints, preferably in the western half of the CBD?

Brother Baba Budan
359 Little Bourke St, Melbourne (map)
9606 9801

After my most recent visit to MOW I met CJ for a coffee at Brother Baba Budan, aka Ceiling Chair City. Set up late last year by the St Ali mob, it's a specialty coffee outlet named after a 17th century Sufi who introduced coffee beans to India (or so Wikipedia sparingly tells me). At Brother Baba Budan, the focus is on coffee to the exclusion of (almost) all others - there's sometimes a few cakes and pastries, but no savoury food. Check their website before going there to see which single origin coffee is Coffee of the Week, and enjoy... :)

Brother Baba Budan


ozmouse said...

nice to see you posting again. i have just started working in the city corner lonsdale and queen and devoured your commentary of haunts in the area.

there is lots of food around, but alot of average food.....

can highly recommend baba budan. although for a morning coffee i look for more of a kick. but after noon i sneek down and enjoy one of the smoothest coffees in town.

keep up the good work.


Anonymous said...

Oriental Wok does a good chicken rice, but I too feel it was a little pricey and certainly not the best in town (which I'm still yet to find!). See my post here.

Nothing compares to the amazing chicken rice I had in Singapore *sigh*. Perhaps except Danny's Mums!

claire said...

Thanks, ozmouse! I haven't been writing as often on the blog as I'd like to as of late, for two main reasons: 1) I went away to the Hunter Valley for three days; and 2) I'm a MIFF fanatic, and have spending what little spare time I have seeing films at the Festival. I'm seeing nine in the final eight days of the festval, argh!! :)
So where do you go for your morning coffee? Rumpole swears by one on Queen St (can't remember it's name, but I believe it's directly above Caterina's)...

Oh my goodness mellie, I'm afraid I'd forgotten that you'd posted about the MOH chicken rice just a few months ago! And like you, I mentioned it because of the Harbx post - talk about unoriginal on my part! Sorry :)
Lucky you, getting authentic homemade chicken rice!

Sas Monroe said...

To Malaysian (Singapore and Brunei, even) students here in melbourne this place is best known as 'Aunty' chicken rice. For some reason, we tend to call chinese shop owners here AUNTY and UNCLE..like they're our own relatives. lol.

I used to come here alot back when it was a little bit cheaper. I agree, this place has one of the best chicken rice in town...but for the price you're paying, the portions are a little bit too small. i always leave this place feeling a little bit cheated. heh.

If you like south-east-asian cooking, u should head down to Nasi Lemak House somewhere in Carlton..they have the best nasi lemak (coconut rice) and most of what they have on their menu is generally good too..

*googles for their ad*

113 Grattan St
Carlton VIC 3053

Syazwana, Melbourne

Anonymous said...

There's another pretty decent place on Bourke Street that serves Malaysian/Singaporean hawker fare. It's called "Chatterbox". I've tried their crispy chicken rice (bf loves it), bak kut teh, and last but not least, curry laksa! Laksa is pretty good there!

Shop 18, 235
Bourke St
Tivoli Arcade

They're closed on Sundays.

claire said...

Hi Lynn, thanks for dropping by! Chatterbox sounds great, thanks for the tip.

Your Attica photos look AMAZING! Must. Visit. Soon. :)

Dana said...

BBB makes a long macchiato that makes me dance.