15 The Causeway, Melbourne (map)
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!
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.
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...
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.
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)
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... :)