to over-salt or to under-flavor?… hrm… lets do both

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February 27, 2010 by FoodFloozy

The Place: KL Bunga Raya
Address: 34 Errol Street, North Melbourne, VIC
Cost: Entree- $3 to $10, Mains- $7 to $18, Dessert – Unsure; we didn’t bother.
Hours: Daily – 11am-3pm, 5-11pm.
Style: Malaysian

Rating: “It’s not us, it’s YOU…” (2/5)

Whilst innocently out on the town looking for our next food affair, my husband and I decided to visit the newly re-branded KL Bunga Raya. It was previously called Baba House. There was intrigue around the restaurant’s re-brand on Errol Street, with whisperings of “something happening to the owner” and that “it has been sold.” With that in mind, we decided to check it out in the hope that there was a tasty Malaysian specialist in our backyard. Walking past the newly re-stickered windows, we sat down at a table for two and started ordering.

The Food
Being in a Malaysian restaurant (and my husband being Malaysian Chinese), we immediately started looking for the regular features of the menu: lobak, satay, char kway teow, Hainanese chicken, etc. Not finding lobak on the menu, we decided to go with the chicken satay and charred roti for starters, and wonton noodle soup, char kway teow and the chef’s special, ‘Chinese broccoli in two ways’ for the mains.

The executive summary for our meal? The roti was the highlight of the meal, supported by the char kway teow.

For the longer version, read on! It isn’t all nice, but it’s the truth.
  • Chicken satay: This was SALTY, not just well seasoned, SALTY. The satay sauce tasted like peanut butter with a little chilli added to it… a little boring.
  • Roti: Nicely charred, buttery, with some good layers. Very yummy!
  • Wonton noodle soup: This was a heart breaker! The stock tasted like ‘hot water flavored by the noodles in the bowl’ (I kid you NOT). The wonton filling was little more than mince-meat that tasted a little sour, and the noodles were quite hard. Really disappointing. My poor, poor tastebuds.
  • Chef’s special Chinese broccoli: SALTY. It was, however, a great idea. The broccoli was wok-tossed in a tasty sauce on the bottom of the platter (which was yummy); however, on top (which is the 2nd part to the dish) was deep fried crispy broccoli leaf with tiny ‘ikan bilis’ (tiny fish). These were the little dudes that caused the saltiness, or so my husband tells me. Bloody hell. It was too salty, end of story.
  • Char kway teow: Smokey and yummy! It had the ‘breath of the wok’ for those who know the term, lup cheong (Chinese sausage), fish cake, garlic chives, fat rice noodles, chili, and prawns. It was very good, a saving grace for the meal.
The Drinks
I chose coconut juice and Kong (my hubby) had the soya milk. The coconut juice really did take me back to Malaysia, it was very tasty whilst being sweet at the same time. Great stuff!

And everything else?
The service is really friendly here. The waitress who served our table was very helpful and drinks were on the table in seconds. The atmosphere is really nice, too, as there are pictures of Malaysia up on the walls, and it’s not too crowded.

P.s. Food Envy?
Hahahaha, yes! I was envious of my husband’s dinner. He ordered the char kway teow and I ordered the wanton noodle soup – go figure.

It’s important to note that I don’t ever expect to have “bad food,” and most certainly don’t look for it. I don’t enjoy saying that anyone’s food is anything but tasty. However, in this circumstance, wonton noodle soup is one of my favourite dishes. I eat it everywhere, and this version didn’t cut it. All in all, this affair was a bit disappointing. I left feeling hungry (as the wonton noodle soup couldn’t be finished), thirsty (as I’d had enough salt to season a wedding roast), and down-hearted. The affair didn’t turn out the way I had expected.

KL Bunga Raya may appeal to others (and others will hopefully have a much better experience if they visit them), but I’m going to give them a fake number, promise to call and slip in a little “It’s not us, it’s YOU”.

KL Bunga Raya on Urbanspoon


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