When it comes to dining options on long weekend, I often feel like it’s an overwhelming process. So many places close, while others that I can never get to during the week open their doors to welcome in loyal and new customers. I was planning on dropping by Harvest Espresso on the Easter Monday to try their new Autumn menu, but after contemplating just how long the line would be I decided against that and thought it was time to try something new.
I’ve had my eye on Nasi Lemak Korner since it opened only a few months ago, drooling from behind my phone screen at the plates of nasi lemak, nasi goreng, satay and more.
We arrived just before 1pm, and it was relatively busy though luckily I’d rung the night before to book a table. We sat in the covered alfresco area, enjoying the breeze wafting in and out.
Looking over the menu we threw around a few dishes, trying to decide on what to eat. I love Malaysian food and haven’t really found many good places in Perth (though since posting a pic from here on Instagram I do have some new ones to try!) so I was eager for the meal.
The nasi goreng definitely stood out to me, but given the name of the business it only felt right to order nasi lemak – after all, I do so love coconut rice.
My dining companion had a similar train of thought, choosing the traditional nasi lemak ($12.00). The restaurant’s version comes with coconut flavoured rice served with egg, fried peanuts and anchovies with the house specialty sambal, and you can also choose to add on different meats or curries on the side for an added fee.
They chose the sambal sotong ($6.00) – squid cooked in a signature sambal gravy. The squid was well cooked and fresh, covered in a generous heaping of the gravy. For the price I would have liked to see more meat as it was a touch more expensive than other venues, and I was told they felt the gravy and sambal was too sweet for their liking.
When there’s fried chicken on a menu, nine times out of ten you know I’m going to order it. My choice of the traditional nasi lemak ($12.00) with ayam goreng ($4.00) was easy to make, the chicken marinated in a mix of fragrant spices, then deep fried calling my name.
I thought that the base nasi lemak offering was relatively decent. The coconut rice was on the wetter side, but that’s very much how I like my rice while my dining companion said they like it drier. There was a good amount of coconut flavour, and the ikan bilis (dried anchovies) were freshly fried and utterly delicious.
The fried chicken was definitely moist and juicy, the colouring spot on to great ayam goreng I’ve had in Malaysia and Singapore. I did find the actual level of spices used was a bit more mellow than I’d expected, so would have loved that dialled up a bit more.
The sambal, as mentioned, was indeed a touch on the sweet side with not a hint of heat… but I actually really liked it! It’s not for everyone, but it appealed to me and I actually would have liked more on the plate.
The only real downfall for me on the plate was the egg. Half an egg just isn’t enough for me, and I prefer mine much gooier. I think when you see the line of grey forming around the yolk, that egg is too far gone. I was told afterwards that you can request an egg less cooked so that’s something I’ll have to remember for next time.
We also had our eye on trying Nasi Lemak Korner’s roti, which is available on weekends only. Luckily for us this includes public holidays so we ordered a serve of the canai ($9.00 for two pieces) – served with an accompaniment of dhal and sambal.
This is a classic style of roti, and something we are both really familiar with. I just love a good Asian bread whether it’s roti, parathas, cong you bing (my childhood favourite) or any others.
Their roti was a delicious offering, crispy on the outside and slightly soft on the inside. A slightly expensive dish for the serving size compared to other restaurants in Perth, but a tasty rendition. I did find that the dhal was under seasoned though which was a bit disappointing as it made it quite bland, but the sambal worked well with the roti.
All in all I thought Nasi Lemak Korner was quite a good experience. Talking to others who have been it seems the reviews are mixed, with some die hard Malaysian cuisine lovers feeling it’s been too westernised. For me, I enjoyed it. There were some okay elements, and there were some good elements – making it relatively a positive experience.
The only thing that marred the trip a little was going up to pay, they told us there was a public holiday surcharge. Now I understand that this is something some businesses need to employ to justify opening and paying for staff wages, but I think it should be told up front before any orders are placed. I don’t think it was on the menu, but I wasn’t actively looking for it so I might be wrong. Given their food is on the more expensive side for what is essentially street food Asian cuisine (though this is likely because (1) it’s Perth and (2) they’re located in South Perth), having the price raised even more was a little frustrating.