Located in North Fitzroy just down the road from Danny's Burgers, Malaymas provides good Malaysian hawker style dishes at reasonable prices.
Bare tables, walls decorated with a few pictures, specials on paper stuck around the room and TV on the sport channel, Malaymas has some of the elements of a real Malaysian kopitiam. Admittedly its missing the soaring humidity, the whir of overhead fans and the ridiculously cheap prices, but I only miss one of those things anyway.
Nasi lemak is often considered one of the classic Malaysian dishes, along with satays and laksa. The special nasi lemak with curry chicken came with ikan bilis, peanuts and sambal, all of which I like, and not achar which I am indifferent about. The sambal was slightly different in style than I am used to, less a chilli paste and more like a spicy Italian amatriciana sauce with onion. The curry chicken was moist and the accompanying gravy good. Overall a pretty good nasi lemak.
You get several different options for the char kway teow (fried rice noodles), and I went with the XO sauce and cockles. This was one of the better CKTs I have had in Melbourne, although next time I think I'd get it with XO sauce or cockles. The combination of both resulted in a fairly strong taste crowding out some of the other ingredients.
The seafood laksa was also pretty good. Calamari, prawns, mussels and fishcake in a spicy coconut based soup, this was the first time I've liked the addition of eggplant. I've always found the eggplant soaks up way too much of the soup and becomes a heavy, soggy mess, but the two small pieces of eggplant sat on top of the other ingredients and retained their integrity.
The roti was respectable, not as stretchy as the best but served with a nice chicken curry dipping sauce.
But the highlight was the ais kachang with coconut ice-cream. Not cheap at $8, it was enormous and I had to ask for a second bowl to place the top half in before it toppled onto the table. The flavours were good too, with sweet corn and peanuts added which you don't always get. This is the dish that will draw me back to Malaymas on a hot summer day.
The only dish I didn't like was the mango pudding. Normally a favourite this had an artificial taste and texture, leaving the ais kachang as much the better dessert.
Good food, friendly but not pushy staff in a nice café, it would be hard not to like Malaymas. While it strikes no new grounds in Malaysian cuisine I'd happily recommend it to someone interested in trying Malaysian hawker food for the first time, or an expat missing the taste of home.
Food - 7.5
Ambience - 7
Service - 7
Prices - 7
320 St Georges Rd
North Fitzroy VIC 3068
Tel: (03) 9486 3202