Koko Yee is a new Asian restaurant on Lonsdale street. To me anyway the menu looks like a mixture of Chinese Malaysian and Indonesian in style and prices reside in the student end of town. While I enjoyed our visit here without it being a ‘special’ place, it does bring two new things to the area. First is the renewal of an empty store which for as long as I remember has been a rundown looking model and hobby shop. The second is the first Melbourne halal eatery I’ve come across done up in modern Melbourne minimalist chic!
Menu wise there's a fair bit of choice without being overwhelming. Open less than a week, a few dishes are still ‘coming soon’ but there is a decent variety of rice, noodle and roti dishes. Our first choice (unknown to Snooze) was the crispy fried chicken skin with a sweet chilli sauce. If the restaurant wasn’t halal I would have described this as great beer food. Hot, crispy, slightly fatty thirst inducing food. Kind of like the Indonesian version of dude food. While it appealed to this dude Snooze's comment was it wasn’t something she would order again.
Second dish up was the Duck Kon Lo Mee. This was billed as dried egg noodle with duck but speaking to an ex-Singaporean colleague afterwards would normally have come with a dash of soya sauce to go with the noodles. The duck was shredded without the fat or skin, the egg noodles dry as advertised. I think it would have benefited from either a little bit of soya sauce or a bit more fatty juice from the duck to help flavour the noodles, but Snooze thought it was the best dish of the day.
Again we differed a bit over the chicken curry with roti. I liked the flavour of the curry and the firmer than usual texture of the meat and potato. Snooze on the other hand found the texture of the potato a little strange and the meat a bit tasteless. Both of us however liked the crispy roti. End result was more of the noodles she liked for Snooze, more of the curry I liked for me.
To finish out meal off we ordered the Chinese doughnut with panadan dipping sauce. I am generally likely to favour anything pandan flavoured and certainly liked this. However, the Chinese doughnut (long fried dough sticks that I can never remember the proper name of) did not taste fresh, or at least not as fresh as I would have liked.
Nice place to sit and eat and the most upmarket halal cafe I’ve come across in Melbourne. Staff are extremely friendly and tried very hard even if co-ordination isn’t yet perfect and a couple of staff members seemed to be a bit less than fluent in English. But overall it seems to have enough promise and is close enough to work I can guarantee return visits to sample more of the menu.
Food – 7.5
Service – 7.5
Ambience – 7.5
Price – 7.5
282 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000