Roti Place is a new Malaysian restaurant in the Brisbane CBD. I was tipped off about their existence and their grand opening by a fellow food blogger. And boy was I excited! It even made my parents excited enough to come into the city, which they never do!
It’s a month later after quietly opening that they have their “grand opening”. A nice change from venues which push themselves to the limit before they get their service and kitchen sorted out.
The restaurant is in the same building as Jackpot Dining which I think will prove to be a huge competitor since they also offer takeaway options for CBD workers. Plus, it’s new and shiny. There are plenty of seating options inside and outside as well as booths for larger groups.
We are seated almost immediately – much to our surprise considering free food is on offer! To my devastation, as we are about to order, the waitress informs us that there is no more beef rendang or curry chicken. This meant there would be no roti canai this time around. The risk of attending a grand opening with the offer of free food 1.5 hours after opening! Well played, I’ll have to return.
Instead, we order one each of the three remaining options:
Hainanese chicken rice: The boneless chicken is poached to soft, silky perfection and finished with dark soy sauce. However, the star of this dish is the rice. It’s cooked to that stage where the grain retains it’s full-grain shape (think al dente) and the gingery chicken stock flavour is all there without being drowned in oil to boost flavour. The rice stands alone in flavour.
The chilli sauce features a good kick of heat and ginger – one of the better chilli sauce accompaniments to this dish I’ve had in Brisbane. The ginger/garlic sauce is ordinary. But I usually leave it alone. The accompanying chicken stock soup has good clarity and all the right flavours without any other ingredients to the bowl.
So the rice is great, the chilli sauce is great, and the chicken is pretty damn good too. Would order again. And again.
Malaysian combination laksa: Unknown to many, the traditional way to serve laksa is with a combination of hokkien noodles and rice vermicelli. A pleasant surprise as my mother tucked in. The noodles weren’t overcooked (bonus points) and the “combination” ingredients consisted of chicken, prawns (plastic-y, probably from frozen), calamari, fish cake, fish balls and a few skimp green beans. Extremely generous serving, with more than enough noodles for one person.
For those more familiar, this version is a curry laksa. It features lots of creamy coconut milk. The soup has the right balance of spices but seems to not be quite enough. It could do with an extra whack of sambal. It has loads of coconut flavour without the heaviness of laksas made with the thicker, heavier coconut cream. Overall, I really liked it but I’ll be asking for extra chilli next time. This lighter, less rich version of laksa is best to satisfy lunch cravings.
Sambal chicken with rice: This was an unlikely dish that I didn’t expect to taste so good. An extremely home cooked-style dish of a simple stirfry with spicy sambal and chicken with steamed rice. The sambal errs on the sweet side of things with lots of onions to bring out even more sweetness. There’s a smattering of green beans which I would’ve like more of. It needed more vegetables to cut through the saucy, rich meat. Otherwise, I really, really liked this for it’s simplicity. Deceptively filling too since it’s mostly meat and rice.
This would be great as a takeaway option since you can easily eat this one-handed with a spoon at your desk without messy soup or extra side dishes. Minimal collateral damage to your keyboard/paperwork.
There’s also “traditional” drinks but just a little bit fancier than the usual street versions. The best thing about these type of drinks is that they come with mini snacks to nibble on. Bonus food?! Flippin’ yes!
Look, the mark up is ridiculous at $4/drink if you want to compare to SE Asia prices BUT these hit the spot so damn well in our sunny Queensland weather that it’s justified. Each drink is ~450mL. Enough to rehydrate and then some (literally, there’s some to snack on).
I can never say no to exotic lychee, a lychee-based drink. There’s something about that perfumey aroma that I absolutely love*. This version is a refreshing lychee soda supposedly infused with mint, however, the mint flavour is very subtle. Not holding back on the lychee (6 pieces!), it was lightly carbonated and not too sweet which abided my serious FOCOS (fear of cloyingly overbearing sweetness).
The iced barley water supposedly has pandan flavour in it but wasn’t detected at all. Regardless, barley water is a great slightly sweet beverage option if you don’t want fruity or carbonated drinks. If you listen to my mother, who made this on the reg as I grew up, you’ll believe that this is a healthy option that is good for your body too.
Icey coconut is simply coconut water with coconut flesh. Look, when you’re paying about $4 for a bottle of coconut water anyway, this probably has the most value. Plus, you get coconut flesh.
They also have beer, wine and cider for those that are after a little more something when you’re knocking off after work (or over a long lunch – no judgement here).
A lot of the simple style dishes and traditional drinks make me associate the food with good memories. I might be biased but good food is always worth remembering… and returning too. Especially with Mum and Dad’s approval.
Shop 2, 96 Albert Street, Brisbane CBD
Monday – Saturday: 11.30am to 9.30pm
http://www.facebook.com/RotiPlaceBrisbane/ (official website coming soon)
* Side note: I’m keen on perfumes with lychee notes, in case anyone ever wants to buy me a present.