Sometimes being picky can bite you in the arse.
When looking for a late lunch on West Broadway in Kitsilano, I passed by a few Japanese restaurants that seemed mediocre at best and catered to students (most offer student discounts). So, being stupid and not going one street over to West 4th, I remember an Instagrammer recommended Mamalee Malaysian Delight to me (the hainanese chicken and roti are supposed to be pretty good!).
The restaurant is not very big and has less than twenty seats available. The interior resembles a small bubble tea joint and the restaurant may get busy during peak hours as there is a self-serve waitlist by the entrance. Walking in, a waiter was having lunch and immediately got up to seat and provide us with the menu.
HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE + SOUP, LARGE ($11.95).
From the menu, "A delightful marriage of Chinese tradition and Malyasian complexity. Hainanese Chicken encompasses the art of boneless-chicken cooking with a traditional method involving quality meat selection, a delicate boiling process and complex-sauce making. It is especially enjoyable in the form of Hainanese Chicken Rice."
Starting with the soup, the broth is from the original chicken stock and does not taste heavy on the salt. Moving to the highlight, the hainan chicken.
The restaurant serves the thigh and leg deboned, however, some cartilage was missed. As for the taste, there is not much of a hainan taste and the soy sauce drizzled on top tastes too overwhelming. Some sesame oil added to the soy would have tasted better, or just a less amount. Asides from the lack of hainan taste and overwhelming soy, the chicken is too mushy. Overall, this is one of the worst hainan chickens I ever had. If I wanted to be picky, I would have preferred the use of a free range for an "authentic" dish and that nice firm and springy skin.
Continuing to the hainan rice, the grains taste hard, dry and stiff. The rice lacks that nice natural hainan chicken oil flavour. Also, the rice tastes quite bland and the only flavour was from the soy! I am quite disappointed.
As for the chilli sauce, it tastes generic and could have used some ginger. Either have a silky smooth chicken, an awesome chilli sauce, or good rice. I can accept only one if not all.
Cafe D'Lite Express in Aberdeen Centre tastes more rich than Mamalee's! The laksa tastes watered down, too light and lacks a curry as well as coconut taste. As for the ingredients, there are a couple of shrimp, imitation crab meat, tofu puff, bean sprout and thick as well as thin vermicelli.
Roti? Yes, it is. The roti is all shredded, has no elasticity and is too flaky. Can roti ever be too flaky? Yeah, I thought the same. I am not impressed at all with the shreds of roti, it tastes crunchy and has no moist layers. As for the roti sauce, the curry tastes bland and when paired with the shreds, does not taste good.
TOTAL: $30.60 + TIP $2.30 = $33.00.
Overall we tipped what we did because there was no service and the food tastes below average. In my opinion, the name of the restaurant is deceiving because rather than an authentic home cooked meal, the restaurant is serving a food court style cuisine that is catered to young students.
- Soup is served from the original chicken stock
- Food court style cuisine
- Below average eats
- Banana Leaf is across the street and serves better Malaysian cuisine with similar prices
- This is when being picky bites me in the arse, because any restaurant in the area would have been better than here
- I am trying the whole "order less and the usual amount for two", and am glad to have ordered less than usual