I've recently tried two very different places near me in Liverpool.
Lodge Lane is becoming a bit of a takeaway strip these days - one or two of them are worth going to, but most are pretty poor. But our local chippy, at the bottom end of the Lane has recently acquired new owners. For those who don't know Liverpool, the first thing I noticed when coming up here from London 34 years go was that every chippy was run by Chinese people and they all had full Chinese menus (in addition to the usual fish and chips/sausage dinners etc). This was so much the case that the only chippy anyone knew of that didn't serve Chinese food was one on Whitechapel called the "English Chippy"!
Anyway, this chippy is now doing Malaysian food - and it's really rather good! We've only been once, but I managed to give the menu a decent trial. We had:
Malaysian lamb soup - very comforting, lots of flavour and a few pieces of slightly chewy lamb on the bone.
Nasi Lemak - this seemed really authentic, with all the usual ingredients (rice, boiled egg, peanuts, some kind of dried fish, sambal and even a piece of pandan leaf) along with some small pieces of chicken. Lovely all mixed together.
Malaysian chicken curry - really good and just as I'd imagine they make at home. She told me they make all their own spice pastes, and you can tell. I ordered it on the bone, as I always prefer that and did not want to end up with chicken breast - but it is very boney, and although it's probably more authentic like this, the meat wasn't very juicy. But delicious nonetheless.
A noodle dish - Mee Goreng, I think - again, really good flavours and lots of attention to detail (sambal on the side, sprinkles of spring onion etc).
The noodles were a bit over cooked - but it's a chippy for god's sake. They are only just finding their feet, and they still only had one copy of their full menu on about 12 sheets of paper - but really worth a look if you're in the area.
Then last night we went to a new place on Lark Lane - the Medjool Bistro - It says it's food from the Middle East, Turkey and beyond. The menu includes Persian lamb dishes, Egyptian breakfasts, falafel and chicken with apricots - so it seems to stretch from Turkey and Iran, down through the rest of the Middle East and round to tagine country. It's very good value and bring your own wine, which is another bonus.
The food was mostly very good:
Peri peri chicken wings (yet another country represented there!). These were ok, but not special. Lots of parsley and raw garlic spread over them,which I didn't like (I hate too much raw garlic - it makes me feel ill), so I scrapped it off. The other starter was aubergine rolls stuffed with feta and covered with more parsley and garlic - a bit bland, except for the garlic hit.
The main courses were great though Persian Kofte with a really lovely yoghurt sauce and lamb shank cooked with tomatoes and dried lime - this was really good. I have cooked with dried lime before, and I wasn't sure if I liked it - it was very strong. but in this dish the waitress told us that they used whole dried limes in the cooking, so the flavour was still there, but much more subtle - very nice indeed. Both came with dill and barberry rice.
We had a portion of bread, Turkish coffee and a pot of Turkish tea and the bill came to about £36 - what's not to like?
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