Prompted by recent posts to this board, as well as still tasty memories of some absolutely amazing Roti at Banana Leaf in Vancouver (at Thanksgiving! I can practically still taste it, it was just that good), I ventured North to Restoran Malaysia for dinner tonight.
I started with a Mango-Lychee Freezie (as if it wasn't cold enough outside) while I read the menu. Whie I appreciated the genuine flavours and textures of the drink, the mango completely overwhelmed the delicacy of the lychee. A mango freezie or a lychee freezie would likely have been nice, but the combination was less than the sum of its parts.
A start of mutton satay improved things immediately. The satays, though formed of relatively small cubes of meat, were still perfectly juicy; succulent might be the best word to apply. The peanut dipping sauce was full of texture and without the cloying sweetness found in the fast food version. I had to work hard to resist the urge to scarf the rest of it down with a spoon.
I chose Rengang Beef from the combo menu, with a side of roti, for dinner. The beef, a slow braised stew, was excellent with shades of lemon grass and tumeric and sweet spices, backed up with just a hint of slow heat. Of the side dishes, the roti and coconut rice were both good. Lightly sweetened, they were a perfect compliment to the rich flavours of the stew. The major disappointment was the side vegetables. Practically raw, completely plain and utterly generic, the brocaularrot mix of veggies would be mushier at Denny's or crisper on a supermarket crudite tray, either of which would have been both an improvement and a more appropriate place for them. They have no business anywhere near Restoran Malaysia.
Decor is strictly tacky kitsch, and lighting bright. This is a place for food, not atmosphere.
Service is casual and friendly. An odd moment at the end of the meal, though, when the waiter brought the CC processor to the table and offered to punch in the tip right away. Calculating an appropriate amount with the waiter waiting was awkward and uncomfortable, and I ended up tipping less than I otherwise might have, though apparently well enough, as I was instantly labelled a 'good customer'. Good customer or no, tips are something I'd rather think about privately.
Dinner with taxes and tip was $31.50, but having chosen an appetizer, a fruity drink, a side dish and a combo plate, I suspect that's a higher than average bill. Plus, I came away appallingly overfull, so it was way more food than I actually needed for the price.