Word has been slowly spreading around about a Singaporean and Malaysian eatery called Glory We Cafe in the western suburbs. Apparently they are popular for their Hainanese chicken rice, mee goreng, Singaporean laksa and curry puffs. I'm fairly confident in the quality of Malaysian food in Melbourne, having enjoyed the home-flavours from Mamak and Kitchen Inn.
Despite the taste slip ups in venues like Papparich in QV Melbourne, the quality of Malaysian food remains fairly original. However I'm very sceptical of eateries offering Singaporean food as none I've tired has yet to deliver the real deal. With the words "Authentic Singaporean & Malaysian Delights" written across the entrance, I was compelled to do a taste test.
The unassuming exterior hides an contemporary cafe with a self-order and takeaway counter, limited seating, a wall-mounted television, walls plastered with some pictures of food, and a regular traffic of Asian and Caucasian customers. The service is friendly and helpful with suggestions of popular dishes. After an exchange of suggestions, I decided on a Singaporean curry Laksa at $8.90 and a Malaysian Nasi Lemak at $10.90. It didn't take too long for the food to be served.
The Nasi Lemak was a visual replica of the popular Malaysian dish consisting of rice cooked fragrant with coconut milk and served with hard-boiled eggs, ikan bilis (fried anchovies), roasted peanuts and spicy sambal. The chicken wings and wedge of otah (spicy fish paste) in a banana leaf were added treats.
There were some differences with the original but the main textures and flavours were present. The tastiest bits of the dish were the deep fried-to-golden chicken wings, ikan bilis, roasted peanuts, hard boiled egg and otah. The rice needed more coconut milk for fragrance and the spicy sambal should have a pastier consistency. The amount of ingredients at $10.90 makes the Nasi Lemak great value for money.
The Singapore curry laksa unfortunately was disappointing. It was neither authentic in appearance nor flavour. Unlike the Malaysian curry mee (often referred to as laksa in Australia) the coconut-based curry soup of the traditional Singapore version is usually thinner and enriched with dried shrimps. The ingredients are basically rice noodles or thick vermicelli, prawns, fried fishcake, tofu puffs, hard-boiled eggs, blood cockles (which are unavailable in Australia) and garnished with chopped laksa leaves (known as Vietnamese coriander in Melbourne) and a spoonful of sambal chilli paste. The version at Glory We Cafe was more of a Malaysian-Singapore half breed. While it was not authentic, the dish was still a flavoursome and tasty curry noodle treat.
If you're planning to make a trip to Singapore and Malaysia, Glory We Cafe is a good place to familiarise yourself with the culinary culture of those countries. It is also an acceptable substitute for families in the Western suburbs just looking for an affordable taste of the multi-ethnicity that is Melbourne and sample of the Singaporean and Malaysian hawker fare.