“Creativity Is Intelligence Having Fun.” – Albert Einstein
Published August 13th 2017
Deliciously naughty food @ Naughty Nuri's
Naughty Nuri's drew my attention when some friends were passionately raving about their Indonesian fare. With my curiosity piqued, I decided to taste test the offerings of Naughty Nuri's, which opened its doors to the public in October 2016 when it found its home in Melbourne Central, CBD next to the Pancake Parlour.
We visited Naughty Nuri's on a cold Wednesday evening. We were warmly welcomed by a friendly waitress who ushered us inside the empty restaurant and had us seated comfortably at a big table before leaving us with big menus. It was 5:30pm and we appeared to be the first diners of the evening.
The menu was quite extensive with a section devoted to Balinese specialities while another section dedicated to the grill menu. The Balinese specialities incorporated crispy pork belly with rice, Mie kuey teow goreng, deep fried barramundi, braised duck, fried chicken and so forth. The grill menu was decked with mouth-watering options like pork belly skewers, bbq pork ribs, mixed grilled platter, grilled barramundi fillet topped with Makassar hot sauce and so on. The sides menu included options like fried marinated tempeh, truffle fries and grilled corn. There was also a naughty tapas menu featuring a range of tapas as well as a soup menu and a salad menu. The dessert menu had some interesting items like classic Indonesian fruit cocktail, fruit medley, green noodle jelly served with coconut and palm sugar. There was even a kid's menu for the little ones. Every menu item had an indication of whether it was spicy or not with a small icon of chilli next to the name.
After some animated discussion, we picked our dishes for the evening. We soaked in the mellow environment as we waited for our food. We watched the restaurant slowly come to life with throngs of people taking up the empty tables while mild music played in the background. A glass panelled kitchen showed the chefs bustling around cooking up a storm.
Most dishes came with rice, a vegetable of your choice (spinach/beans/fried eggplant) and 3 sambal sauces. The sambal sauces were simply superb especially sambal matah which constituted of red chilli, garlic, shallot, lime leaves and shrimp paste soaked in coconut oil. The well-rounded flavours of lime leaves, garlic and chilli were a foodie delight and will give pleasure to any spicy food lover. Word of caution: take a little bit of the sambal sauce and sample it first before scooping up a big portion because all their sambal sauces are either hot or very hot.
Gradually, our food made their appearances.
The crispy pork belly with rice ($16) was scrummy. The pork belly was steamed, marinated, dried, roasted and finally deep-fried which made the pork belly crunchy and the meat somewhat chewy. The crackling pork skin was a hit. The accompanying vegetable was spinach which well-balanced the heat. We saturated the rice with the blackish betutu sauce, mixed a bit of sambal and pork belly and scooped up the concoction to experience mouthfuls of hearty, lip-smacking delights. Had the pork belly been a bit more tender, this dish would have been divine!
The Mie kuey teow goreng ($14) was one of the highlights of the evening. Rice noodles had been stir-fried with egg, chicken, squid, prawn, cabbage, choy sum, onion and carrot. Unlike the other kuey teow goring I tried before, this dish was non-greasy and suffused with the beautiful flavour of egg, chicken and seafood. The portion size of chicken and seafood was generous. This was hands down the best rice noodle dish I have tried so far. In my zeal to polish off this highly palatable dish, I forgot to snap a picture. So you will just have to rely on my writing skill to live the experience vicariously.
The lemongrass spiced barramundi ($30) turned out to be deep-fried barramundi fillet covered with a layer of fried lemongrass, fried garlic, fresh chilli and spring onion served with rice, fried eggplant and 3 sambal sauces. The fish was fresh and moist. The portion size was huge and it was a struggle to finish it. The fried eggplant was interesting. Overall, it was a nice dish.
The last item we savoured was the ayam bakar with rice ($14). Ayam bakar means charcoal-grilled chicken. Marinated Maryland chicken fillet had been grilled to perfection and served with rice, fried eggplant and 3 sambal sauces. The meat was succulent and tender. It was devoured with much enthusiasm and every morsel was serenaded with oohs and aahs.
The sugar cane juice was average and was priced at $7.50 with no ice. Despite having no ice, I found the juice to be quite watery which failed to hit the mark.
After completing every morsel on our plates, we loosened our belts and purred like satisfied cats as we lamented our inability to sample the desserts menu. That is something we have to do on our next visit because there will be a next visit followed by many more as we return to try as much as we can of the enticing menu.
I found the serving sizes huge, prices reasonable and quality and culinary skills commendable. Service was friendly and ambience was relaxed. The food was authentic which evoked memories of sumptuous Balinese cuisine I had relished on my trip to Bali.
Points to note:
They don't allow customer to split bills
There is a minimum of $25 for EFTPOS/visa/MasterCard
If you have a low threshold for spicy food, enquire with the staff before ordering your food
The menu offers vegetarian and gluten free options
Booking is recommended
They offer takeaways
Happy hour runs from 3pm to 6pm on weekdays with all cocktails priced at $10
Two for one beer offer from $5 is available all day on weekdays
Public transport is the best way to get to Naughty Nuri's
since it is perched right on top of Melbourne Central railway station and surrounded by numerous tram stops and bus stops.
Follow them on Facebook or check out their website to remain in the loop about new menu items and special promotions. Naughty Nuri's regular updates on Facebook along with their drool-worthy photos will get your juices flowing. Go, explore and make your own discoveries!