Angie’s Kitchen, CBD, Auckland

Angie’s Kitchen (17 Mount Street, Ph: 09 – 368 1618) was my local Malaysian haunt when I was employed at the university. It was a mere two blocks away and I could make it there, have delicious home-style Malaysian food and be back at my desk within the hour. Now that I’m a good 15 minutes away (not including finding a park, then dashing from the carpark), lunch at Angie’s Kitchen is a special trip or relegated to the weekend (which is not a bad thing, – there is a dish which is only available on Sundays, see below).

I assume that Angie is the auntie who occasionally pops her head out of the kitchen, but whoever she is, Angie is one talented chef. The quality can fluctuate at times; I’ve had great food, and I’ve had average dishes.

My regular dish is Nasi Lemak with beef rendang ($12.50). The rice is cooked with coconut milk, with specks of blue (reminiscent of traditional nasi lemak which is tinged with the blue extract from bunga telang, blue pea flower) and is served with roasted peanuts, sambal bilis (anchovies cooked with chilli and spices) and half a boiled egg. The rendang is often excellent; the beef pieces being simmered in the rich spicy sauce for so long that they easily shred against a fork.

The Mamak Kuay Teow Goreng ($11.50) is the Malaysian Indian flat rice noodles wok-fried with prawns, chicken, tofu, beansprouts, potato and egg in sticky, tangy sauce.

A memorable dish is the Nasi Kandar ($17.00). Nasi kandar is a special curry meal; the flavoured rice is served with fried chicken, curried fish, three vegetable sides, half a boiled egg and a poppadum. Unfortunately, this smorgasbord of flavours is only available on Sunday.

There are three versions of laksa on the menu. Two are curry laksa (chicken or seafood, $14.50) which is in a spicy coconut soup. There is also a Penang laksa, which is a assam (tamarind) based soup.

I was introduced to at the assam ikan pari (stingray cooked in a tamarind gravy) at Angie’s Kitchen, and have since, I have seen this dish appear on the menus at other Malaysian eateries. It’s cooked to perfection here; the stingray flesh still has a slight bite to it, a perfect match to the spicy-sour gravy.

Angie’s also does a range of Malaysian desserts and kuihs, which I’m usually too full to attempt. Reservations are recommended for the busy lunch trade. Angie’s a great place to introduce Malaysian food to the uninitiated; it’s a familiar cafe setting, there is a good range of dishes, and every dish is well presented.

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