Friday, 21 November 2008

Melati Restaurant review - a mix mesh of sorts

Melati+Restaurant+review+LondonMelati lies along an inconspicuous street just off Piccadilly Circus. We would have never stumble upon it if not for Toptable. We were looking for an affordable restaurant that serves decent food (in other words, cheap and good) before we catch The 39 Steps.

Melati, which purported to serve "Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean" food sounded dubious to me initially. For the uninitiated, there is a difference between food from these three places. It's liken to a restaurant that boasts about serving Mexican, Texan and Caribbean food.
The service staff, with their Singaporean/Malaysian accents, reminds me somewhat of the staff in Kiasu (along Queensway), is rather cold. It took quite a bit of effort to wrangle a smile from them.

The décor reminds me of a typical Indonesian restaurant with toned down lighting and wooden furniture packed a little too close together. Occupying three floors, it was almost packed when we arrived. If possible I would advice to stick to the ground floor as the second and third floors are almost devoid of ventilation.

The menu, I must say, looks rather authentic with dishes that very well represent the best that Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore have to offer. Hungry for some hometown food, we ordered nasi lemak (£11), Singapore laksa (£9) and char kuey teow (£9) with murtabuk (£6) as starters.
Malaysian Kopi Tiam - the new darling of Leicester Square
Rasa Sayang - Malaysian Singaporean cuisine in London's Chinatown
Let's put it this way. This restaurant wouldn't survive a month if it opens up in Indonesia, Malaysia or Singapore. The rice in nasi lemak is devoid of fragrance. In fact, the best part of the meal is the egg, which says much about the dish. Singapore laksa is served with vermicelli and tasted watered down. Char kuey teow is served with keropok and the kuey teow (still clumped together) have absolutely no taste whatsoever. The murtabuk is presented as popiah filled meat mesh.

Without a single iota of doubt, it was one of the worse meal we had. We left the restaurant with an empty stomach and our food barely eaten. That was how bad it was.

The verdict? Avoid Melati like plague if you're indeed looking for authentic Indonesian, Malaysian and Singapore food. The taste of the food has been very much watered down (and altered) to suit Londoners' taste. It reminds me of Giraffe's Malaysian laksa, which is served in green curry.

Oh, if you somewhat unfortunately landed in Melati, do check out its toilet. It is, perhaps, the only redeeming feature of the place.

Address: 21 Great Windmill Street, London, W1D 7LQ
Tel: 0871 3328434
Nearest Tube station: Piccadilly Circus

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £15 pp
Taste: *
Service: **
Ambience: **
Suitable for: people who has not tasted Malayan Straits food and when all other nearby eateries/restaurants are closed or full

Melati on Urbanspoon

Share/Bookmark Pin It

1 comment:

Aidyl said...

Haha! I wish I had read this before.
After hearing from someone that Melati was the best for Malay food, my bf and me went there yesterday.

Yea the toilets are pretty! =D

I have never had Malay food before and therefore can't really judge what it should be I thought it was not as bad as it sounded in your review, however not too great either.

To start off..I as a westerner that hasn't yet been to Malaysia, Indonesia or Singapore, didnt quite know which dish on the menue originated from which country.

We ordered a variety of dishes (cant remember their names):

Noodles in clear seafood soup:
I thought it was quite generously topped with seafood and vegetables.
However some of the noodles stuck together in big clumps...
and the soup itself tasted a bit bland.

Coconut rice which sadly lacked the coconut flavour..but okay...accompanied by various things egg,small fish & peanuts,
fried fish, prawn and some vegetables.
<- In my opinion they were quite tasty, especially the fried fish.

Lamb skewers with peanut sauce, were good.

Fried baby squid, kind of Japanese izakaya style dish, was crispy and nice...however the chili dip was a bit tasteless somehow.

The waitress that served us, however, did smile and was very friendly. =)

It was okay all in all, but not my favourite..
and I think even unexperienced-me can claim now that this can not be the best place for Malay food.