Real shame I was sick last week in Sydney – the heatwave knocked me for six and I went home sick on the day of this visit to The Malaya. I love Malaysian Food, love what Sydney Festival is doing with their Festival Feasts and love Darling Harbour. This venue is win win for me. Luckily and conveniently my back-up writer for Spooning, Arvin, was available at short notice and it worked out really well for everyone. Arvin is Indian/Malaysian and his family live in Malaysia – he knows his Malaysian food. If Arvin says The Malaya’s amazing then it’s amazing. Enjoy Arvin’s thoughts and keep yourself well fed…………..JK.
REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY ARVIN PREM KUMAR
I can’t believe it’s 2017 and I think I’m already off to a good head start! The annual Sydney Festival is happening this month which means a ton of art exhibitions and theatre shows for me to check out. On top of that, The Malaya at Darling Harbour has set up something really special to commemorate this year’s festival as part of the Festival Feasts offers in conjunction with the Sydney Festival.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the Malaya for a while now via social media. I couldn’t ask for better time to try out their dishes as my Malaysian food cravings have started to kick in.
My jaw dropped to the ground when I entered the beautiful restaurant. The Malaya is huge which makes it great for having events or just another special date. The view of the harbour is PERFECT! I really love how they took the time to decorate the place with beautiful bouquets of tropical flowers .
I must add that there is a lot of natural lighting which makes it a plus point for a foodie to take pictures. 😛
If you haven’t gotten to know me well by now let it be known I always like to start my night with some cocktails. I tried out the Katut as recommended by the awesome waitstaff, as it was one of his favorite drinks at the restaurant. It’s fresh passionfruit shaken with coconut cream, creme de peche, Belvedere vodka and Kunizakari Nigori Umeshu (sounds something exotic which I do not know). Ed’s Note: Japanese plum wine.
If you want something less creamy I’d suggest the Malaya-tini which is lychees crushed with gomme and Panama passionfruit, chilled Belvedere vodka and Soho lychee liqueur. Ed’s Note: I’ll take two of each please.
SYDNEY FESTIVAL MENU
It comes with five main dishes with a side of steamed rice . There has to be at least 2 people for you to get the special and it’s $55- per person. Plus each person gets a glass of wine so you can’t complain about being dehydrated .
OUR FESTIVAL FEASTS MENU:
Salt and Pepper Prawns – Lightly battered king prawns deep fried and tossed in fresh chilli, salt, cracked black pepper and shallots
Chicken San Chow Bow – Chicken stir- fried with water chestnut, onion, shallots and curry powder
Kapitan Prawns – Lightly battered king prawns in a Penang style curry made with fresh chilli and fresh milk
Coconut Beef Rendang – Indonesian style beef curry with an aromatic dry coconut base
Szechuan Eggplant – Marinated eggplant stir-fried dry style with shallots , cashew, nuts and dried chillies served on a bed of Chinese water spinach
THOUGHTS ON THE MEAL:
The Salt and Pepper Prawns as a started was f***ing good! The king prawns were so fresh and the seasoning was purrfeeect. Every single foodie was fighting for this dish. Like legit.
The Chicken San Chow Bow was pretty interesting. You are supposed to put the minced meat into the cabbage and roll it like a taco which I’ve personally never done in Malaysia. You can top it off with chilli sauce, soy sauce or sambal depending on your preference.
The Kapitan Prawns is everything you want in a good ol Malaysian curry. Thick, flavourful and has a nice kick (spiciness of the chilli). I could not stop adding more of this curry to my steamed rice.
I’ve got not much to say about the Coconut Beef Rendang other than HELL YES! I can’t openly say this is one of the best beef rendang dishes I’ve had in Sydney but the rendang was just SEDAP! (means yummy in Bahasa Malaysia)
However, the star of the night was surprisingly the Eggplant. Yes , I am aware that Szechuan is not a form of Malaysian cuisine but I died over this dish. This dish really converted me to really start liking eggplant. The sweet sauce and the crispiness of the eggplant screams foodgasm.
To wrap up the night the guys at The Malaya served us some Black Rice Pudding and Sago Pudding. I was more drawn to the Sago pudding because it has gula melaka which reminded me of the ‘kuih-muih’ that the old aunties would sell in Malaysia.
The Malaya really know their Malaysian food! An amazing venue with amazing food and staff. I really would recommend bringing a group of friends and give their Sydney Festival special a shot. I do wish they would add dessert to the specials though.
Thank you to The Malaya, Zomato and of course JK, it’s really something special and I’d totally go back for more!
Rating breakdown: 3/3 food, 1/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue and ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilet, 0/1 bonus
The Malaya Deets:
KID FRIENDLY: No
Lunch: Mon – Sat from 12pm
Dinner: Sun – Fri from 6pm , Sat from 530pm
*** JK (and any guests of Spooning Australia) were invited guests of the establishment. However, as always, if it was shite I would happily tell you as such.