Admittedly we did choose to dine early, but there was a notable lack of atmosphere as we wandered in. There was no background music to fill the lofty interior, and only a few other diners whose chatter was reserved to say the least. If you can grab it, the balcony mezzanine type seating is the best spot to watch the hustle and bustle of the Courtenay precinct on a Friday night. I had the seafood mee hoon ($15) and an onion pratha ($3.50) which were both decidedly lacking. The mee hoon looked akin to the fare of the streetside woks in Melaka, but it was relatively bland in comparison and gave off none of the alluring heady aroma-advertising. The onion pratha was a let down. It was a pre-frozen slab filled with onion salt or something similar that had no resemblance to the flaky buttery layers of a freshly-flipped-off-the-hot-plate pratha I’d experienced throughout Singapore and Malaysia.
The plain roti ($3) that accompanied the vegetable curry ($14) was an improvement on the pratha but still lacked authenticity. However, the vegetable curry was reported to be rich and flavoursome and packed full of veges and tofu. The Penang Laksa ($15) was also reported to be true to authentic form with a sour broth of tamarind, lemongrass and galangal, and a healthy garnish of cucumber, bean sprouts, and onions. The servings were all large, and were served promptly albeit without a smile. While inexpensive, the fare was hit-or-miss and the service could only be described as ‘wham-bam-thank-you-maam’-esque. Recommended only if you are with a big crowd and able to generate your own atmosphere.
16-18 Allen St (off Courtnay Place)