Restaurant Reviews

The Malaya, Darling Harbour – Sydney

This year, my husband and I decided to do something different for New Year’s Eve and booked a table at The Malaya. We have always enjoyed their vegetarian banquet and because the restaurant is located at Darling Harbour, there is a good chance to watch 9 o’clock fireworks, too.

The food here at The Malaya is classic Malaysian food. However, the setting is quite contemporary with its large balcony overlooking Darling Harbour.

Our evening started off with a glass of bubbly each. NV Bailly Lapierre Cremant de Bourgogne from Burgundy, France to be precise. We immediately received New Year’s Eve Vegetarian Set Menu 2015 which stayed on the table all night long. I asked if I could keep the menu and I was told it would be just fine. That on its own made it easier to follow the courses during the night and of course it makes it easier for me to write the review which I am doing right now.

Here’s the menu they put together for the night:

Starters
Vegetable San Choy Bow
Salt and Pepper Cauliflower
Samosa
Sayor Otak

Mains
Szechuan Eggplant
Vegetable Singapore Noodles
Ma Po Tofu
Sayor Masak Lemak

Roti Canai (pan-fried Malay flat bread)
Steamed Rice

Dessert
Ice Cream Ball
Black rice Pudding
Tea or Coffee

Now, let’s get visual, shall we?

Starters

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Vegetable San Choy Bow (above)
Water chestnut, onion, mushroom, carrot and shallot stir-fried and served in a lettuce leaf. This may be the messiest thing to eat but it tastes sensational.
Matching Wine: Wagner-Stemple ‘Troken’ Silvaner, Rheinhessen Germany

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Salt and Pepper Cauliflower (above)
Floretts of cauliflower lightly battered, deep-fried and tossed in fresh chilli, salt, cracked black pepper and shallots. We’ve always liked this dish and it was even better this time around. Be careful with the chilli though; they bite.
Matching Wine: Frankland Estate ‘Poison Hill’ Reisling, Frankland River WA

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Samosa (above)
A mixture of potato, carrot, onion and spices wrapped in a light pastry skin and deep-fried. One of the nicest samosas we have ever had.
Matching Wine: Bruno Sorg Pinot Gris, Alsace France

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Sayor Otak (above)
Silken tofu topped with a blend of eggplant, mushroom, tomato, lemongrass and chilli paste, wrapped in a banana leaf and barbequed. This dish has layers and each layer is interesting once revealed.

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Sayor Otak, revealed (above)
Matching Wine: Clonakilla Viognier ‘Nouveau’, Canberra District ACT

Main Dishes
Main dishes are served with Roti Canai (pan-fried Malay flat bread) and Steamed Rice.

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Szechuan Eggplant (above)
Marinated eggplant stir-fried dry style with shallot, cashew nuts and dry chillies, served on a bed of Chinese water spinach. This is one stunning dish. It’s on the menu all year around.
Matching Wine: spinifex ‘Papillon’ Grenache Cinsault, Barossa Valley SA

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Vegetable Singapore Noodles (above)
Vermicelli rice noodles stir-fried dry style with Asian green vegetables, beansprouts, onion, shallot and chilli. I absolutely love my Singapore noodles and The Malaya version is a lot better than most. Those beansprouts you see in the photo? They are the crunchiest, freshest on the face of the earth. Not tinned or packaged. Absolutely fresh. I couldn’t stop picking.
Matching Wine: Bream Creak Schonburger, East Coast TAS

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Ma Po Tofu (above)
Silken tofu braised with mushrooms, garlic, chilli, black bean, shallots and peas. This is an incredibly balanced dish and one of the tastiest of the night, too.

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Sayor Masak Lemak (above)
Malay style vegetable curry cooked with fresh chilli, lemongrass and coconut milk. Medium hot. Fried tofu puffs used in this dish. Mop it up with Roti Canai which is pan-fried Malay flat bread.

Dessert

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Ice Cream Ball (Bite size ice cream ball dipped in chocolate) and Black Rice Pudding (Black glutinous rice cooked with Pandan leaves served with thick coconut cream, palm sugar and fresh fruit)
Tea or Coffee
Note: Although it wasn’t mentioned in the menu, we were served dessert wine too.

The Service
One thing I’d like to say about service –or maybe two—our waitress in the beginning of the night told us that the wines she was serving would go nicely both with scampi and crab, assuming we ordered the non-vegetarian menu. It would have been nicer if she checked first. At the end of the day, they have all-year-around vegetarian menu and it is quite popular. And based on our previous experiences at The Malaya, this wasn’t the first time she was working there.

The other thing was, although the wines were well-matched for the style of food at The Malaya, the ones which were served with our starters were served in pairs. As a result, it made it difficult for us to pace ourselves and identify each glass of wine as soon as the waiter left the table. Chilled wines also get warmer in Sydney weather.

The Malaya can be found at this address:
39 Lime St,
Sydney NSW 2000

Happy New Year, Peoples 🙂

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