28 February 2013

Alice's Makan ~ Malaysian - Sydney CBD


Last year's surprise closure of the much loved Malaysian restaurant Alice's Makan in Thornleigh caused many tears. But now Alice's Makan is up and running in a city foodcourt we're all smiles.





They have taken the place of Lee's Malaysian in the HBSC Centre Food Court, on the corner of George and Bathurst Street, near Chinatown.

Malaysian food fiends will forever argue until their cockles are completely kwaytowed about who does the best dishes where. We're not sure if Alice's does anything 'best in town' but everything is pretty dang good across the menu, we're yet to find a dud dish, our favourite savoury dishes were probably the char kway teow and the fried radish cake.

The 'wow' moments for us were during dessert. We've read that Alice's started out making Malaysian kuih, Malaysian sweets. Sweets are still on the menu and are a must-try, and the ice desserts/drinks are sensational.



We're overjoyed to learn that Alice's stays open until 6.40pm, we can make it for an after work feed. It's the only joint open at this time and it's empty except for a few fellow diners and office workers staring at their phones, students having picnics of chips and cola from the supermarket. It's like a secret oasis of early evening calm in here.

We are also pleased they don't open on the weekends - they need a break sometime.



On our first visit we have our traditional favourites...
  • Har mee (prawn noodle soup) - $11. The soup broth is great, it has that lovely prawnie kick we love, maybe a little salty for some tastes. Thick slices of roast pork, prawns cut in half and a half googie. Two types of noodles and a slurping good finish. [nb - Alison didn't bitch about it being served in a disposable polysomethingite bowl, so it must have been good]
  • Hainanese chicken rice - $10.50. Great rice and chili, the chook was nice soft and flavourful though with a bit  of that 'boiled' kind of flavour (not sure how to describe it) that some chicken rices have. A good chicken rice but not a magic one. We did try it at the end of the day so we will give it another crack at lunchtime.



Char kway teow - $11. The flat noodles have that 'breath of the wok' we always seek, and a touch of sweetness. This version comes with seafood, egg, Chinese sausage and lovely crunchy little slithers of pork crackle. Yeah baby.



Fried radish cake - $11. Mooshed up radish that is steamed, set, then cut up and stirfried into a homely stodgey masterpiece. Here it is served with a little veg and some egg. The chef just charcoaled the edges so it has a nice charcoal finish to it, we love his work. The chef seems pretty happy that we ordered this, it's a very popular dish in Malaysia and Singapore, but we guess not many skips order it. Chef comes out from his workstation to proudly tell us that this is the only place we can get radish cake in Sydney. Wonder if he is right? [edit - Miss Piggy advises that Jackie M in Concorde sometimes does radish cake].


    Nasi Lemak - $10.50. Coconut rice beef rendang (top) or curry chicken (below) with a half googie egg, sambal and ikan bilis (dried anchovies and peanuts). The rice has a nice coconut zing and it's nice and light, very happy. Beef rendang is nice and better but to our taste buds the chicken curry is a better match with the coconut rice.



    • Chicken laksa - $10 - looks like chicken laksa, tastes like chicken laksa.
    • Clear Soup - $11 - flat rice noodles in a plain chicken-y broth with some slices of chook and  fishcake. Good for when you're in the mood for something plain.



    Wat tan hor - $13 - another homely dish of noodles, prawns, pork, fish cake and veggies in a thick, plain gooey, eggy gravy. Mr Shawn had visited a few days in a row so the bloke who mans the wok offers a special version with two types of noodles, and on a proper plate. "You're very lucky" says a staff lady looking up while eating her lunch "you eat what we eat."



    Ice kachang - $5. This was a mind blower, the ice had the perfect mix of palm sugar, carnation milk and grenadine flavours, reminds us of those Redskin Split iceblocks we had as kiddies, that magic mix of red ice block and white icecream. It's served in a nifty takeaway container, a good size serve for one person.



    The cendol - $5 is equally fantastic. Crushed ice with the gorgeous burnt sugar flavour of gula melaka (palm sugar) with green jelly pandan snakes and red beans.



    Our favourite sweety - pandan on coconut sticky rice - it's dense, moist and packed with flavour. At $5 the signature kuih may seem a little pricey but we reckon it's well worth it, though we wish they'd sell little individual fingers for say $2 for a quick cheap sugar hit.



    Another visit, another kuih. This one is more sublte in flavour, for us the green coconut pandan number packs a bigger flavour wallop.



    Alice's Makan is at 580 George St in the HSBC Centre. Open until 6.45 weeknights, Monday to Friday only.

    ALICE's makan on Urbanspoon

    24 comments:

    1. EXCELLENT! Wow how many times did you guys go....!? every day for a week?

      fried radish cake, beef rendang, har mee, and cendol are on my list to try

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      1. It was all one meal... only kidding! We visited over a number of times which we really like to do if possible. It gives you such a better sense of a place than a one off visit.

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    2. Can I PLEASE come here with you the next time you go for an early nana/pop dinner...PLEASE? Jackie M sometimes has Radish Cake on her menu...it's one of my favourite Malaysia dishes (along with about 15 other things)...but this may be the only place you can get it in the city.

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      1. Of course! They are only open nanna hours anyway so perfect. They are quite proud of their radish cake.

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    3. Hey Guys, absolutely love your reviews, please keep them coming.
      Can you please review Yummy Cuisine in the city, it is underneath Martin Place on the way to Martin Place Station, just down from the McDonalds. It moved from the old Centrepoint food hall, and always has a crowd around it.

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      1. Thanks for the tip! We don't get into that end of town often but might make it worthwhile.

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    4. love this review, I hear Mamak has opened an outpost in the foodcourt in the Metcash building in George Street near Wynard. Please give it a review.

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      1. More places to try! thanks for the tip.

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    5. I was sad to hear that Alice's had closed down in Thornleigh but good to know that they've opened back up! Their kuih is amazing!

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      1. It's great to see they sell it. This place really stands out from a lot of other city food hall joints.

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    6. I love radish cake. The malaysian stall at marrickville markets do radish cake. And you can get a real plate for $2 that you can return for washing up at the entrance to the market.
      Hoolia

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      1. Will have to check that out next time we are down there. I wonder can you bring your own plate and save $2?

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    7. Oh my that pandan and coconut sticky rice has caught my attention! I'm glad to hear they opened up in the city - a much more convenient location for me :D

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    8. To be pefectly honest, i've lived in Sydney for close to 20 years and I never actually knew there was a food court there. If i'm in that part of town I tend to go to the Pittsway food court (underneath Woolies, highly recommended by the way) but it seems i'll have to check out the HSBC food court next time :)

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      1. It's the best pick in that food court, there's also a Vietnamese place that looks good too but not much else. We are keen to get to Pittsway soon, there's great stuff there too.

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    9. Excellent! Can't wait to try them out when I get back to Oz next year.. fingers cross they're still there by then. :P

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    10. Thanks so much for blogging about this. I tried the fried radish cake today and it was awesome - 'smoky wok' flavour was perfect. I will definitely return...

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    11. Apparantly there's a cheap eats guide in the SMH tomorrow, just letting you guys know :)

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    12. ohhhh so it's inside the HSBC building foodcourt - I tried looking for it at The Galeries >< explains why I couldn't find it!

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    13. oh and the Chef is incorrect, you can get fried radish cake at Jackie M's :)

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      1. I dare you to mention this to the chef...

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    14. need to try this though the food court is an interesting location. hope i get to try it soon since it isn't very close to work (unless i catch the train from martin place to town hall) and it's doesn't open on weekends. so many dishes that i wanna try!

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    15. You can also get fried radish cake (chai tau kueh) in Malacca straits (Broadway) and it's just as good (and a HUGH portion)!

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    Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great nom noms that come along with it. Think Maeve O'Meara, not Masterchef :-)
    Our ethics: We pay for all our own meals and travel (although sometimes our Mum shouts us).