Saturday, December 4, 2010

Across the Border: Kings Cross: Food: KL Kitchen

It was so steamy in Sydney last night, it was just like Kuala Lumpur, so the climate called for beer and Roti Canai. I spent a few hours at the Fountain Cafe, near the El Alamein Fountain in Kings Cross, drinking happy-hour beers, and then I wobbled on down with my photographer friend, John Webber, to Llankelly Place, which is a pretty happening area these days. 
Once the domain of shoe-repairers, dry-cleaners, drunks, piss and vomit, the alley has since had a face lift that coincided with the new shopping-residential development on Springfield Mall, which obviously inspired the City of Sydney council to whip out some of their trademark grey granite tiles and spruce up the area. Really, the council needs no excuse to pull out the grey tiles - they must have a stockpile of them.

It looks lovely doesn't it? The grey tiles seem to have brought about a Llankelly Place Renaissance with new cafes, restaurants, clothing boutiques, a pop-up Tokyo Bike shop and bars opening over the past few months. 
KL Kitchen has been around since the drunk and shoe-shine days, but tonight it felt cleaner and more vibrant, with a fresh lick of paint inside and a cute aqua-coloured picket-fence surrounding the al fresco dining area. 

I just love the way this gorgeous girl is holding her hair. She looked so perfect next to this bright, fuchsia-pink painting. And this man was wearing just the right aqua-coloured shirt: 

I do like the combination of fuchsia and aqua, which is not only on the walls, but echoed on the napkins too, while the blue shade is also highlighted in this sweet wall candelabra that Webber insisted on snapping, and I include here for his benefit:

So the specialty of the house, like any good Malaysian restaurant, is the curry with a side of Roti Canai - that lovely, flaky, fire-hot, flat-bread. But, I discovered tonight, KL Kitchen is also serving Chinese Dim Sum, which was busy steaming away on portable-burners near the window:

Still, I was craving Roti Canai, so that's what I ordered. I also wanted the Mama's Chicken Curry, but it was sold out, so I had to have the beef version, which wasn't as good. The flavour was punchy - and oh, so chili hot - but I really didn't like the cut of meat, which reminded me of the beef and lamb dishes served in Chinese restaurants. It was kind of flat, thinly sliced and without any texture. 

Luckily, we also ordered the Sambal Belachan and Kangkung, or Asian Water Spinach. I love Belachan, which is a mixture of fried chilli, garlic and ground-shrimp, but wow, this one was bloody hot and I couldn't eat much of it, even though it tasted delicious. 

I think we just ordered too much food, because there was so much left-over. And what can you do with it? I considered taking it home, but there's only so much Belachan you can eat in a week. 
A friend of mine, who also lives alone, once took a doggy-bag of left-overs from a restaurant with the intention of giving it to a homeless man who was always mooching around her area. But when she offered the food to him, he looked at her in disgust and shook his head. The homeless people in Sydney don't have much need for food as there are plenty of organisations that cater to them. They just need a hot shower and a roof over their heads, I guess.
With that story in mind, I left the Belachan and Kangkung behind. We had a couple of Heineken beers and the bill came to just under $60. 
We sat outside for a bit to finish our beers and while we were there, a friendly man pulled up and secured his electric bicycle to the aqua picket-fence. It turned out he was Peter Hull, the co-owner of KL Kitchen, and he had just returned from a home delivery. 
Not surprisingly Mr Hull prefers hooning around the streets at night, making home deliveries, rather than being on waiter-duties at the restaurant. Mr Hull paid about $600 for his electric bicycle and told us he can make a delivery to nearby Darling Point and be back at the shop within 20 minutes. Not bad. And now I want an electric bicycle too. 

KL Kitchen
Malaysian Chinese Cuisine
Shop 7, 133 Macleay Street
Potts Point NSW 2011
Entrance: 38 Llankelly Place
02 9360 8789

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