Mabrown is a Malaysian/Chinese/Thai restaurant near the corner of Belmore Rd and Balwyn Rd in Balwyn. My friend Winwin suggested to dine at this restaurant for our ‘double date’ and although it was a fantastic get together and the quail was irresistible, the service was just terrible. I don’t usually expect anything from Chinese restaurants since it’s probably not in their nature to have great service and so we didn’t really complain. I didn’t see smiles on the waitresses’ faces all night and when we asked one of them where our rice was, she just said in an uncaring voice to wait and then never came back! We had to ask, I believe, the owner of the restaurant for the rice again. Nevertheless, the spicy quail was to die for and was the only thing that saved the night.
It’s not a surprise that Mabrown’s signature dish is the spicy deep fried quail. Not being a big fan of quails normally, I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was. The skin was crispy but not too oily, the meat was perfectly flavoured (I can tell it’s been cooked well when all the flavour of the sauce has gone inside) and was just the right spiciness. It sure was a lot of finger-licking goodness! We ordered 8 quail pieces between the 4 of us but I felt I could have eaten more than 2.
It is so popular with the patrons that quails can be seen on nearly every table and we were suggested to call up and pre-order them!
The beef rendang was a slight let down after tasting the wonderful quails. The beef was a bit dry and the sauce was really average as well. None of us liked it much and left it till the end to eat.
The sweet and sour pork was also fairly average. Although I wouldn’t say it was bad, but it somehow lacked…excitement. But then again, I’m not the biggest fan of sweet and sour pork to begin with. The batter was not crispy, the sauce was too sweet for my liking.
The Peking duck was a big hit with everyone though. It was tasty, juicy and the skin was divine. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the oiliness, I can see the thick fat under the skin. Compared to Simon’s Peiking Duck, it still has a long way to go but compared to other places I’ve tried, it’s quite delectable.
We were originally just ordering the above dishes but found that it wasn’t quite enough so added the extra Nonya fish on top of a plate which was constantly heated underneath. Nonya style cooking (also known as Peranakan) is a blend of Chinese, Malay and other influences. This dish tasted somewhat like tom yum, a type of Thai dish but was slightly less sour and less intense in flavour. We all liked the dish though as it was beautifully flavoured and the fish was very tender. The fish seemed a little small though.
Since the main reason for the meal was to get together and chat, we didn’t really mind being neglected by the waitresses so much as we were able to fill in the gaps with laughter and chatter. Although on the whole, the food was average, the quail was enough for me to go back again. However, don’t hold high expectations if you value good service.
Phone: (03) 9816 3755
190 Belmore Rd, Balwyn 3103