Every Friday night (except tonight) Yuye and I have been venturing to the city for dinner with some of his friends. As the majority of them are Malaysian Chinese who live near Lygon St, Carlton, the obvious choice of cuisine (unsurprisingly) has mostly been Malaysian/Singaporean or Italian. A few weeks ago, we visited Killiney Kopitiam which is Singaporean fare actually on Lygon St (the best of both worlds eh). Kopitiam for those who don’t know is a Malay word for Cafe with ‘kopi’ meaning coffee and ‘tiam’ meaning shop. Killiney Kopitiam is actually a franchise store that started on Killiney St, Singapore in 1919 to promote Hainanese style cuisine in Singapore and has since expanded to Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Australia.
I wasn’t expecting much when I first sat down. It looked just like any other cheap, Asian restaurant that served mediocre food and drinks. What initially changed my mind about this place was its iced coffee. Noticeably different to a regular iced coffee you would get in a western style cafe, its ‘ice blended coffee with ice cream’ for $3.90 was so strong, creamy and refreshing I just wanted the whole thing to myself! It was a similar to the Vietnamese white iced coffees that I was used to but it was a bit creamier but less tasting like condensed milk. The ice cream was slightly too sweet for me though so I’ll remember to order it without the ice cream next time.
What I loved yet again about this iced coffee was the glass mug it was served in. Isn’t it so cute? It looked like a glass jar except it came with a convenient handle which I automatically thought would make a fantastic food prop. I went online that night that found out that the brand is actually imported from Mexican and is a very common mug to serve drinks in around South East Asia.
The second thing that made me decide I really liked this place was the kaya toast. For those who don’t know, kaya is a jam made from coconut milk, pandan leaves, sugar and other ingredients. So essentially, it’s a sweet coconuty spread that goes with just about anything. It came in a set with 2 very runny eggs and a drink (ordered by Arch) for just a bit over $5. How cheap and delicious is that? The kaya toast was absolutely fantastic, it made me want to make it at home but making kaya isn’t the easier thing to do.
I didn’t quite understand the runny eggs, but apparently we were meant to dip the kaya toast in it. Correct me if I’m wrong on this one. Arch just ended up slurping all the egg by themselves which would have tasted fantastic I’m sure.
I had a big craving for curry at the time so I decided to go for the Killiney Curry Chicken with Roti Prata for $8.50. I don’t even think you can get such dishes for this price in food courts anymore so it was definitely good value. The curry was quite watery compared to traditional Indian curries and it wasn’t as spicy or aromatic. However, it was still very tasty and went very well with the roti prata.
The roti prata was quite thin, crunchy and not oily which I was surprised about. It did its job soaking up all the curry sauce and despite looking not that big, it was actually very filling.
Yuye’s regular Killiney fried kway teow (char kway teow) for $8.80 was not too oily and has ample seasoning. What it lacked was deep fried lard which a lot of places don’t put. I know it sounds disgusting to some people but believe me it makes the dish taste so much better!
Arch’s nasi goreng was tastier than expected. I only tried a tiny bit of the fried rice so I can’t say much about the rest of the dish, but from what I tasted, it was not bad at all. It was quite a substantial dish so I have no idea how Arch managed to finish all of it AND the kaya toast.
Killiney Kopitiam is able to keep down costs by making things mostly self served – pay and order at the counter, water and glasses were placed on a shelf for self service and so forth but it’s a welcomed thing amongst university students and people who don’t mind saving a few bucks (like myself, plus Yuye ordered and got me water :P). With dishes so cheap and tasty, I wouldn’t mind coming dining here a bit more often! If you’re planning to visit, I would suggest trying the iced coffee and kaya toast. The drink that comes with the kaya toast set can be changed to the iced coffee.
If you’re interested, LuxBite also has a kaya toast flavoured macaron which is my favourite flavour there.
Question time: Do you like kaya flavoured food such as these kaya toasts?
Phone: (03) 9650 9880
114 Lygon STreet, Carlton VIC 3053