Monday, November 07, 2011

malaysian fix at chinta ria... mood for love

Chinta Ria... Mood For Love
Level 6 Shop 6009
Westfield Sydney
188 Pitt Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: +61 (02) 8072 8888

Besides being away from the family and loved ones, one other thing that's difficult about living overseas is finding places that sell authentic food from home (other than cooking it myself of course). Unfortunately, I have yet to be proven wrong although I would say that some have come close enough to hitting the spot. Otherwise, I've had to settle for close substitutes from various types of cuisine.

Klang-born restauranteur, Simon Goh has seen success with Chinta Ria at Darling Harbour and in the past year opened up Sassy's Red at the busy Westfield food court. After reading about a couple of positive reviews on Goh's latest venture 'Mood For Love', I decided to drop in to have a taste of (hopefully!) some "home" flavours.

 Otak O Tak
Spanish Mackerel Mousse

The first thing that hit me when this starter arrived at the table was how small it was for the price it was charged at. There was an overpowering amount of lemongrass which I felt could have been brought down a notch but otherwise, it had a pretty good spice level.

En Che Kebin Chicken
Village Fried Chicken

I'm not really sure what to make of this dish. The chicken was seasoned well but it wasn't crisp like what I would have expected fried chicken to be. Not a dish that I would order again.

Ada Assam Prawns
King Prawns in Tamarind Sauce

I liked this dish. Although I wished for more assam so that the dish would be more sour, I thought the flavour was good overall. The prawns were large and not overcooked as well. Definitely a good accompaniment with rice.

Coconut Rice
Chicken Flavoured Rice

I preferred the Chicken Flavoured Rice among the 2 only because there was more flavour. Although, the Coconut Rice was probably a better accompaniment for the Assam Prawns. One problem I had was the way it was served. It looked nice in the little pots but was really cumbersome to serve cos the pots were small and we had to be really careful not to spill over on the table.

 Quack! Quack! Kiam Chye
Braised Duck with Preserved Vegetables

This was the dish that caught my eye and lured me to this restaurant in the first place. I remember this dish fondly cos it was prepared by my late grandma everytime we made a visit back to the small town in Malaysia where she used to live. So that explains why I was looking forward to this dish the most. I have to commend Goh for trying to put this home favourite on his menu however, I was disappointed. There's one thing I cannot blame the chef for and that is the quality of the preserved vegetables. Back home, you can get it fresh easily. In Sydney, most of it comes vacuum packed from China. However, a great disservice was done to the dish because it didn't enjoy the cooking time it was meant to have. A good braised dish requires a long cooking time in order for the meat to fall apart. Here, the preserved vegetables were still crunchy and meat was tough. In fact, it was hard taking the meat off the bone even after I picked up the drumsticks with my hands and tried to use my teeth to tear the meat out. Not to mention, I had the meat stuck in between my teeth. Very unglamorous moment.

Prices are not exactly cheap but I would say that the main sized portions are good value. Dishes I'll definitely return for are the Roast Chicken and Fried Radish Cake (Chai Tow Koay) which I tried on a separate occasion. Whilst I felt that some dishes fell off the mark, I would probably still return if I need my Malaysian/Singaporean fix.


  1. Thanks for your thoughtful opinions. I've always wondered how authentic the taste was here, but will give it a go based on your recommendations.

  2. Honestly, the one place that I've tried that's closest to what it tastes like back home is Albee's Kitchen at Campsie. The limitation of certain ingredients is a problem and every dish is not as good as what it should be but yeah, it probably comes closest to it if you need your fix. These days if I'm craving for Char Kway Teow (Fried Rice Noodles), I head to a Thai place for Pad Siew instead. :)