Nelayan Restaurant (Melbourne, Australia)
On our last review I mentioned that we sneaked out of our first day event as we feel like having a full Asian meal with rice and/or noodles rather than eating cocktails before having a night of unlimited booze. The next day event was a similar scenario where we sneaked out as well but this time it was easier as the place was too crowded, there were so much people per square meter they will never notice that you left.
This time around we went farther, not in Melbourne Chinatown but in Swanston St, a good walk from our venue where we were after an Indonesian restaurant after my Indonesian colleagues got denied the last time. They were eyeing this before and now we are here at Nelayan Restaurant.
Nelayan Restaurant feels like you usual Malay / Indonesian restaurant where you can pick your own food and at the payment counter they give you a price on what you grabbed. While they offer this type of serving, they also have ala carte options and we ordered both. Although he had preloaded with snacks from where we came we are still hungry for some Asian food, so we indulged.
First order wash from the ala carte option where we grabbed some Bakso Kuah (AU$ 10.00) additional $1.00 if you want noodles but since we are getting some rice we just got the soup. As expected it was good, similar to most bakso I tried, this one I think has tendons as it was very firm and with a bouncy crunch, nice texture and flavours. This was my favourite.
Then next of my favourites was this Batagor (AU$ 9.00) a mixture of fried Indonesian fish dim sum and tofu served with peanut sauce. This was addictive, very crunchy with a nice sweet savoury peanut sauce, I reckon this will go well with beer, nibbling away those crunchy morsels. Even a non-tofu lover would glad to have this dish, trust me!
Then came the Nasi Goreng Kampung (AU$ 11.00), an Indonesian village Style spicy fried rice with chicken and seafood. This was the favourite of my Indonesian colleagues and I can understand why, it was kicking hot, for the untamed tongue this will be a challenge, it was so spicy, but the flavours of the chicken and seafood can still be tasted, perhaps this was in the edge of just tasting like chillies, but they done well in balancing the flavours on this one.
We also had some Ayam Kalasan (AU$ 10.00), a marinated fried chicken served with chilli and pickles. While the photo may look dry, it was so flavourful, it’s one of those chicken breasts that you can happily eat.
Then for the last item we grabbed this Combi 3: Rice + 3 dishes (AU$ 12.00) and the dish of choice was Kari Ayam, Tauge goreng and a curried dish of Squash and Green Beans. Everything was good in this combo specially that Kari Ayam that I was expecting to be strong in flavour, but it was surprisingly mild, sweet and creamy. Maybe because my tongue suffered from that fried rice, and if that is the case it was a good combination.
It was a good place, feels like you are eating a home cooked meal cooked by your grandmother. Place was not fancy, feels like eating in a clean Bali street restaurant. Food as rustic, honest to goodness dish that I guess Indonesians would really love, there was no doubt about it as there are many Indonesian locals that was dining in when we were there.
Address: 265 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Phone: +61 3 9663 5886