Cinta Malaysian Restaurant
Cinta Malaysian Restaurant has been around for many years, and with its recent inclusion in the Metro Cheapeats Top 100 listing, I thought it was time that we checked it out.
Cinta is located on a corner site on busy Dominion Road. On a dark and rainy evening it was a pleasant oasis with staff that gave us a warm welcome. There was only one other table occupied when we arrived close to 7pm, but when we left after 8pm, the restaurant was nearly full. Guess everyone was caught up in Auckland’s infamous traffic.
We decided to restrain ourselves for once and bypassed the starters. There are offerings such as satays (4/$8) and pandan chicken (6/$8). There is also a good range of non-alcoholic drinks and juices (as well as a wine list), but we stuck with water.
The Assam lamb curry ($16) and sambal eggplant ($14) had come highly recommended, so we decided to try those dishes, plus noodle dish Kway Tiaw Goreng with chicken ($13.50). We ordered the single serving sizes since there were only two of us, but there are larger more expensive sizes if you are in a group and can share.
The food arrived quickly and first up was the sambal eggplant. This was so good that I could have made a meal of it for myself. The eggplant had been thinly sliced, then fried so that the eggplant was slightly caramelised. There was just enough of the savoury sauce to give a wonderful depth of flavour. I could detect fish sauce but there were other ingredients that made it compelling.
The Assam lamb curry was served in a small metal dish and we had asked for some plain steamed rice to accompany it. The lamb had been thinly sliced (more tender than the chunks we usually see in curries) and was in a rich and fragrant curry sauce that included cardamom and cumin – two of my favourite spices. We asked for more rice so that we could use up all the sauce remaining in the bowl!
The Kway Tiaw Goreng was a runner-up to the flavourful dishes that we had enjoyed so far. This typical Malaysian noodle dish is made with flat rice noodles cooked at high heat with light and dark soy sauce, chili and bean sprouts. We had opted for the chicken rather than the seafood version. Great comfort food but it did not have the high flavour that we enjoyed in our other two dishes. Probably better if we had eaten it first!
Cinta Restaurant takes pride in cooking authentic Malaysian food, using fresh spices and locally sourced produce, fish and meat. This care shows in the result. You can enjoy just one or two dishes, but to really to make the most of food, bring a group and try a variety.