We were on a mission to try a new tapas restaurant, but they were closed for lunch, so off we went to the “open all hours” Selera Malaysian Café.
This is one of Auckland’s very popular Malaysian food court style restaurants that serves good authentic Malaysian food. It is located near the corner of Khyber Pass Road and Broadway, making it convenient whether you are shopping or going to the movies.
It was a busy lunch hour but we were able to grab a table relatively quickly. There is table service if you eat in – order at the counter for takeaways.
We decided to order three classic Malaysian dishes: Curry chicken with roti canai ($12.50); Laksa noodle soup with seafood (lunch special price $9.90/regular price $13.50) and Nasi Lemak with beef rendang ($14.00).
We helped ourselves to the complimentary tea and water and did not have long to wait before the dishes arrived in quick succession.
Many people around us were eating the Laksa for lunch and it was easy to see why. It was a large bowl of steaming spicy soup filled with noodles, both surimi and real seafood and tofu. A very filling meal for one person that could easily have been enough for two. But there was more…
The curry chicken had several pieces of well-cooked chicken and large chunks of potato. Be careful when eating the chicken – in true malaysian style, the bird had been chopped with a cleaver and there were a few slivers of bone. The roti canai (2 pieces) was a light flatbread that helped to mop up the sauce.
I love Beef Rendang and this was one of the most delicious versions that I have eaten. The large chunks of meat were dark and tender from the slow cooking and literally melted in your mouth. The accompanying coconut rice gave a delicious slightly sweet note to the beef.
The Nasi Lemak also included half a hard-boiled egg, peanuts and crunchy anchovies in sauce. Almost like the roadside versions in Malaysia but no banana leaf of course.
Needless to say there was far more food than two people could eat, but the server happily organised for the leftovers to be put into containers for me to take home.
If you would like to venture off the classic food route, then you can try such dishes as Mummy Chicken ($13.50 – sweet like a mother!), Shredded Chicken Hor Fun ($13.50) or Fish Collar Noodle ($18). Our meal had been heavy on the protein and light on the vegetables, so next time I would substitute one dish for either a simple dish of greens ($7) or the Lemak Sayur ($18 – mixed vegetables cooked with coconut milk and dry shrimp). Selera also offers the King Prawns with Oats ($18.50) which I have found curiously addictive.
Selera is even more reasonably priced at lunch time – its lunch specials cost $9.90 and include Laksa, Spareribs, Squid with ketchup sauce, Beef Satay and Hainan Chicken Rice.
If you enjoy tasty food and are happy with simple décor and busy environment, then add Selera to your list of “must try” Cheapeats restaurants.