I am pleased to report that I have officially survived my first week back at work after holidays. I am not sure about everyone else, but I always find it really hard to adjust back to work after a few weeks of slothing about. I also find that I am hungry all the time – constantly finding myself at the work fruit bowl (or to be completely honest, the biscuit tin and coffee machine) – due to the fact that my holiday timetable consists largely of eating lots, all day, everyday.
What always adds to my back to work ‘hunger pains’ is the fact that over the holidays The Brooding Architect and I tend to treat ourselves to numerous mid-week holiday “I’m not really hungry but might as well eat” lunches. One such lunch happened just last week following some post-Christmas sales shopping. After ‘sensibly’ using the last of my Christmas gift vouchers to buy a $37 bottle of hand wash (don’t judge me, it was Aesop), The Brooding Architect and I found ourselves near QV when the mood for lunch struck. I am of the view that QV (for the non-Melbourne locals, this is a large shopping complex on in the Melbourne CBD) is a bit of a food wasteland so was trying to convince The Brooding Architect that an iced chocolate from Max Brenner constitutes lunch, when on a whim, we decided to eat at Old Town Koptitam Mamak (“OTKM“), which is located in QV Square.
The food we ate at OTKM was actually pretty good – certainly better than anything else I have ever eaten at QV – so I was surprised to read that OTKM generally gets pretty terrible reviews on Urban Spoon. For around $30, we got a dozen mixed satay (chicken and beef), some steamed rice, rojak and some iced lychee drinks.
The satay is fresh cooked to order on a hot grill, resulting in a lovely smoky flavour. The satay is served with the usual accompaniments – peanut sauce and slices of cucumber and red onion. The peanut sauce was a little on the sweet side for me and lacked the spicy chilli kick I am always hankering for, but was nonetheless quite tasty. The beef satay was definitely the standout though – a lot more flavorsome than the chicken satay.
Rojak is one of my absolute favorite foods. Rojak is a spicy Malay / Singaporean vegetable and fruit salad, which contains fried Chinese doughnuts (the same ones normally served with congee), bean curd (tofu), cucumber, pineapple, green mango (or green apple) and served with a thick, sweet and spicy peanut sauce flavored with chilli and shrimp paste. The mix of flavours sounds eclectic but it is fantastically refreshing on a hot summer’s day. It can be hard to find, but if you do stumble upon some, it is definitely worth being adventurous and giving it a try.
The rojak at OTKM was certainly not the best I have ever had, but by Australian standards is was pretty good. It had all the right flavour elements, and for $7.50 was a pretty generous serving. My only criticism was that like the peanut satay sauce, the rojak sauce was a little on the sweet side for me.
To wash it all down we ordered a couple of iced lychee drinks. These were simple and refreshing – literally some lychees and lychee syrup in iced water – and definitely not excessively sweet. If you feel like something a bit more sugar-y though, I would suggest ordering the cendol or iced milo dinosaur.
Despite all the bad press, I found OTKM to be pretty good value for the price. Perhaps just stick to the fresh cooked menu items and avoid ordering the pre-cooked items from the Bain Marie.