Friday 22 March 2013

Secret Recipe (Melbourne Central) CLOSED and CHANGED HANDS

Melbourne Central - Store L03, 308, 211 LaTrobe Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Secret Recipe - Melbourne Central on Urbanspoon
In Singapore and Malaysia, I only ever went for the dessert and not really for the meals. They have the same cakes here which are fantastic but that's not what this review is about. The desserts are not Asian inspired and range from blackforest cake to cheese cake - all very yummy! However, that's not what this blog is about. How did the Asian dishes hold up? In my opinion, not very well.

This is a Halal certified cafe and to my knowledge, the only Halal restaurant in Melbourne Central.

The Place
This cafe is set within Melbourne Central in an almost hidden corner, next to Nando's on Level 3. Blink and you miss it. Parking within the Melb Central carpark is entirely possible. This is a relatively open cafe with not much ambience. It's relatively spacious and because of where it is situated, can be somewhat noisy during peak hours.

Things to do Nearby: You're inside Melbourne Central and across from the State Library.

The Food
Usually comes with Prawns :) This is ok but not 'Penang' enough
The food is not completely authentic or like what you might get back home. Their best dishes are not their "Asian Classics", meaning there's not a lot to rave about. The most recent Asian dish I tried here was the Penang Char Kway Teow - which had very little Penang influence because it didn't have the spice, the smokiness, and the finer kway teow (flat rice noodle) common to CKT from Penang.

Their Shrimp Wontons  are less wontons and more 'money bags' but relatively tasty.

Overall, the serves here are really small for the price one pays, especially the Asian dishes. I actually left, still feeling hungry, which hasn't really happened in any of the other restaurants I have blogged about thus far. An average meal with a drink would easily come up to near $20 - not your cheap cheerful Asian eatery.

The Service
The service is inconsistent and not very attentive. They are friendly enough when they notice you and generally very nice. However, they lack the consistency means that sometimes, you get good service, and sometimes, you could be sitting there playing on your phone for a while unless if you call out to them.

I would go to Secret Recipe for the cakes, that's the highlight for me here. Not a place I would go to if I wanted Asian - which is ironic - given they are a Malaysian chain. When next I am in Singapore and Malaysia - I might go try their dishes and see if they are comparable.

Cultural Moment
What is halal food? In Arabic, Halal means 'lawful'. The opposite in to Halal is Haram (which is prohibited). Foods that are prohibited include pork or any by product of pork; blood; animals not slaughtered in the name of God; Alcohol; and Carrion. There is a prescribed Zabiha methodology in the slaughter of animals under Islamic law. In many parts of the non-Muslim world, there are some Halal certified restaurants and cafe which serve food from a wide variety of cuisines (such as Secret Recipe, that also serves pasta and a range of meat and 3 veg options).

There is also sometimes, the question of whether kosher food is similar to halal food? To my knowledge, they are different primarily because one of the requirements is the Zahiba method of slaughter of the animals, which includes the pronouncement of God during the slaughter - not required in kosher practice. Then, there's the difference in the treatment of alcohol between the two as well. Clearly, they are not the same in all circumstances.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy each and every word of this blog. I am an active reader of Melbourne ... love this blog