Nasi Lemak @ Eatzone Noodle House, Kentish Town, London
Tried to go to Queen of Sheba for their Ethiopian Coffee ceremony, but found that they were closed (for lunch or on holiday). Had eaten very recently at Bull and Last (a magnificent slab of roasted suckling pig covered in a brilliantly crispy skin with a white bean stew with black pudding , sausage and other vegetables among other wonders) so that was out.
So decided to give this place a try. Big menu of Chinese noodley items, but from looking at the specialities, the chef is probably Malaysian Chinese.
Nasi Lemak was surprisingly good --a fairly aromatic rice with coconut and pandan (not the absolute best, but not bad at all), an excellent sambal with just the right level of sweetness, heat and savoury pungence, fried anchovies, very good achar (pickles, with chilli, oil, spices and lots of sesame seeds), a very solid chicken curry, cucumber slices, an ordinary boiled egg, roasted peanuts. While the quality of the components varied, some of the components (e.g. achar, sambal) were a touch better than the version at Sedap. Sedap has a sense of refinement that this place lacks, but the cooking seemed more down-to-earth and homey. Will see how the other dishes fare -- laksa and wan tan ho are probably my next things to try.
Tried a couple more things:
Wan tan ho, consisting of stir-fried flat rice noodles under a starchy sauce with egg, various kinds of seafood and vegetables, was merely ok, and certainly nowhere as good as C&R's (Chinatown) version.
Chicken rice was delicious. The rice had lots of chicken flavour, coupled with garlic and some ginger. It's served with a very light chicken consomme with white pepper and scallions. The poached chicken seemed mostly dark meat (which I prefer for flavour) and was well seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil, and tender. Chilli sauce checked all the boxes too. Missing the sticky dark soy sauce, but not a huge deal. I'm still in a bit of disbelief, but it might be the best chicken rice I've had in London so far. Will have to see how it holds up.
The Lo Mee -- dark spicy (as in star anise, not chilli) starchy sauce is quite true to form, a reasonable depth backed up by a vinegar and garlic sauce that gives it an enticing weight and acidity. Beneath that wheat noodles, slices of chinese fish cake, pork, small prawns, and a good sprinkle of crispy shallots. Better than pretty good.
Just got back from eatzone. Unfortunately, they were out of the nasi lemak which was my main reason for venturing out there. Had to settle for the other malaysian dishes instead.
Chicken rice - Not too bad. The rice was fragrant and the chicken was quite tasty. I wasn't given any ginger on the side or the black sticky sauce which should be mandatory as it is supposed to be Hainanese chicken rice. They did have the chilli sauce though. I have to say the best chicken rice I've had in London is still the one at Kiasu in Bayswater.
Char Kuay Teow - Fairly decent attempt but as I hold all CKTs in london to the Sedap standard, this was nowhere near.
Lo Mee - When the dish first arrived, the sauce was thick and starchy the way it should be but progressively it started to get less viscous and rather watery. I'm not a big Lo Mee fan but my partner who is said that it wasn't quite authentic.
Might be tempted to go back just for the nasi lemak but given the mediocrity of the other dishes, would rather head over to sedap instead.