Singaporean cheap eatery touches down in Sydney! Is it as good and as cheap as it’s hyped up to be?
After almost being blown away by Antarctic winds, we made it to Central Park Chippendale – where in the former site of Fogo (Brazilian BBQ restaurant) Sydney’s first Killiney Kopitiam has opened up!
I’ve read a few glowing reviews prior, both praising the original Killiney Kopitiam on Killiney Rd Singapore, and raving on about Killiney Kopitiam Chippendale, so naturally our expectations were set pretty high.
At around 1.30pm on a Saturday afternoon, the place was probably less than half full? We were quickly seen to a table for 2 in the front portion of the inner restaurant. After studying each menu item (it’s a one pager) we settled on our choices and my wife headed over to the self-service kiosk to place our orders.
My wife elected for herself the Seafood Laksa ($12.50), Chicken Curry Roti for me ($12.50), and for drinks a Hot Kopi For her ($3.70), and an Ice Coconut drink for moi ($4.00).
And as we waited for our food, we took in the atmosphere of Killiney Kopitiam – the shop was a large and airy space, brown woods and gold trimming were the interior theme, with partitioned booths for larger groups further back into the restaurant, and smaller two-seater tables for the couples in the front portion. On the tables were a serviette dispenser and a tub of all your cutlery in multiples of 7, while over the sound-system they were playing a modern Western pop playlist.
After a wait of around 10 minutes, first to arrive was my wife’s Seafood Laksa.
One question that was running through my mind was, how large would the servings be? -if they wanted to keep their prices down, while trying to survive in Sydney. The size of the Laksa was a size smaller than we’d like it to be, but it wasn’t any run-of-the-mill Laksa, instead of egg noodles or the usual thin rice noodle, it was a noodle shaped like hokkien noodles but they were white in colour; and the seafood was fresher than what you’d usually be served up floating in your laksa broth at this price – prawns, mussels, scallops, and fish were your deep sea selection. And from all accounts, the Laksa broth was spicier than the usual offering as well! Yum!
Next to arrive was my wife’s Hot Kopi.
The Kopi is a Singaporean coffee, which was strong – we could smell the bitter burnt coffee flavour as soon as it was set down. With the sweetened condensed milk mixed in, the bitterness and sweet balanced themselves out. Caffeine-hit strong enough to deter any thoughts of a lazy Saturday afternoon post-lunch nap. Hehehe.
And after the first two items had arrive my wife was all set, but in front of me was still an empty table setting. Boo! But my Ice Coconut drink arrived shortly after.
I don’t know what I was thinking, hearing the words ice and coconut, I pictured shaved ice and a creamy coconut milk? But probs better that I was on the wrong wave-length (as it was too cold for a proper ice drink), instead the Ice Coconut drink was essentially young coconut juice with ice cubes (odd to make mention to the ice cubes in the name of the drink, isn’t it a given?). At first sip it tasted more than just your standard young coconut juice, as I thought there was a hint of a syrup mixed through it to add an extra sweetness and a slightly different flavour? But I’m not sure now, when consuming the large chunks of young coconut flesh at the end, one piece tasted a little over-ripe (a little alcoholic). Maybe perhaps that fruity-alcoholic taste was from that piece of over-ripe coconut?*Shrug*. But I enjoyed the drink all the same.
And the last to arrive was my Chicken Curry Roti.
And I have to clarify, from the time the first dish arrived, and when my Roti made its final touchdown- it was only 5 mins from start to finish? However with all the glorious food smells about, a 5 minute wait felt punishingly long. Haaha. But it was well and truly worth the wait, as the Roti was fresh from being touched by fire! I’d never had such flaky and blistered roties before! You can see it in the pic above, the outer layer was all puffed up, super crunchy, and it smelt sooo good! The aroma of buttery pastries. Mmmm.
In terms of portioning, I had expected only one roti cut into quarters? For $12.90 that is all you’d usually get for that price point. But I got 3 roties! Count them! 3! The bowl of Curry was reasonably sized, although there were only a few pieces of chicken, but who cares! Count them! 3 pieces of roti!!!!!
So tucking in with fingers, I tore at the hot flaky pastries, getting oils and crumbs all over my fingers- but I didn’t care, if eating was this good! Dipping the roti into the curry, and taking my first bite? Oh my goodness, my eyes probably rolled back into my head, the curry at first taste was quite spicy. So spicy that where the curry dribbled down my lip, it left a trail of burn (but with subsequent bites, it didn’t feel that chilli chilli anymore). It was super tasty though, and because they gave you so many pieces, I didn’t have to ration my roties- instead I ate with gusto, ending up with bigger and bigger pieces towards the end of the meal, using it to soak up the curry, and still having enough roti that I could be generous and offer up pieces to my wife to try! #Satisfying!
On the other hand, the chicken was a bit bony, like the dregs at the bottom of the pot. However it was cooked perfectly, being tender, without being dry or tough. There weren’t that many pieces and only 2 squares of potato, but it was fine, in the end the star of the dish was the roti! And I was so full when I finally put my cutlery down for the last time, i.e. scrubbing my oily fingers clean for the very last time.
Our end verdict? 4.0 From 5! (2.5 from 3 for Food (the food was a step above other Malaysian/Singaporean restaurants in this price-point, the produce was fresher and the flavours more authentic); 0.5 from 0.5 for Atmosphere (it was fitted-out nicely, the music gave the somewhat empty place atmosphere); 0 from 0.5 for Service (being self-service e.g. ordering kiosk and all of your cutlery was already there- definitely limited any interaction with staff. The longest interaction, was the 3 seconds the service staff hung around at your table, just to ensure that the dish that they’d just placed in front of you didn’t go spinning off your table from their haste to see to other things); and 1.0 from 1.0 for Value for Money (In this day and age, to have a main and a drink each and still have the grand total under $35! Not to mention how full we were at the end? That’s value in my language!)).
In conclusion, we came to Killiney Kopitiam with pretty high hopes, as they’ve been doing their thang for 100 years! But they met and exceeded our expectations! Hey! There were 3 roties! Count them! 3! The food wasn’t as gourmet as some Malaysian/Singaporean restaurants in Sydney have made Malaysian/Singaporean food to be, but as a cheap eatery, it didn’t need to be. My one and only concern is Killiney Kopitiam’s sustainability in Sydney’s food market, as for a cheap-eat to thrive, they need the volume of sales. Although it was slightly past the usual lunch hour, but having a 60% empty restaurant on a Saturday? I just hope they’re turning over enough to cover their costs, as I’d love to come back again and again to Killiney Kopitiam! Try it if you haven’t already! Singapore at your doorstep!
Killiney Kopitiam- Saturday 10 August (4.0 Stars).
PH: (02) 8317 6344
Shop 11, Lower Ground Floor, Central Park Mall, 28 Broadway, Chippendale
Mon-Sun 11.30am – 9.30pm