Malaysian banquet @ Ayam Chef

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of MATRADE's Malaysian Kitchen Program.
Ayam Chef aims to satisfy Melbourne’s unquenchable thirst for South East Asian cuisine by offering authentic Malaysian food in bustling South Melbourne.
The dining room is casual and contemporary with  subdued grey walls complimented by comfortable wooden furnishings. Feature walls provide a clever accent, as do the light bulbs that hang from the ceiling.

The menu features a variety of Malaysian favourites including hawker style food as well as main dishes to share with rice. 
Top left: Seafood Tofu Soup w. Crab meat & prawn
Top right: Lobak five spice meat rolls
Bpttom left: Ayam Chef's Flame grilled Chicken Breast Satay with peanut sauce
Bottom right: Shredded Duck Soup w. tofu, water chestnut, Chinese mushroom, & vinegar

We enjoyed the selection of entrees which we devoured very quickly. Of particular note were the succulent, aromatic, freshly grilled chicken satay skewers which we slathered in the decadent and perfectly spiced satay sauce.
Malaysian Curry Beef (Rendang)

The beef curry was decadent. The full-bodied, pungent rendang gravy paired beautifully with melt-in-your-mouth morsels of beef. We enjoyed the richness of the curry and the generous use of spices which showcased the customary punchy flavours exhibited by Malaysian curries generally.  Together with steamed rice, it was an addictive and comforting dish.
Deep Fried Cod Fish Cutlet w. banana leaf in Malaysian sambal sauce

The deep fried cod pieces were coated in thin crisp batter that encapsulated firm, sweet flesh. Coated in a delectable sambal sauce, it was simply superb.
Spicy Wok Fried "Kam Hoing" Prawns (in shell) w. lemongrass, curry leaf, dry shrimp & egg in tangy sauce

The Kam Hoing prawns were absolutely delicious. The gorgeous, plump prawns were bursting with freshness and cooked perfectly. The flavours were complex and harmonious. There was the perfect amount tartness from the sauce and a beautiful amalgamation of fragrant flavours courtesy of the lemongrass and curry leaf.
Stir Fried Eggplant, Okra, beans w. Malaysian Sambal sauce

The Stir Fried Eggplant, Okra, beans with Malaysian Sambal sauce was the dish of the night. It was a well-conceived dish that took full advantage of the eggplant’s most notable characteristic – its supple flesh. The thick pieces of eggplant were encrusted with rich sambal and were beautifully caramelised. The gooey okra further enhanced the texture of the creamy eggplant flesh that melted in the mouth in a manner similar to unctuous pork fat while the crunchy beans added texture. Although vegetarian dishes are often easily dismissed, this particular gem is one that commands respect.

The desserts were beautiful.  
Left: Sago pudding w. coconut milk and palm sugar
Right: Mini soy milk pudding w. palm sugar and fresh grated ginger

Banana fritter w. ice cream

Kueh dada w. ice cream

Our favourite was the kueh dada. This sweet coconut stuffed pancake roll was beautifully made and matched perfectly with the cold coconut ice cream. It was an especially gratifying dessert that concluded our evening on a sweet high.
Ayam Chef presents a refreshing take on Malaysian cuisine whilst remaining true to its origins. With food this good, a delightfully casual atmosphere and prices this reasonable, Ayam Chef is great for a casual catch up with friends or a decadent feast with the family.

Location: 67-69 Coventry Street, Southbank,
Phone: 03 9681 4480
Cuisine: Asian, Malaysian

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