NL House brings Malaysian street-food culture, and hawker dishes to the heart of Melbourne.
Having benefited from a recent facelift last year, the restaurant is beaming with pride. Speaking to owners Marcel and Aline (who bought NL House in 2008), it is clear that they are passionate about the food that they serve. Everything you eat is made in-house. From the popular 'sambal' condiment that accompanies your nasi lemak to the pandan jelly in your iced cendol.
The sambals: Traditional (spicy chilli sambal) Kelantan (sweet and sour sambal) Kerabu (shrimp and lime leaf sambal)
These babies take a gruelling 8 hours to make and are some of the tastiest and most authentic we have sampled in Melbourne. Our favourite sambal was the Kerabu, followed closely by the traditional sambal. The kerabu sambal was notable for its complex and fiery flavour which finishes on a citrus note courtesy of the kaffir lime leaves. Every morsel exploded with the briny flavour of the shrimp. Simply delicious!
In the near future, NL House will be bringing their very popular 'sambal' condiment into local grocery stores. In the meantime, you can buy them from the restaurant at $5 a jar.
Beef Rendang nasi lemak with crispy anchovies, loved it with the kerabu sambal
The beef rendang 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 fluffy coconut rice, crispy anchovies and out-of-this-world kerabu sambal, it was an addictive and comforting dish.
Their most popular nasi lemak is the one served with their fried chicken and it is easy to understand why. The chicken was delectably crispy and had been nicely caramelised and flavoured well by an array of spices.
The seafood laksa was delightful. Derived from a traditional Malacca laksa recipe, the spicy coconut gravy base was complex and aromatic and was served with generous amounts of noodles, bean curd puffs, fish cakes, seafood, bean shoots, and garnished with carrot and spring onions.
Left: soya bean and grass jelly drink
Right: Iced Cendol
The house made drinks are lovely and include a refreshing soya bean and grass jelly drink as well as an absolutely delicious iced cendol drink. For the uninitiated, the cendol dessert is a coconut milk dessert with pandan flavoured jelly noodles made with beautiful palm sugar. NL House’s rendition of this classic dessert was decadently rich, amply sweet and beautifully made.
Serving up some of the most authentic nasi lemak in town, NL House presents a refreshing take on Malaysian cuisine whilst remaining true to its origins. With food this good, great service and prices this reasonable, NL House punches above its weight.
Location: 115 Grattan St Carlton
Phone: 03 9348 1572
Cuisine: Malaysian, Asian, Chinese