Chillipadi – Food Trail
Shop Oe7 Menzies Aly Little Lonsdale St
03 9663 5688
I can’t say I have been a frequenter to Chilli Padi, partly since most of my university life has been spent off campus, but partly because of a not-so-great first experience many years ago (*ahem, what a food snob ey?). It was only recently when I did some pre-reading before my visit to Pan Asian that I realised it had become a food empire. In recent years, Chillipadi has expanded its premises both onsite in Melbourne Central and offsite to Prahran, Collins St, Watergardens, Flemington (*apologies if I’ve missed a couple of locations) and expanded its breadth of cuisine.
Alongside the Chilli India store front, the exterior features a mural of fighter jets dropping chilli bombs on the cityscape of Melbourne, which is very much a fitting trademark for this iconic eatery. And I make this presumption out of the blue but the iconic cartoon figure of Chillpadi is probably Li (aka Auntie Li) – one of the friendly owners.
Arriving straight from work a little stressed out and flustered, I sat down to greet a table of hungry food bloggers, eagerly awaiting the feast to come. It is exactly what one needs to transition from a day of work to an evening of food chatter and work-free bliss.
So enough of my chit-chat, and onto the feast!
Chicken lobak – a golden crisp of beancurd skin wrapped around a filling of 5 spiced chicken and drizzled with a sweet sauce. I thought it was a little odd that chicken – and not pork – was used here, but turns out the food here is Halal. Nonetheless very tasty with an added hint of spice. I can never have enough of lobak, though the ones my auntie makes have a stronger Southern China / South-East-Asian slant to it, with thicker skin, heavier but endlessly moreish filling of pork, crab and if I remember correctly also taro.
Duck salad – a salad of greens, crunchy turnip, and sweet cherry tomato served with slithers of duck meat. It is simply dressed with soy mirin, walnuts and sesame – effortless and refreshing.
Penang fried kuey teow – For a non-Malaysian, it is generally difficult for me to distinguish the variations of fried kuey teow. (Is it from Penang? Is it from KL? Or elsewhere? How to tell?) Though I must say it is unusual for flat noodles be used (as pictured), but the soft bite of the noodle coupled with the soy acidity and warm chilli heat makes it a much lighter on the palate, and errs much more on the original Hokkien version.
Silky tofu braised – It is easy to read ‘home-made’ tofu and expect it to be a little grainy or rough, but when made properly with care, they can be unexpectedly good. Such is that here – smooth and silky. The outer shell is of a golden decadence giving a little bit of crunch alongside the supple interior. Yumz, more please!
Beef rendang – a dry beef curry slow cooked in a concentrated creamy sauce with the aromas of toasted coconut. There is a decent amount of heat and element of star anise to give the soft flesh a little edge. If only there wasn’t so much food this would be great with a big bowl of rice. Must refrain from eating rice – in fear of not being able to try all the dishes still to come…
Roti reuben – a minced chicken omelette that is wrapped in a layer of crispy roti and then drizzled with mayonnaise (a little too much for my liking) and sweet chilli sauce. Supper food!
Crispy oats prawns – More deep fried goodness… These prawns sprinkled with oats are fried to a crisp, making it effortless to eat for those too lazy to peel the skin. Eat it skin, head and all! I swear looking at what Ashley wrote, I reckon we virtually wrote the same thing… and now that mine is posted after hers, I think even ‘I’ think that I have plagiarised. =P
Calamari salad – a simple salad serving non-chewy twirls of scored calamari flavoured with a bit of tang and heat.
And to think that we were already full…
…TO BE CONTINUED.