Funnily enough, I never even knew Kitchen Inn existed until earlier this year. I’ve probably walked past the shop numerous times on Elizabeth Street and yet never has caught my eye unlike Coconut House which seems very prominent towards the Queen Victoria Market side of Elizabeth St. Kitchen Inn serves Malaysian cuisine but more with a focus on Sarawak dishes as they offer Sarawak Laksa and Kampua which you may not find in other Malaysian restaurants.
Kitchen Inn’s Kampua Special is basically noodles with a light sauce served with crispy roast pork, and char siu (Chinese BBQ pork). I must say, aside from the generous use of oil in their sauce, it’s absolutely delicious. The sauce is subtle in flavour, reminding me of a slightly sweet soy sauce and goes well with the noodles. My only other disappointment is the char siu isn’t particularly appetising with its vibrant colouring, and overall fatty cuts of pork. Still, either the Kampua Special or Kampua is one to try here. Just be warned with the smaller serving sizes here.
The Sarawak Laksa is also something I’ve never come across before as I never have visited East Malaysia when holidaying there. Typically, what differentiates a standard curry laksa with a sarawak laksa is it doesn’t have curry as its base but instead it’s a base of sambal belacan, tamarind, galangal, lemon grass and coconut milk. It’s also an acquired taste, but that may be because I’m so used to the flavours of a Curry Laksa or Assam Laksa. It is certainly interesting taste wise with a strong spice backing, so it may not be for everyone.
Kitchen Inn’s Bak Kuh Teh is also slightly different to the typical Bak Kuh Teh that you can buy the pocket of herbs and spices in many Asian groceries in Melbourne. It has a stronger spice to it, presumably from the star anise and cloves and it definitely tastes more herbal. Their Bak Kuh Teh is also laden with oil, possibly from the fatty pork ribs or just added extra with the soup. It would be very welcoming on a winters’ day.
Kitchen Inn overall is pretty good, I haven’t come across Sarawak food before so it may just be me not being used to the style of cooking. However, the standout is their Kampua Special and during certain hours, a few of their dishes are ridiculously cheap. So for something a little bit different to your average Malaysian restaurant, Kitchen Inn is here to serve.
469 Elizabeth St
Melbourne VIC 3000