When my friend Vanessa had a car for a week, we thought we should drive outta the downtown core for some food we can’t readily get down here. And so, we ended up at Gourmet Malaysia in Scarborough.
The restaurant is located in a non-descript plaza on Sheppard, just east of Brimley. The restaurant is pretty low-key and occupies a large space which was pretty dead on a Wednesday night. I’m not sure if this is just a Wednesday thing but there were people singing karaoke our entire meal. There’s a stage set up at the back of the restaurant and everything!
Gourmet Malaysia specializes in Malaysian, Singaporean and Indonesian cuisine. The restaurant actually started off as a food court location across the street called Gourmet Garden which still exists.
For drinks, we all ordered a Teh Tarik ($1.50 hot/$2.99 cold). Even though it was beyond freezing outside, I still ordered a cold one. It’s a milk tea drink that tastes quite similar to HK-style milk tea and while I’m a huge fan of milk teas, I found this one just a touch too sweet for my liking.
We started off with the Lamb Satay ($8.20) which came with 6 delicious skewers of fatty lamb. A side of peanut sauce is provided but I found the meat quite flavourful on its own.
Up next was the Roti Canai – 3 pieces with your choice of curry ($6.99), a must-order for me at Malaysian restaurants. I loved the roti which has a chewy texture and a slightly sweet taste to it.
We got two orders of this – one with beef curry and the other with chicken. While the beef curry had an unappealing film of oil on top of it, it was the better of the two as I found the chicken a little overcooked.
They also have sweet rotis for dessert including a roti durian (with condensed milk) which, being a durian fan, sounded amazing.
A dish I was eager to try was the Singapore Laksa ($7.80). I can’t comment on the authenticity of the dish but I thought the broth had a really great flavour. Sitting in the broth were pieces of chicken, tofu and thin vermicelli. It definitely had the flavour punch which was lacking in Hawker Bar’s version.
One of my friends really wanted a prawn dish so we ordered the Deep Fried Prawns with Salt & Garlic Chili ($9.99). The shells were already removed and these deep fried prawns were covered in a generous confetti of salt, chillis and deep fried garlic bits. Tasty, deep-fried goodness!
For some meat, we ordered the Hainanese Chicken on Rice ($7.80). While it wasn’t a bad Hainanese chicken dish, I don’t think I’d order it again. The meat was tender and moist but the flavour just wasn’t quite there….and I wish they had given us more dark meat. Most of it was white meat. I have yet to find a place in the GTA that serves a better Hainanese chicken than Phoenix.
If you don’t want the flavoured rice which comes with the dish, you can simply order a half chicken for $13.99.
A stir-fried noodle dish we decided to order was the Penang Char Kwei Teow – fried hor fun with mixed seafood ($7.80). It tasted like my favourite Chinese hangover dish! It’s not a complicated dish but Gourmet Malaysia did it very well. I especially loved that it wasn’t greasy at all like at most Chinese restaurants. The mixed seafood that went into the dish was basically of the frozen-mixed-bag variety but that’s not what I ordered the dish for. The noodles were a big hit for me.
A less successful dish was the Nasi Goreng Fried Rice with Seafood – in belacan sauce ($7.80). Not that it was a bad dish – similar to the noodles, it wasn’t greasy and tasted fine…it just wasn’t very memorable. I preferred eating the rice from the Hainanese Chicken over this, to be honest.
Even with five people, we had trouble finishing off all the food. Needless to say, we didn’t have room for dessert which includes some tempting options like fried bananas with ice cream and ice kacang (shaved ice with toppings).
Overall, despite the karaoke going on throughout our entire meal, I had a good experience. There isn’t much in terms of atmosphere or décor but it’s a great place to get your Malaysian food fix!
At a glance:
• Malaysian, Singaporean and Indonesian cuisine
• Extensive menu; reasonable prices
• Located in Scarborough
• Very low-key, casual spot
• Karaoke available
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 1 star