Monday, July 15, 2013

The Rag Land

Not too long ago, Jenny forwarded to me a Time Out Sydney link with an accompanying question: You want to go try or not? They got nasi lemak.

... Jenny knows me very well for that DEFINITELY caught my attention.

I was a little confused because the title of the article was Rag Land Cafe. In my tired mind, I asked: A cafe that serves nasi lemak? So what cafe is this? A Malaysian one or an Aussie one? Photos with non-Asian patrons further fueled my confusion but wait, a familiar surname caught my sight - Jiew. Could it be someone related to my high school classmate? I did a search using my best friend, Google and as it turned out, the place is Malaysian. After some Facebook stalking (yes, I am scary that way or for a more positive term, resourceful) and some messages, I found out that they are relatives indeed!

Evidently, the name "The Rag Land" stemmed from the name of the street it is situated on, Raglan Street. The street name rang a bell but I could not place my finger on it. Jenny reminded me that it was where Masterchef Billy had his pop-up Halloween Dessert Degustation last year. Oh, there! I do not recall a cafe across the road!

The indoor set-up is no fuss with recycled furniture (would you like to be seated at the ironing board, miss?) and a simple background of white all round. Outdoors, I could hardly tell that it was there. Talk about blending in!

A little retro, old-school, antique-ish in decor with a cardboard moose to boot.

Haha, and while some of us thought of 3 Little Pigs, some others thought of the pork belly that they are famous for. Obviously, some of us are more gastronomically-inclined than others.

As critics (the SMH Good Cafe Guide, ahem) have been raving about the coffee (regular $3.50, large $4.00), we decided to try it out. One mocha, one flat white, one latte and one cappuccino for us, please. Haha, just happened to want different ones, we did not plan on that! But when David worked his magic on the Golden Cobra to serve up the four variations, we all agreed on the verdict - awesome!

May I add that it was pretty damn awesome for someone with an engineering background.

The description on that cardboard said it all. How apt to nickname our national dish the brekkie of champions. Only served on weekends, it was well worth the $12. Oh, and be there early, meaning before 10:30am. Both times we were there, we just managed to order the last servings.

Replacing fried anchovies and groundnuts for tomatoes, we could not find any fault in this dish. The portion was generous, the sambal was Malaysian-standard spicy and the curry chicken drumstick with potatoes were fragrant and tender. I would easily rate this the best nasi lemak in Sydney.

On our second visit, instead of trying their famous pork belly and egg roll, we tried their simple pork belly sandwich ($8.50). When it was served, we pulled it apart to check the content. I looked at Jenny and said, "It looks like char siew to me". When Dave found out that it was us seated at the table (wine barrel, more like), he skipped over to explain, "No la, not char siew la, more like tau yew bak," and hopped back to man the coffee machine.

Tau yew bak, like seriously? But no kidding, he was right! If you want a fusion of Western and Asian, or specifically Malaysian brekkie, you got to have this!

Our third visit saw us finally trying their famous pork belly and egg roll ($8.00). Not a good idea to have this after a plate of nasi lemak, to be honest. But I could not resist after watching the waitress walk back and forth serving at least four plates of this, I had to order one to try.

The pork had a little too much caramel sauce sweetness but otherwise had the right tenderness and the egg, well, I am an egg addict so anything with egg gets two ticks from me. Wash all the fatty food down with a refreshing glass of minty lemonade ($3.50).

The washroom is a little tight on space but clean. A trip to the washroom also allowed me to catch a snippet of the action in the kitchen. I wonder if it's a family affair because the conversations were in Hokkien and Cantonese, or at least the bits I heard.

Thank you, Dave, I shall call in again!

*And enjoy fatherhood!

The Rag Land on Urbanspoon

The Rag Land
129 Raglan Street, Redfern, NSW 2017, Australia
Tel: +61 414 770 107
Tuesday to Friday 7:00am to 3:00pm
Saturday 8:00am to 3:00pm
Sunday 9:00am to 2:00pm
Closed on Monday and Public holidays

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