IN Perth, you’re never far away from a Malaysian restaurant.
There are lots of dodgy ones and the good ones can be a little out of the way, but they’re usually worth seeking out.
Ria Malay Kitchen in Leederville is definitely a good one; in fact it’s one of the best I’ve been to.
The restaurant has ample dining space, it’s clean, the staff are friendly and classy, and the food is exceptional.
From complimentary peanuts to the massive bowl of laksa, everything we sampled was of the highest quality.
I’ve never had a better chicken satay ($11).
The classic entree is seldom mentioned in food reviews these days, but Ria’s satay was seriously impressive.
Whoever’s manning the charcoal grill is a master: the chicken had a perfect tasty crust on the outside and was moist on the inside, helping it effortlessly slide off the skewer.
The in-house satay sauce is delicious and there’s just enough to coat the skewers, but I’d have loved a little more – perhaps a bucket- or wheelbarrow-load.
For our main it was a toss up between the rendang ($28.50) – highly recommended by a friend – or Mum’s loh ak duck ($31).
I’m a sucker for duck, so the rendang was put on the back burner for our next visit.
I was expecting breast meat, but the dish was a large serving of caramelised duck legs, and it was Heaven in a bowl.
The meat was so tender it fell off the bone with the slightest touch of my fork.
It’s not a super saucy dish, but there was enough sweet soy to coat the fluffy Jasmine rice ($3).
The wild and windy weather outside warranted a laksa ($19).
Forget the watered-down, western-friendly versions you find around town.
Ria’s laksa is the real deal and includes chicken thigh meat, plump prawns, a hard-boiled egg and rice and egg noodles.
The spicy noodle soup was so thick and rich we still felt warm as we braved the elements going back to the car.
Loosely translated, Ria means happy, jolly or bright.
The perfect way to sum up our visit to this Leederville gem.
by MATTHEW EELES
Ria Malay Kitchen
106 Oxford St Leederville,
Monday to Sunday, 5pm–10pm