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Dinner on a week night!

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A friend at work told me about a restaurant that she goes to regularly with her husband on the way home from work and said the food was fabulous.  So I knew I had to go there and soon after arranged for three of my friends to come along one weeknight.

Abell’s Kopi Tiam restaurant is a combination of Malay and Chinese food with its website saying that Kopi means ‘coffee’ in Malay and Tiam meaning ‘shop’ in Chinese (Hokkein) so it’s said to be named after coffee shops in Malaysia who serve traditional and home-style meals which is exactly what this lovely restaurant did.

It’s a rather sweet and colourful little restaurant with chairs and tables outside along with heaters and blankets on the back of chairs as Canberra gets quite cold even in the lead up to winter and I guess some people still like to sit outdoors (not me).  We sat inside!

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My friends ordered the special spring rolls for entree but I didn’t want any as I wasn’t that hungry.

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My friend Ray was trying to be a bit funny as he knows no-body can eat until I have taken a photo for my blog; so he pretended he wasn’t happy with the presentation of the dish so moved one of the rolls – I really don’t think he will be a food presenter (ha ha).

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They also shared the red curry fish cakes, the spring onion roti and pork and prawn dumplings – which were absolutely loved by Ray and Nat (but in particular Ray).

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The restaurant was opened in 1998 by Abell Ong, of Chinese/Malay heritage and his wife who are both from Sarawak, one of the Malaysian states on the island of Borneo.  When he arrived in Canberra he said he could not find any authentic Malaysian restaurants so decided to open his own….and I am so glad he did!

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For our main dishes my friends ordered beef rendang and mixed vegetables with tofu and mushrooms.

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I ordered the vegan noodles with vegetables.  There are many vegetarian dishes on the menu and it’s great to see that vegetarians and vegans are equally catered for with plenty of stir-fries and coconut curries.  I found out a funny story that Abell tried introducing fermented tofu (stinky tofu) to the menu, which is another Chinese classic, but I think only loved by the Chinese, and its distinctive pungency wasn’t well received – so off the menu it went! (I say thank goodness).

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This dish was so good, so tasty…I loved the noodles. I tried the tofu and mushroom dish as well and that was good too but certainly not as good as the vegan noodles.

An excellent night and I will return soon!!

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