Over the past couple of months I have been reviewing Malaysian restaurants all around Wellington for Malaysia Kitchen (full disclosure – I got refunded some of the costs). It’s time to share the reviews!

The Malaysia Kitchen Programme has done its best to keep me sober by continuing to send me to unlicensed restaurants, but finally I found a way to outsmart it – heading to KK Restaurant (Ghuznee Street, Wellington) with some friends after a pub quiz so we didn’t need any more drinks.

We were pleased to find the normally packed restaurant had a table for us, given that it was around 9.30pm. In fact, they were getting close to closing up, so we were asked to order quickly, and pay as soon as we’d ordered. That and the somewhat brusque service were OK by us, because we understand wanting to get home at night, and at $39 for five dishes, it’s not like we were exactly breaking the bank.

The deep fried tofu appetiser was large and tasty, piled with cruchy vegetables and sprinkled with ground peanuts.  “I liked that it had heaps of mung beans but also had a bit too much sweet chili,” said my friend. Indeed, the plate was pretty much swimming in sweet chili, but still managed to be a delicious salad. The crunch of the raw carrots and cabbage was a great offset to the chewy tofu.

Another friend who orders seafood Mee Goreng everywhere she goes says KK’s version was delicious, “definitely one of the better flavoursome ones and not swimming in oil”.

Also pleasantly lacking in oil, compared to many other cheap Malaysian restaurants, was the roti, even if it wasn’t made in-house. The chicken roti chenai was pleasant enough, but could have done with more spice. It’s hard to complain at $6.50 a dish though.

My nasi lemak, however, was served with the traditional sambal on the side, meaning I could spice up my beef rendang as much as I liked. The coconut rice could have been a little more coconuty, and the beef a little more tender, but for $9.50, it was good eating.

We rounded out our meal with a plate of super crunchy wontons, unusually made with chicken instead of pork, although that – and KK’s lack of liquor license – may be in deference to Malaysia’s large Muslim population.

In the past I’ve overlooked KK to go to Satay Village next door, purely because they’re BYO, but KK’s menu is so interesting and flavoursome, I might have to do some rethinking on that…