What a difference five or so years make. Kotaraya in Elsternwick was where we dined last Saturday night. I think we were last there about five years ago, not too long after it opened, and it was packed with patrons that night. It was not a great experience and I questioned our friend on Saturday night as we ate about what the problem was. Apparently four main courses came out, and for the two remaining diners, their main course did not arrive until after the other four had finished theirs. That is not great.
Saturday night the four of us decided to have the set banquet menu. I used to balk at set menus because I was poor and others were richer and I would get more food than I needed. I'll just go it alone, I said at times years ago. Banquet prices are getting up there, in this case $32, but it was well worth the money. Soup, four different entrees to share, four different main courses. One of our friends doesn't eat beef, so we had more beef and he had more of the other dishes, choice of plain rice or nasi goreng style rice, I think four large prawns with tail handles each in total of all the dishes. A choice of four deserts and we almost all chose banana fritter, which was beautifully presented. Included was a pot of tea or instant coffee. I drank the coffee. It was warm and wet.
The service was excellent, by mostly an older, well 30, ethnic Asian male, but at times by an Asian female, who was also perfectly competent. There was little in the way of any communication problems. The decor is great. The seats hard but good for those of us with back issues. Really, we had a great night. My only criticism is that the Tom Yum was a bit too westernised and the lighting was killer bright. At my age I need softer and kinder less direct lighting.
The four of us really enjoyed ourselves, and even tipped $5 between us. I have no hesitation in recommending Kotaraya, a fusion Chinese, Malaysian and Thai restaurant.
There were a number of ethnic Asian people dining there too, along with the usual older Jewish folk walking on the wild side in that area of town where they live. There was one white guy with an Asian male partner and his rather frail and old mainland Chinese parents. I could hear the old couple talking. I didn't need to know the language to know what they were saying. They were being hyper critical, remarking on everything, and probably us, three older white men with a black dude. I am quite sure the food was not up their normal standard, but I bet the white partner paid. They departed with the white guy many steps ahead, the Asian partner a little behind looking back to his parents to assure himself that they were ok, with the father making sure his wife did not stumble as she stepped down the street gutter.
And no, you three older Golden Girls Jewish women, they were not food delivery bikes stacked beside the restaurant but Go Bikes. The trio were dressed to the nines, hair teased to the max, caked with makeup, clanking with jewellery and looked and sounded like they would be great fun and not adverse to talking about sexi mentsh.