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Abell’s Kopi Tiam, Manuka

Not to be confused with the Kopitiam Cafe in Ultimo Sydney. A couple of friends at work have recommended that I come here for dinner. I was supposed to be heading home to Sydney, however, due to ‘unexpected maintenance’, my flight was cancelled and hence another night in Canberra. I didn’t feel like anything too fancy, and was exhausted so thought I would give Kopi Tiam ago.

Located in Manuka, Abell’s Kopi Tiam (coffee shop in Malay) serves different type of Asian food, ranging from Indonesian to Malaysian, Singaporean and Nyonya food. I thought it was a tad weird that they also had Western food and did not even look what was on offer. The Indonesian dishes were more appealing as I was craving for it.

It is so much harder to eat alone when ordering Asian food. You want variety but afraid you won’t be able to finish everything. I started with the grilled chicken satay with cucumber pineapple with peanut sauce ($12.90). Four skewers of grilled chicken, the meat was a tender, however, on the thin side. It didn’t have that wonderful barbeque aroma that I had hoped it had. The peanut sauce was exceptionally good, peanut-y, not so creamy with a hint of chilli.

It has been a while since I had dinner at Mum’s and was craving Indonesian food. Ordered the bali chicken simmered in a tamarind and coconut cream curry sauce with aubergine and French beans ($19.90). For some strange reason I had thought this was going to be fried, however, it was poached chicken in a pool of tamarind and coconut curry sauce. The sauce was rich, coconut-y and spicy which I loved. The chicken, tender and the aubergine was a wonderful complement. I am not usually a fan of coconut curry sauce but this was nice, the coconut was not overpowering and it was very Indonesian and very Balinese – I have had something similar like this in Bali and loved it.

I didn’t want rice, so the lady suggested I get some roti – YUM! Two generous fluffy and pillow-y roti. It was no mamak, but it certainly satisfied the cravings and eaten with the tamarind sauce, it was scrumptiously good.

For dessert, I wanted the pisang goreng (banana fritters) but they weren’t making them due to the high cost of bananas. One of the owners (I think) did say that he was happy to make me some provided I bring my own bananas! I may have to take his offer on that and bring some next time.

The owner and chef is from Malaysia, Abell Ong. I spoke to one of the owners briefly, the place was BUSY, the service helpful and friendly, they knew their product which was good. The wine list is extensive and lots to choose from by the glass. Meals are to be shared of course and reservation is highly recommended. It was a very yummy meal and it satisfied my Indonesian cravings, although, I can really do with some more.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Abell’s Kopi Tiam

Shop 7 Furneaux St

Manuka 2603

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