Bamboe Cafe

643 Warrigal Rd
Chadstone, VIC 3148
03 9568 5311

Having spent a warm afternoon in the Dandenong Ranges, Fatbee and I stopped by this cafe near Chadstone on the way back home for dinner.

Bamboe Cafe Chadstone 0123

Bamboe has been on my wishlist for a pretty long time as Lachy had previously recommended it for its good Indonesian fare. And it’s just as well that Fatbee was my chaperone, being Indonesian and well versed with the Surabaya-style food that this joint serves.

The cafe is located on the busy stretch of Warrigal Road opposite Holmesglen TAFE, so I can imagine it being quite popular with the students from Holmesglen and Monash. It also sits astraddle with a number of pretty delicious looking Korean restaurants, including Let’s Bap (hilarious name!), a place that I’ve since placed onto my wishlist.

Bamboe Cafe Chadstone 0153

Like most cheap Asian joints, the interior is pretty basic, but we found ourselves by the window with a bustly view of the buses and cars in warm, humid 30ºC evening heat. How very Surabaya!

Bamboe Cafe Chadstone 0133Deep Fried Chicken Skins $4

Seeing that I was excited about this documenting place, Fatbee went a little further afield from his usual one-dish-each meals. As a pre-entree snack, he picked from off the shelves… a packet of sinfully crisp deep fried chicken skins.

I have one word for this: HEARTSTOPPERS!! Also, (and I know I’m being such a mommy here), don’t eat this too quickly because it’ll spoil the rest of your meal…!

Bamboe Cafe Chadstone 0137Tempeh Mendoan Penyet $8.90

I’ve always been curious about how good tempeh should taste like, since the ones you get at supermarkets here just tastes soo… hard, plasticky and bleuuurgh! Anyway, Eone told me that this variation is one of the better examples of good quality tempeh that you can get here.

Inside its crispy exterior, I discovered softer chewy insides that tasted DAMN GOOD! It is not your typical hard textured tempehs that you find elsewhere. It was topped with a lovely, sweetish sambal kecap.

Bamboe Cafe Chadstone 0141Nasi Kuning Komplit $13.50
Turmeric rice served with deep fried marinated chicken, soybean cooked with anchovies, Fried egg noodles, eggs and pork satay.

Fatbee chose an iconic Indonesian dish, Nasi Kuning is often served at wedding celebrations and birthdays in Indonesia. And I can understand why, seeing how vibrant the bright yellow nasi kunyit (turmeric rice) looks, plus all the accompanying ingredients are so varied, elaborate and unfamiliar to me! I mean.. rice and crispy fried egg noodles… yummy!

The ayam goreng (deep fried chicken) tasted great, but I thought the winning accompaniment here was the sambal goreng tempeh, which again came sweetish, slightly spicy and counterpointed with deep fried ikan bills (anchovies) and potato crisps!

Bamboe Cafe Chadstone 0142Nasi Bakar Komplit ala Bamboe $13.50
Grilled rice wrapped in banana leaves filled with chicken, mushroom and salted fish served with marinated fried chicken, and fried marinate soybean cake and tofu.

I of course had to pick something a little more adventurous from the menu. My rice came wrapped in banana leaves and grilled, but it departs from the Chinese-style dumplings in that sticky rice isn’t used. Instead it’s normal rice, slightly overcooked and packed densely together… a bit too dense for my liking actually. Please note that this is how it’s like in Indonesia, it’s just that I’m more used to having the Nyonya and Chinese-style bak chang that I grew up eating.

The dish accompaniments were nice though, with tofu, yet another variation of tempeh, and an encore of the lovely turmeric marinated deep fried chicken.

Bamboe Cafe Chadstone 1Bamboe Cafe Chadstone 0151Es Teller (choice of vanilla or durian syrup) $4.90
Mix of avocado, jackfruit, young coconut, & palm seed with sweet condensed milk topped with ice crushed and syrup.

While this is also a classic Indonesian dessert, Fatbee said that it was slightly disappointing in that durian syrup was used rather than real durian. But it was such a warm evening that I pretty much slurped everything up to slake my thirst. It’s certainly very different from the ice kacang or cendol that I’d have in Singapore and Malaysia, I enjoyed the jackfruit and was quite fascinated by the presence of avocado.

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I’m glad I got to visit this cafe and with a ‘guide’ to help me along. Learnt a few things… and liked quite a number of dishes. If anything else, now I know where to go if I need to have a veggie-licious tempeh fix!

PS: the photos in this post were taken with my iPhone 5s… I’m delighted with the outcome!

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