04 May 2016
How do you fit fashion as well as food with a Malay twist under one roof? Ask Rumah.
When someone says “Malay food”, my rendang radar goes through the roof!
Those who know me are aware that I will skip a merry mile for food that reminds me of my childhood. One of the (many) great things about growing up in Singapore is the exposure to the variety of food. In Singapore this means Malaysian, Indian, Indonesian, Chinese or a combination of any of these.
When Rumah, meaning ‘home’ in Malay, announced it was opening its doors in my own backyard in Surry Hills I was more than a little excited. But was it going to taste like the real deal?
Roti John $12
Owner Rizsal is the friendly face of the business, a café with adjacent men’s fashion store. Having recently left his job in finance to pursue his café dream, Rizsal and his wife have also just had a baby. “Sleep,” he says, “is a thing that comes in small portions these days.” Nevertheless, after a nostalgic chat about the amazing food we both remember from our hometowns, he’s more than happy to still let me have a Roti John from the breakfast menu, even though the clock has just ticked over to ‘lunch’.
Even though the owners are Malaysian, the menu is more broadly ‘Asian inspired’. It consists of a few Malay (e.g. Roti John, Mama Yang’s pork Belly bowl), a few Malay-inspired (Isaan salad) and also some international dishes inspired by Rizsal travels (Brisket sandwich). And yet, the Roti John has the desired :’oh-my-god-it-has-the-flavours-of-home-I-look-for-all-my-life’ effect. #sogood. It comes as loose ground beef flavoured with onion, egg and spices between a soft bun. Rumah make their own chilli sauce and add a squeeze of mayonnaise. Those flavours really hit all my buttons. (It’s also a great hangover cure!)
The ‘Asian Cuban’ is the dish Rizsal recommends as our second order. This too is is delicious, with layers of five spiced roasted pork slices, pickles, melted cheese and mustard.
To wash things down we order an incredibly refreshing and pretty looking homemade yuzu and mint soda.
Roti John $12 and Yuzu Soda $6
Asian Cuban $14
But before we go, we have one more treat waiting. I’ve almost forgotten we asked for a serving of their made-to-order kaya madeleines. Oh.Em.Gee. They come straight from the oven with a squeeze of kaya in the centre, a coconut jam made with coconut, eggs, sugar and pandan. They’re so soft and light with that not too-sweet kaya jam. This is bakery perfection! #ah-mazing
Kaya Madeleines $6 for 4
The café itself is a small bright space, with window seats for those dining solo and plenty of cool international mags to keep you company. Since its opening in February of this year, their adjacent men’s fashion boutique ’15 Sheets’ is now also up and running. It’s a unique place combining fashion and food, friendly service and the best madeleines you’ll ever eat. Welcome to the hood, Rumah!
The Short and Sweet
THE GOOD BITS: Interesting menu with some inspir-asian food.
THE NOT SO GOOD BITS: Nope, I’ve got nothing.
STANDOUT DISH: Madeleines – hands down the best I’ve ever had. And the Roti John.
COST PER HEAD: $22 – a sandwich and soda each, plus madeleines to share.
WWW: Cafe Rumah
Location: 71-71 Campbell Street, Surry Hills