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Blue Chillies Turns Sixteen

by Lil Williams

Last week Blue Chillies celebrated sixteen years of livening up Fitzroy with their simple yet sophisticated Malaysian cuisine, friendly staff and cosy atmosphere. As a community of bloggers and their friends gathered in this restaurant, there was anticipation for a unique take on Malaysian food. We weren’t disappointed!

Maybe it’s because you’re so hungry, but the first thing you sink your teeth into at a restaurant is always so satisfying, and the Black Pepper Soft-Shell Crab was very moreish. I asked the table in general if I was allowed to just swallow all of it but didn’t wait for an answer before I’d already downed the crab. No regrets.

The Whitebait and Sweet Potato Fritters with a chilli lime dipping sauce had a great crunch, perfect to offset the soft crab.

A red and white wine were served to us as well as a gin cocktail mix that we all commented tasted like childhood . . . with gin. The small, crowded restaurant had that awesome feeling like, “this is where the good stuff is” so they tried to fit as many chairs in as possible. A small window through to the kitchen is quaint, giving you a glimpse of the flurried activity inside.

This rockling fillet dusted with potato flour and wok swirled in curry leaves, chilli, spices and buttered egg floss was probably my favourite dish of the night, mostly because of the egg floss, which was unlike anything I’ve tasted. I scraped the plate clean trying to pin down the exact flavour combination, but it was so well balanced that I couldn’t pick out one particular aspect.

If you like something refreshing with your meal, the Yee Sang Salad is a good option. A traditional salad of sashimi salmon with a variety of shredded crunchy vegetables in apricot plum sauce topped with roasted peanuts, it had an exciting textural variety and was served cold in contrast to most other dishes of the night.

The Duck Rendang was slow cooked with roasted coconut and Malaysian spices, fresh ginger-root garlic and chillies. As you would expect with something slow cooked, it was unbelievably tender.

Another standout was the King Prawns wrapped in fine strands of rice noodles, snap fried on a bed of tomato puree with pineapple and coconut milk. The pineapple added a fresh sweetness, while the tomato gave it acidity. Whoever thought of wrapping the prawns in fried noodles was a genius because that extra crunch really made the dish.

Blue Chillies’ Pork Ribs are wok roasted and marinated, then caramelised in chilli jam to give them amazing flavour. The chef pairs them with simple root vegetables to balance the flavour.

Thrice Cooked Duck in a blend of wild ginger flower, lemongrass, chillies and lime juice is a superb way to finish off a main meal at Blue Chillies, with rice on the side, of course. Crunchy outer layer, tender on the inside, this dish is filled with various oriental flavours to enjoy.

Nope. Not some kind of chocolate concoction. This Black Sticky Rice Pudding is a little more original for dessert, something The World Loves Melbourne appreciates about Asian restaurants. The coconut shavings on top and sweet milk at the bottom swirls together to create a sweet sensation in your mouth. A great way to end a meal.

So if you want to check out this great Malaysian restaurant, tram 11 takes you right to Blue Chillies’ doorstep.

Blue Chillies
182 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

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