Merah, Northcote

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MELBOURNE | Merah is a new Malaysian restaurant in Northcote, and sees owners Aline Viravouth and Marcel Nantharath (Nasi Lemak House in Carlton) put a contemporary spin on classic Malaysian dishes. When you walk inside you find an interior that is in line with the ethos of the food. The intimate 30 seat venue reminiscent of a kopitam, but feels very modern. Merah means red in Malay and accents of red, white, and light wood make up the venue’s colour scheme. It’s minimalist, bright, calm, and stylish. A large booth seat with a long light feature runs down one side of the venue, while shelves full of glasses and Merah branded products (more on that later) lines the other wall.

The menu features classics like char kwai teow, chilli crab, beef rendang, and nasi lemak, along dumpings, buns, fried chicken and the like. There’s also an impressive vegan menu with choices like java jungle curry soba noodle laksa, and vegan barbecue sliders. Everything is made in house from scratch using local ingredients where possible, which means that the food is all very fresh. In fact the only thing which isn’t sourced locally is the kogane ogatan white charcoal which is the good stuff that’s used when smoking meats in Malaysia and helps ensure that the satay is on point.

We tried a variety of dishes when we were invited to check out Merah and, long story short, we were impressed by everything we tried. One thing that appears a lot on the menu is sambal, that beautiful spicy condiment that’s common throughout Malaysia. At Merah there are three versions – traditional (spicy), kelantan (sweet and sour) and kerabu (lime leaf and shrimp). They’re based on a family recipe of Viravouth’s that’s been handed down across four generations and are all delicious. Our favourite is the aromatic kerabu and you’ll be happy to know you can purchase jars of the sambal to take home with you.

The crystal dim sum, with mushroom, cabbage, bamboo, and chilli oil sauce, is full of flavour and spice, while the soft shell crab bao, filled with spicy ketchup aioli, pickled daikon, and coriander is a multi textured, flavoursome delight. Another must order dish is the classic favourite, Nasi Lemak – the plate is served filled with coconut rice, crispy anchovies, peanuts, achar, free range egg, and traditional sambal, and is simply a great version of one of our favourite Malaysian dishes. The beef rendang, with beef shoulder, coconut milk, and five spice, is a beautifully rich take on another classic dish with generous chunks of tender beef.

For drinks, we couldn’t go past the iced teh tarik and a fresh juice. A range of cold pressed juice flavours as well as mocktails are offered and a liquor license on the verge of approval means wine, beer and spirits aren’t far away.

Overall, Merah is a great addition to Northcote, and one of our favourite openings of 2017. That jar of sambal we took home is almost finished, so we’ll definitely be returning soon.

Merah

238 High Street
Northcote
Victoria 3070
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9489 3121
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

Open
Tue – Fri: 5:30pm to 10:00pm
Sat – Sun: 12:00pm to 3:00pm; 5:30pm to 10:00pm

Merah Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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