Thanks for logging in.

You can now click/tap WATCH to start the live stream.

Thanks for logging in.

You can now click/tap LISTEN to start the live stream.

Thanks for logging in.

You can now click/tap LATEST NEWS to start the live stream.

LISTEN
Watch
on air now

Create a 3AW account today!

You can now log in once to listen live, watch live, join competitions, enjoy exclusive 3AW content and other benefits.


Joining is easy.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Scorcher reviews Cafe Buddha is Glen Iris

SCORCHER
Article image for Scorcher reviews Cafe Buddha is Glen Iris

I realise I’m probably going to incur the wrath of Glen Iris residents for what I’m about to do, but I can’t stay silent any longer.

I’m about to blow one of the suburb’s best-kept secrets.

For those not in the know, Café Buddha might seem like your average high street gift and accessory shop. But look a little closer and nestled among the trinkets and Asian-themed ornaments is a real hidden treasure: a teeny-tiny exotic eatery serving humble, home-cooked Khmer cuisine.

At Café Buddha, the emphasis is on honest, traditional Cambodian cooking, seasoned with a healthy smattering of neighbourly warmth.

Dining here is like going to dinner at the home of your oldest and fondest childhood friend.  Strike up a conversation with charming host Kanthien – who started Café Buddha as a labour of love after leaving his job at the United Nations – and he’ll take you on a personal journey through the food and fortunes of his native Cambodia.

Take, for example, the Mie Royale, a delightful dish of crispy noodles with chicken or pork enlivened by sweet-sour tamarind sauce. The original recipe was pilfered by one of Kanthien’s forbears – a lady-in-waiting in the royal court of Cambodia – and handed down the line until it found its way into this Glen Iris gift shop. As the menu points out, this is a meal reserved for special occasions, so get a group together and rejoice over this regal plate of deliciousness.

But the main event here – the Angkor Wat of the menu if you will – is the amok fish curry, Cambodia’s ubiquitous national dish. The paste that forms the base of this exquisite curry takes three days to prepare, so this is a meal to savour not scoff. Steamed barramundi is combined with coconut milk and spices to create a fragrant, mild, dreamy curry that will knock your socks off and guarantee return visits.

Also good here is an aromatic appetiser called nataing, a rich Cambodian dip made from minced pork stewed in coconut milk, that is spread on rice crackers and shared among mates.

We also enjoyed the rich and exotic slow-cooked beef saramann, a popular Cambodian curry similar to a rendang. The spice paste is like a flavour bomb but don’t ask what it consists of because Kanthien won’t divulge. It’s a heavily guarded secret, one he’ll only release upon his retirement, he tells us. So I’m more than happy for it to stay under wraps for a long while yet.

So, to the good people of Glen Iris who have had Café Buddha all to themselves for too long and may now have to share, I say unto you: tough titties. This Cambodian wonder is far too fun and scrummy to keep secret from the folk of Melbourne any longer.

Café Buddha, 17 High Street, Glen Iris; 9885 2279

 

 

Advertisement