Sunday, August 25, 2013

NL House II

August 8, 2013

We've enjoyed cheap takeaways from Nasi Lemak House for a few years and missed them when they closed for renovations for a number of months. They've now re-opened as NL House with a trendy new look and less seating, indicating a shift towards takeaways. The equally bright young staff member behind the counter was super-helpful and would be the perfect adviser for anyone making their first foray into Malaysian food.

The current menu is shorter than before - the two notable veg options are NL (nasi lemak) tofu ($8.90) and laksa veg ($9.50). To the best of my knowledge they're both vegan and the laksa is gluten-free*. On a blackboard they promise that past dishes such as char kway teow and mee goreng will return at some point.

It's certainly a simpler, takeaway style nasi lemak that we're served. The basic version consists of coconut rice, fried tofu puffs, peanuts, a light and crunchy pickled vegetable achar, and traditional or sweet kelantan sambal (both of which we believe are shrimp-free). The cucumber and fried egg they used to include are now available at extra charge, and the pappadums appear to be entirely absent. I liked the pickle, and the sambals have a helluva kick, but I found the box unwieldy to eat from.

We both sipped teh tarik ($3.80) to quell the sambal spice, and I gazed at the other neon drinks and jellies.

With this perky makeover, NL House has lost some of the features we were fond of - the seating, menu and nasi lemak have all been stripped back to a minimum. The food remains cheap and tasty, even if they're cunningly charging more for extras that previously came standard. And since it's all getting served in boxes, you now may as well order takeaway and take it down to the park.

*We've since received an email from reader Scarlett indicating that the sambal and stock might not be as veg-friendly as we thought, so question the staff to your satisfaction before ordering.


You can read about our first visit to Nasi Lemak House here. The new incarnation gets the nod on Asian Restaurants in Melbourne.

NL House
115 Grattan St, Carlton
9348 1572
veg dishes $8.90-9.50
facebook page

Accessibility: The door has a small lip to accommodate the sloping footpath. Tables are quite crowded both inside and outside. We ordered and paid at a low-ish counter, then received our food at our table. We didn't visit the toilets.


  1. They had better be bringing the vegie char kway teow back! I've been fiercely missing it in the months they were closed. Though I must admit I share quite a few of your misgivings about this makeover, particularly about the lack of seating.

    1. Hi Hayley! Yeah, it's cute but not quite as convenient for me as the previous incarnation.

  2. I used to go here all the time in my uni days. It now looks trendy, wow. And they even serve their food in boxes. I might have to go back for a nasi lemak - just for memories' sake.

    1. Hi Elisa! You might want to quiz them about the sambal if you have concerns about shrimp - we thought it was OK but a reader (see edit above) has conflicting information.