A bit of a suburban dive - I love it already.
Patrons not too anglo - I love it even more.
The waiters do not understand a word of English, including the word menu - this place is for me.
Already Ma Brown was starting to feel like my trip last week in Shanghai. Although the menu is quite mixed, there is Chinese, Malaysian and Thai.
This is the place to eat quail basted in chilli, garlic, soy sauce, ginger and red pepper. Tasty, crunchy moist and finger lickin good. There is something that the Greeks (our table) and Asians (all remaining tables) have in common - we wolf our food down with our fingers and eat pretty much all the bones as well.
I think my uncle was just about to lick his plate (remaining garlic, sauce and all) which I am sure would have been most acceptable but my aunty reminded him "you don't have to eat everything."
Next on the menu was eggplant cooked in a claypot. I am not usually a big fan of eggplant that is not fried but this was sensational. Listed as a vegetarian dish but with flecks of pork - love it.
Next was fried barramundi. Tasted good but I do prefer it steamed. Unfortunately, this was the beginning of a bad night for my aunty who swallowed a big fish bone and later ended up in hospital under a general anaesthetic.
Not the restaurant's fault mind you.
In the meantime she continued eating and drinking until she knew there was a problem later at home - at least she got to finish the meal.
Next were the Singapore noodles - a dish I am often disappointed with especially in Singapore where it can be too oily. Here they were just perfect. I think I dreamt about them last night.
The others also ate fried tofu with vegies which I hate but to others it was great.
My dad asked us all "are you going to have dessert, I wouldn't". Yes, I wouldn't touch the dessert here, unless either canned lychees and ice cream take your fancy. No thanks.
Be sure to order your food before you get there, maybe a few days before so they can serve everything on the menu. In fact, there were meals being served around for special people that were not even on the menu, such as chilli crab.
But the centre stage of the night was the company and the conversation.
My dad on his way down to drinkingdom, speaking with a Chinese accent, chatted to the owner for a while asking if she could open the place for him and his mates for lunch, even though they don't open for lunch.
It progressed to that "bit of the night" when dad goes a bit downhill and borderline uncomfortable in your seat offensive. Thank god it was just family.
The service here is not good but you know what, that makes it so good. It is BYO but the waiters don't care to come along with glasses until you ask a couple of times. You ask for napkins and they plonk them on the table. You can only ask for one thing at a time as they are gone in a flash after you ask.
A place to keep coming back to.