I'm visiting Charlotte for work and need to find a tasty and casual dinner. Yelp and some reviews bring me over to 5Church but after a beer, I just realize this place is NOT for me. Way too many suits and ties, I've often found restaurants in the Financial district of any city to be ok and over-priced. So I check my iPhone and there you go, Cuisine Malaya! It's way across downtown Charlotte but I'm willing to walk if it's worth it. From the outside the place looks a bit bare and there are four doors on the outside, three of which are locked. I finally find the real door and step inside Cuisine Malaya. The space is big and casual, with a long back bar for cocktails and sushi-making. I grab a table for one and it's time to eat!
A quick scan of the menu and I know I'm going to focus on the Malaysian eats. Service is quick, I immediately get a glass of water and free glass of wine courtesy of a Yelp check-in and put in my order for some roti canai and golden tasty shrimp. About 10 minutes later, my roti app comes out and it's a winner. One large, folded roti with a tender interior, slightly crisp exterior and not greasy at all. The small cup of red curry and potatoes is well spiced and makes a perfect foil for the carbs. My main of shrimp is not quite golden, it's more like 12 or so large shrimp stir-fried in a chili sauce with onions, string beans and basil. The shrimp are cooked just to tender as well as the vegetables. It's a slightly spicy dish which needs the cup of white rice to take down the heat a bit, perfect! It's a simple dish but done well. After all this food, I can't resist and go for a Malaysian dessert.
The final act of the meal is Cuisine Malaya's peanut pancake! Take that same roti and put some brown sugar and peanuts inside, pan-fry it and serve quickly! It sorta looks like a rectangle quesadilla and brings a nice blend of sweet, salty, crunchy and soft, a very nice finishing touch. Although I admit some honey drizzled on top would make it even more awesome if not authentic. Service all night was very good, the young man who took care of my table was on point all night and I asked him for some recommendations which were helpful. Overall I really do like this place, Cuisine Malaya! Once you can find the right door, you're stepping into a great, authentic Asian meal. Whenever I go to a restaurant that's mixed cuisines, I tend to go for the less popular side (Malaysian in this case) cause it's usually the tastier option. And yes, no surprise but Malaysian is what you should be eating at this place, bon appetit!
1411 Elizabeth Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28204
4 stars out of 5