We’re going to call it: this may be the best beef rendang in Auckland. It is slow cooked for hours, redolent with lemon grass and spices, falling apart on your fork. It costs $13.50, or $14 if you splash out on the nasi lemak, when it comes with a boiled egg and sambal. It is a striking reminder of why Malaysian food is so delightful, that unique blending of Indian, Malay and Chinese food. Forget Thai: this is one of the world’s great unheralded cuisines, and we are lucky to have so many good ones in Auckland.
Selera is a charming joint, with an open kitchen and natty wooden panelling. The service is lovely and of a lunchtime, the place is full of office workers from around Newmarket. You sit there and look out at noodle joints, a Thai massage parlour and a Persian rug shop and it feels like somewhere else – certainly not Newmarket. Aside from all of this, it is handy to the Rialto, and so, often, we find ourselves here late at night after a film, trying – and failing – to will ourselves to order something different from the beef rendang.
On the rare occasion we make it past it? There is an excellent, thick curry chicken ($13.50), the chicken falling apart (though at these prices, probably not free range) that goes very nicely in the roti canai, and a huge laksa ($13.50), where the soup is spicy and rich and pleasantly thick – although the seafood can be a bit average. We forgive them: this place is a gem. SFG
HOURS Open Monday to Sunday, 11.30am to 10pm.
CONTACT DETAILS 487 Khyber Pass Road, ph 520-7977.
IMPORTANT DETAILS It can be difficult to get a table around 1pm – go early or go late.