Recently opened hawker kitchen Koko Yee introduces discerning diners to Malaysian and Indonesian comfort food in a contemporary environment.
Co-owners Tim Yee and Lin Lee share a background in architecture and graphic design, which is reflected in the clever use of the small space, with the pair opting for a minimal interior. Bare white walls, simple furnishings and high ceilings promote a light and airy atmosphere. It’s a far cry from the usual stuffy, claustrophobic feeling one gets when dining in a typical hawker kitchen.
The menu itself is also pared back and no-fuss, featuring throwbacks to childhood favourites. “We present Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine in a different way – currently our menu offers traditional hawker food, but we will soon be bringing out more tapas and fusion-style dishes paired with Bintang or Tiger Beer,” says Yee.
It seems Koko Yee is slightly obsessed with duck. Wooden ducks are scattered around the tables, and their not so lucky friends feature on the menu. “The focus here is duck, as it is something not commonly found in hawker kitchens around the city and offers an alternative to our Halal customers,” Yee explains.
Kokos Fried Bebek – a Balinese-style fried duck infused with ginger on rice – is a sure crowd pleaser. Wash it down with a Soda Gembira, a Malaysian version of a spider featuring raspberry soda blended with condensed milk.
Koko Yee also offers non-gamey variations like Haininese chicken rice, a ‘smashed chicken’ with sambal and accompaniments including roti, noodles and appetisers in case your hunger hasn’t truly been satiated.
It’s guaranteed that by the end of the meal, diners will leave with not only change in their pocket, but a resounding response to the question scrawled in black ink on the main wall, ‘Hey are you hungry?’ Not anymore.
282 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
(03) 9663 8776
Mon to Thurs 11am–9.30pm
Fri & Sat 11am–10pm