Kantahrao Simmasalam and Jeyandhi John-Smith are the husband-and-wife pair behind Kopi Time – a homey Malaysian eatery. It's serving traditional dishes that channel the tastes of Malaysia, plus a few from Singapore. The handmade roti is a picture of brunchtime comfort – the crispness due to Simmasalam’s pushing and pulling, the sweetness the result of a little condensed milk slipped into the dough.
In addition to plain roti, variants also include versions filled with egg; egg and onion; and kaya, a sweet and wonderfully addictive coconut and egg custard jam found throughout Southeast Asia. Kopi Time is also one of the few places in Perth that does banjir-style (“flooded” in Malay) roti with the bread torn into strips, piled together and dressed – “flooded” – with sauce. The dosa – a crisp lentil-based pancake – is equally crisp and crunchy, and the version filled with masala-spiced potato is a carb-on-carb winner.
While Simmasalam is in charge of the bread-making, John-Smith oversees the rest of the cooked dishes, including all the curries. Her menu includes a rich and meaty beef rendang; comfort stir-fries such as kway teow (rice noodles), nasi goreng (fried rice), and a spicy Mamak-style mee goreng (southern-Indian-influenced fried-egg noodles). The spiced fried chicken is also an excellent way to upsize any order (get it as part of the nasi lemak set, which features various dishes served with rice cooked in coconut milk.) The cooking is home-style rather than high-end, with many recipes inherited from family members.
The space echoes the menu’s laidback bent. Guests help themselves to their own cutlery and serviettes; the food is displayed in hot and cold cabinets; and the walls are adorned with colourful shots of the dishes and black and white photos. The functional, no-frills dining area has little in common with most modern cafes and restaurants in Perth, but for those with a soft spot for the kopitiams (coffee shops) of Malaysia and Singapore, Kopi Time’s aesthetic and food will feel instantly familiar and comforting.