Aside from grabbing a quick lunch during the working day, Greedy Girl has never been enamoured of eating inside shopping centres. Sydney’s glamorous Westfield centre, on the corner of Pitt and Market Streets in the heart of the city, is bent on changing that opinion.

On its upper floors, the centre has been able to attract a number of outlets that offer Very Serious Food, among them Ippudo (which gets rave reviews for its pork buns) and Chinta Ria, which is where Greedy Girl found herself one busy evening.

Chinta Ria is a chain of restaurants and here has the tagline ‘Mood for Love’ (its sister restaurant in Sydney is tagged ‘Temple of Love’ while Melbourne is Chinta Ria Soul). There’s little doubt it’s out to cultivate a sense of passion but when the food is this spicy, it can test the hardiest of romantics.

Perhaps it wasn’t the best night to be there – it was a Thursday, which is late-night shopping in Sydney. The interior of the restaurant looks great – decked out in shades of red, it’s lush. Sadly though, it was full and we were given the option of sitting outside. Greedy Girl had her heart set on a nasi goreng, so she and gluttonous husband pulled up stools to one of the exterior tables.

It wasn’t the most comfortable spot to sit; hordes of shoppers whizzed by toting various bags and instead of feeling like being part of a restaurant, we got a decidedly ‘food court’ vibe. Undeterred, we ordered a starter to share and two mains, with a side of rice.

The dishes here also have evocative names. First up were ‘sassy rolls’, pictured at the top of this blog. This is minced chicken and five spice powder rolled in bean curd and deep fried. Greedy Girl fondly remembers prawns rolled in bean curd and fried from one of her favourite dim sum places in Melbourne, Red Emperor. Any thought that this would be in a similar vein was quickly dissipated. It was, sadly, pretty stodgy. Greedy Girl’s main flavour seemed to be the cooking oil.

Next up, for gluttonous husband was ‘mama’s mood’. The broth here was very strong in terms of ginger and gluttonous husband commented he was surprised it was so thin – but that may have been purely a misplaced expectation given we’d never ordered a dish like this before. It was slow-cooked chicken and shitake mushrooms sitting in the ginger and rice wine broth and a couple of large sprigs of coriander on top. It came with a side of rice, but more on that later. Gluttonous husband enjoys the flavour of ginger but Greedy Girl felt it was the only thing she could taste.

chicken and ginger

Mama’s mood – chicken and ginger

Her dish was one of her all-time favourites, gobbled down regularly for breakfast on our Singapore sojourns – nasi goreng. This was powerfully hot and that detracted from the lovely selection of seafood. It was also quite dry – Greedy Girl loves to have a runny egg on top (rather than an omelette mixed through) so that the yolk provides more moisture. While there was absolutely nothing wrong with the way the dish was cooked, it just wasn’t particularly well balanced. Greedy Girl resorted to forkfuls of the plain rice offered as part of gluttonous husband’s dish to try to quench the fire in her throat.

Nasi goreng

Nasi goreng

There’s no doubt that Asian folks like their food spicy but Greedy Girl hasn’t had a nasi goreng served straight up that sacrifices all the other yummy flavours in the pursuit of chilli heat. In Singapore, the dish packs a punch but you have the option of adding serious heat from a little serving of chopped fresh chillies on the side. If you’re heading to one of the Chinta Ria outlets and prefer a more subtle hit, perhaps you need to ask for the thermostat to be lowered a few degrees.

The service here was pleasant enough, if a little haphazard. It wasn’t easy to get both water glasses refilled at the same time. Our server would happily fill one, on being asked, but leave the other untouched. A tad aggravating.
Having said all that, if you’re in the Sydney CBD and looking for somewhere to eat, Westfield isn’t a bad spot to browse. Just be aware that this brand of Malaysian cuisine might put a different kind of spice in your life.

Chinta Ria – Mood for Love

Level 6, Westfield Pitt Street Mall, Sydney

Chinta Ria - Mood for Love Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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