What lies beneath these skyscrapers?
Amidst the high-rises lies a humble restaurant which serves authentic Malay cuisine.
A little hidden but not hard to find(Thanks Evelyn for the picture of the entrance)
It's not facing the main road of Jalan Yap Kwan Seng directly but do look out for Tony Roma's. Songket Restaurant is behind Tony Roma's through the side road you see in the picture(right).
Songket Restaurant, a Malay cuisine restaurant right at the heart of KL(well, KL for the most part anyway). It's been a long time since I last had some Malay style food. I used to dine some Malay stalls at Kelana Jaya area as well Vicchuda at Damansara Utama. With that said, I was looking forward for some delicious and authentic Malay dishes.
Ample parking space and best of all, its free!
As my friends would know, I'm bad at KL roads so I took the LRT towards KLCC stop and walked to the place.
Just a heads up, the baju Kebaya and other traditional Malay clothing are up for sale :)
Simple and traditional decor
Some artwork of traditional Malay houses.
Although the restaurant may seem to be renovated to keep up with time, its still very much like its predecessor from those artwork.
Beautiful Songket display on the wall
There is also a VIP room
These goodies are also up for grab if you would like a souvenir
So you might be wondering, what is songket? Basically, its a beautiful hand-woven fabric. Initially I though it was the same as batik but I guess they are both different in style and tradition.
As everyone slowly began to arrive, our makan session began.
Cucur Udang, RM10
Deep fried prawns in a light batter served along with a homemade chili sauce. Prawns were fresh and springy and I love the seasoning for the batter. Another plus point is that the ones here are not oily! Normally these would be pretty oily and filled up with mostly flour/batter.
Chicken and beef satay marinated in spiced honey. They were okay for the most part but the beef was alittle on the tough side. The satay are still done the old fashion way; charcoal grilled. The gravy was nicely done. I mean the flavors were spot on but it needed more texture to it. If only it had a little more of the nutty and crunchy texture.
Pegedil is basically a Malay dish where mashed potatoes are shaped into patties. Even without adding the homemade chili sauce, the pegedil was good on its own. I think they used some unique blend of herbs and spices because it was pretty aromatic and fragrant. A must try whenever you're there.
The word Otak actually means brain in the Malay language but when it comes to Otak-otak, its a delicious dish of fish paste wrapped in pandan leaves before being charcoal grilled.What you see here is also otak-otak but its just prepared differently. I couldn't really taste the otak-otak's flavors because this dish was very rich in coconut milk. And one thing I noticed is that the chunks of fish for the otak-otak was at the base of the bowl so probably that is why I didnt get a good mix of everything.
Kerabu Mangga, RM12
A refreshing mango salad. Young mango are used and its not too sour. You get both sweet and sour combination which is very appetizing to begin with.
Ayam Sambal Petai, RM28
Fried chicken sautéd in a spicy sauce of chilies with tomato and petai(stink beans). For those who do not take petai, be warned. For those who DO love petai, you must try this dish. I used to hate it but slowly but surely, I began loving it for both its taste and health benefits. Petai is normally best taken with spicy food and this dish is a good example of that. It wasn't too spicy but it was just savory. The sambal chili and sweetness of the tomatoes actually reduced the pungent aroma of the petai so it wasn't so bad.
Ayam Lemak Asam Gelugur, RM23
Very similar to ayam rendang but this one is more coconuty.
Ikan Siakap Masam Manis, RM60
I only had a little of this dish as I'm more of a meat eater. The fish was delicious though! A mix of sweet and sour and that tad bit of chili spice. A little pricey but I find the fish very tasty and fresh.
Masak Lemak Udang Nanas, RM45
Succulent prawns in lightly spiced coconut milk.What you don't see in the picture are slices of pineapple beneath the prawns which have been soaking up the sweet and fragrant gravy.
Pucuk Paku Goreng, RM15
Wild fern shoots stir fried with chili, shallot and garlic. Take a break from your usual kangkung and go for this. You won't be disappointed.
Kari Udang Raja, RM75
King prawn cooked in a rich curry of spices and coconut milk. Now if one does not salivate after reading that, you have no idea what you're missing. The prawns were really succulent and sweet to begin with. The dish may seem complicated but its the spice that does the magic. A really nice blend of herbs and spices to compliment the coconut curry.
Pandan Nasi Lemak, RM6
Apart from the light green color, you can tell by its aroma that pandan was used along side with coconut milk in the cooking process. It tastes as good as it looks; a little bit of flavors coming from the pandan leaves and the other from the usual coconut milk for nasi lemak. The sambal had the right balance of sweet and spiciness. If you need your nasi lemak fix, this will definitely fill in that void.
Nasi Minyak, RM6
To be honest, I think the fruit relish or acar stole the limelight of this dish. The direct translation would be "oily rice" but infact, it isn't oily at all. I made the right choice of just sampling this rice with the acar and not adding anything else because the rice and acar compliments each other really well. Despite being a cold fruit relish, the acar was a mix of sweet and sour flavor which made it really tasty and not forgetting opening up one's appetite.
Nasi Kerabu, RM8
Normally, nasi kerabu would be in blue. At Songket however, its a little different. They use white rice tossed with finely chopped raw vegetables and herbs. It tasted alright but I'm not sure what those sauces were but it tasted better with one looking like curry(in the picture, the right one).
Rusuk Panggang, RM60
This my friend is a must have at Songket restaurant; awesome short ribs. Chargrilled marinated short ribs served with pegedil, spicy sweet soy sauce and sambal belacan. To be honest, you don't need anything else. The short ribs was really delicious on its own. The meat was tender and juicy till you could peel them off from the bone easily. The beef was sweet and fragrant especially at the slightly charred edges of the bone and meat. You could taste the sauce and spices used to marinate the short ribs as its really aromatic.
White Hibicus, RM15
A mix of soursop, lemongrass, lime cordial and soda. Best taken while its still cold.
Shirley Temple, RM15
Some traditional dance performances
Apart from serving delicious Malay cuisines, they also have cultural performances to share some of the traditional dances from all around Malaysia. It may seem nothing much but I think its really unique that such a place would even have such a thing. I believe patrons from near and far will be able to get to know Malaysia a little better.
Dance all night
And of course, audience participation is greatly appreciated. I avoided the dance by pretending to eat and taking photographs :)
*ahem* On to the desserts!
Durian Tiramisu, RM15
This is heavenly. It been a long time since I last had durian. Better yet, at Songket, they made an awesome tiramisu with the King of fruit! To my surprise, everyone tried the durian tiramisu and there was still a huge portion of it left untouched. I made a last check if anyone still wants to have a go at it before I took more; yes, I LOVE durian! Needless to say, this dessert made my day. Durian was fresh and nothing less. I was also glad that the amount of cocoa powder sifted at the top wasn't too much unlike some other places.
Sago Gula Melaka, RM10
You can find this dessert almost anywhere but I must say, this is one of the best I've tasted.
It's quite tasteless if you do not dip it with the coconut and palm sugar syrup mix. And there is also something for you to do before digging into this dessert. You have to give the coconut milk and palm sugar syrup a quick stir to infuse both flavors. I was also told that the amount of sweetness you want is controlled by how much you stir the palm sugar syrup with the coconut milk. Sounds complicated but its really simply; if you need more sweet flavors, stir it more :)
Pandan Pudding, RM10
Aside from the delicious durian tiramisu, this is my second favorite dessert of the night. Pandan pudding with jelly like texture, glazed with palm sugar syrup. The pudding itself was very fragrant because of the pandan leaves.
Coconut Cream Caramel, RM10
Silky smooth coconut milk pudding drenched in caramel syrup. This was the last dessert of the night and although I was stuffed, there was always room for that one last bite. Texture for this dessert was really smooth like a perfectly prepared soy custard. Infused with rich coconut milk aroma, the caramel syrup added just the right amount of sweetness needed.
Songket Restaurant is definitely recommended for those who would love to enjoy some authentic Malay food in KL. A little pricey as some might say but for the taste and ambiance, I say its worth it. Once again, go for the rusuk panggang! Its delicious! Oh and the durian tiramisu too.
No. 29, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
Map(Taken from Songket Restaurant's website):
03-2161 3331 / 012-366 0111
Mon - Fri: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 11pm
Sat, Sun and public holiday: 5pm - 11pm