When chef/part-owner of Songket Restaurant Zamri tells me they have only been open a year, I can’t help but frown suspiciously. When so many new restaurants are floundering, Songket – on the day I turned up for lunch – was packed and buzzing with a lunchtime crowd. For a Malay fine dining restaurant, this was certainly unexpected.
A quick glance down the menu revealed the secret of why this stylish eatery pulls the crowds even on a scorching Thursday lunchtime; the set menus, offering a huge serving of various staple dishes such as nasi lemak or nasi kerabu with a dessert and drink for just RM15.90++, while bowls of mee rebus with the accompanying courses will set diners back just RM11.90++.
Price is not, of course, everything, but the food speaks for itself: these traditional dishes are enhanced by Chef Zamri, who sources local ingredients, hunts down organic meats and ensures that almost everything – right down to the spicy sambal – is made from scratch.
This attention to detail extends into the delicious a la carte menu, which adheres to Songket’s desire to showcase the best of traditional local cooking and features favourites such as satay, popiah, rendang, and nasi lemak done with pizzazz. Songket is a super spot to bring foreign guests who are curious about local food but can’t face squatting on the roadside, especially as evenings feature a traditional dance show that always gets diners on their feet!
While I may have missed out on the dancing, I certainly didn’t miss out on tasting the new Southern Food Promotion – the first of four regional promotions that add select region-focused dishes to the already exhaustive menu. With Chef Zamri growing up in Melaka, he was clearly in his element, serving us dishes such as the daging dendeng – a chewy, spicy dish of beef fried with dry chili paste – and the udang kerutup; a platter of fresh water prawns that almost slipped out of their shells into the thick, herby kerutupbased sauce.
Songket will be running each regional promotion for 4-6 months, but the menu is tantalising all year round, and there can be no better place to get your taste buds around some truly authentic Malay food in a charming, central location.
Fact File :
Songket Restaurant and Bar
29 Jalan Yap Kwan Seng,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 2161 3331
11am-3pm, 6pm-11pm, Mon-Fri
5pm-11pm, Sat, Sun& Public Holiday
For more restaurant reviews visit: www.DineMalaysia.com
This article was written by Sarah Rees
Source: The Expat March 2012
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This article has been edited for ExpatGomalaysia.com