28 June, 2008

Madam Kwan's - Truly Malaysian Cuisine

My final stop at KL was none other the famous Madam Kwan’s. I heard about this place 5 years ago (that was the last time I visited KL) but my friends and I didn’t managed to taste it. So this time round, I was quite determine to try it.

To put it simply, Madam Kwan’s is a swanky coffee shop that serves local cuisine and their most famous dish is Nasi Lemak, or coconut flavoured rice and traditionally most of its accompaniments served, like chicken, cuttlefish, beef, anchovies are spicy.

But since we made up our mind for to save our stomach for some A&W after this meal, we decided to share lunch and opted for their Nasi Bojari (RM20.50), or Tri-coloured Rice with Assam Prawns, Beef Rendang, Deep Fried Chicken Drumstick, and Half a Boiled Egg. Customers who have an aversion to beef can choose to have it replace with chicken curry instead, but not me – since I came all the way for this!

This dish has its origins in Indonesia and is layered red, yellow and white. Frying the rice with bits of chicken, garlic and dried prawns, and lightly tinting the rice with red, and yellow from turmeric creates this dish.

The beef rendang is very tender and doesn’t come across as too intense such that one cannot have too much of it, it is good but I still prefer the one at Warung M. Nasir at Killiney Road.

The assam prawns are big and crunchy and goes well with the rice, but perhaps in order to cater to the masses, I do realise that their spiciness doesn’t really pack a punch – not what I have expected from our neighbouring countries who are known for their spices better than our little island.

The chicken was slightly more disappointing. It came slightly too dry for my liking and the skin wasn’t even crispy – I have definitely eaten better deep-fried chicken drumstick than this.

Since I can’t live without veggies for long, we ordered a plate of Kangkong Stirred Fried with Belacan (RM13.00), or Spicy Dried Shrimp Paste Sauce. The veggies were stirred fried just nice without being overcooked. Taste wise, I expected it to be spicier but overall it was still satisfactory.

Overall, I feel that this would be a good place to bring your Caucasian friend to sample some nice local food in a nice ambience. I also have to commend on their service – the waiter was attentive throughout topping our water and the captain had a good command of English (Yes, we have encountered several instances elsewhere when they just stare blankly back at us).

Food: 3.5/5 (Ok but didn't wow me)
Service: 4.5/5 (Staff was attentive, service was fast)
Ambience: 4/5 (Swanky, clean and spacious)
Price: 3/5 (RM38.55 after taxes for 2 is expensive for coffee shop food)
Total: 15/20
Lot 420/421, Level 4, Suria KLCC,
50088, Kuala Lumpur

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Steve said...

Hmmmm.... nice. thanks for sharing this one with us HFB. I've eaten many times at KLCC (the varierty of food stalls makes it perfect for making a choice of what to eat on the spot)

I hav ehte best Roti Canai at KLCC in the so-called Asian Food Court at Christmas time. Divine - and cheaper

Steve said...

...sigh... Sorry about that last posting. That's what happens when you accidently bump the enter button when in the password field. Sorry! ...sigh...

Hmmmm.... nice. Thanks for sharing this one with us HFB. I've eaten many times at KLCC (the variety of food stalls makes it perfect for making a choice of what to eat on the spot) - but I can't specifically recall Madam Kwan's. Will check it out this year as the Beef Rendang and the Kangkong Stirred Fried with Belacan look right up my alley.

I had the best Roti Canai at KLCC in the so-called Asian Food Court at Christmas time. Divine - and would get a 5.0 for value for money based on your ratings system I reckon.

His Food Blog said...

Hi steve,

Well, with my pix, you should have no problems figuring where Mdm Kwan's @ Level 4. :)

Thanks for the info, will look out for the Asian Food Court the next trip I am there - but to be honest, I am more incline to try out old school kopitiams rather than food courts - not a very big fan of them, if you know what I mean.

Steve said...

Totally know what you mean and totally understand. I have noticed a bad trait in my eating habits of late - seeking out comfort instead of the very best food.

If fact you brought a guilt trip on me, as one of my Aussie friends remarked when I met her in KL for Christmas 2007, that she had never been inside so many food courts in her life.

Noooo, the shame of it it all!

His Food Blog said...

Heh. I understand - that's one reason people shunned kopitiams and hawker centres - the lacked of air-conditioning and all - Sad if you ask me cos thats where all the good food are.

But the irony of it all is that due to rent prices going up - restaurants and cafes are moving into the heartlands and into hawker centres - just look at Cilantro!

Steve said...

Okay, I finally got to Madam Kwan's. I have no idea why it took me so long, but it was on the list that I scribble on every time I read something that HFB has reviewed and which I think might take my fancy.

I am a beef rendang lover, and HFB's comments about it being tender at Madam Kwan's were spot on. However two negatives: the lack of spiciness that I am used to in a Rendang... and an unacceptable level of oiliness. I felt quite nauseous after eating it in fact. Mine looked quite different to that in HFB's pic, in fact, so maybe I got the weekday chef...

My other choice - Assam Laksa - was outstanding. The balance of sweet, sour and spiciness were all there, and the noodles were as perfect to the bite as I have ever tasted. Truly superb.

I found the service a little lacking... a forgotten order, general lack of friendliness... but nothing too severe. Otherwise completely agree with HFB's rating!

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