My love affair with Malaysian food started with a visit to Kuala Lumpur after graduating from University. I was fascinated by the fusion flavours of the Far East with Southern India. Spicy, umami filled curries with an array of meats and loads of carbs!! Perfect for an indulgent meal.
When I saw images of Roti Canai and Nasi Lemak on Halal Girl About Town‘s Social media stream, I planned to visit as soon as I had a break from School! Taking Halal Girl’s advice I reached Roti King early, as expected there was a queue before the noon opening.
The restaurant is situated in the basement of a block of flats, and I felt it adds to the atmosphere of a no-frills eatery, not too dissimilar to the ones found in Malaysia. The restaurant is clean but small and houses approximately 20-25 diners at a time. Once the doors opened we were quickly seated and our order was taken by a very friendly Malaysian waiter.
We ordered two Roti Canai, one with dhaal and the other with fish curry. The rotis were cooked fresh to order by the skilled Roti masters. The roti dough is flattened, layered with oil and folded, then reflattened and cooked on a hot oiled griddle. As the rotis are pulled off the griddle, they are scrunched up to push out the extra layers of flaky pastry.
The rotis were served piping hot, and were seared with a perfect level of browning, to ensure an even crisp. The layers in the roti were apparent and it wasn’t as greasy as I had feared!!
The curries that accompanied the Roti were packed with umaminess, especially the fish curry. Both curries were lighter than their Indian counterpart. The addition of coconut milk provided a rich, creamy and smooth feel on the palate. We enjoyed dipping the rotis into the steaming bowls, and even after the rotis had finished we unashamedly ‘drank’ the remaining curry with our spoons.
Ever since Ping Coombes won Masterchef, I’ve had an affinity with Rendang. My affection with red meat has been well documented and doesn’t need much elaboration, especially after fellow bloggers Steak and Teeth infamously labelled me the ‘Meat Whisper’. Therefore the Beef Rendang was always going to be on my list of things to order!!
Slow cooked pieces of boneless beef, with background hints of coconut, tamarind, kaffir lime leaves and fiery red chilli; served with white rice. Although this was a pleasant dish, it wasn’t the best rendang that I’ve tasted. The coconut was overpowering and there was a lack of fiery chilli punch. I felt that the dish needed some umami and/or sharp hints, possibly via the introduction of a fiery shrimp-laced sambal oolek (Malaysian/Indonesian Chilli Paste).
Some regard Nasi Lemak as the national dish of Malaysia, it’s a dish of Steamed coconut rice served with peanuts, fried anchovies, cucumber, egg, chilli sambal and spiced fried chicken. It’s usually eaten for breakfast. Erm.. I don’t think Mrs HF would come near me, if I had fried anchovies anytime before Noon!! Apparently, the best way of eating Nasi Lemak is mixing everything together, eating crispy chicken, sweet coconut infused rice, fiery sambal, salty and crisp fried anchovies. The dish is an eruption of sweet, spicy, salty and fishy umami flavours in every bite.
The eyes of the younger members of #teamhaloodiefoodie lit up when a cone shaped roti with sugar sprinkles, vanilla ice cream, and a drizzle of chocolate sauce arrived at the table. So, I’ll let them describe the desserts!
This reminded us of a sweetened version of a Paper Dosa: flaky, paper thin, and brittle, with a thin layer of caramelised sugar. It was delicate and light. Coupled with the rich vanilla ice cream, it was the perfect way to end the meal.
Roti with butter topped with condensed milk filling. Much like the Tissue Roti, this was delicate and light, however the condensed milk filling added more substance, making it more filling than the tissue roti.
The bill came to £45 for 5 diners, which included a service charge and tips. I’m sure you’ll agree it is very reasonable for authentic Malaysian food close to Central London. I asked the younger members of #teamhaloodiefoodie whether they would like to return, and the answer was a resounding YES!! I would especially like to return for some more Roti Canai and some of the dishes we haven’t tried yet, including the divine looking Kari Laksa. We’ll be back soon!