Back to the kampung
19 April, 2018
Bijan Restaurant may be sitting at the edge of busy Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur but its Head Chef, Shawal Basry, has looked beyond the concrete jungle and towering skylines for inspiration for Ramadan.
Actually, he doesn’t really have to look too far as within the city; there are pockets of Malay kampung homes and folks that continue to cling to the old ways, especially when it comes to food.
He and his team have crafted four menus, gleaning recipes from The North, the South, East Coast and Central Peninsula. These menus will be offered on a rotation basis throughout Ramadan.
At the recent sneak preview, the media and bloggers sampled selected dishes from all the four menus.
|Otak Otak and kerabu selections|
|Ingredients for Pecal|
|Otak Otak in mini pacakages|
We started with appetisers such as Kerabu Nangka with crabmeat Kerabu Ikan Pari and Kerabu Kerang Taugeh Bersantan. We helped ourselves to Pecal and ulam-ulam with Sambal Belacan and Sambal Pelam. Otak otak came in little banana leaf boxes. Aromatic and creamy though I found it a tad on the sweet side.
|Ingredients for Curry Laksa and Kelantanese Laksam|
I spotted Laksam, a Kelantanese favourite that I loved. Bijan’s version is so delicious, with a white, thick and creamy fish gravy ladled over soft, house-made noodle rolls. Diners add their own condiments.
Then it was on to the mains, kept hot in claypots. Best eaten with rice; two types were served, plain and nasi lemak pandan. On other days, you may find nasi daging utara, nasi kerabu, nasi dagang and even nasi hujan panas.
We ate the rice with Kerutup Itik, Opor Daging and the aromatic Ayam Goreng Berempah (whole chicken marinated with herbs and spices, fried and chopped into pieces).
|Chilli Crab Berempah|
|Udang Sambal Berempah|
|Udang Sambal Tempoyak|
Seafood dishes were in abundance. Chilli Crab was scented with coconut milk. Then there were prawns: Udang Sambal Udang Tempoyak and Udang Sambal Berempah.
|Siakap Sambal Petai Hijau|
|Masak Lemak Ikan Salai Bacang|
We tried two types of fish: Siakap Sambal Petai Hijau and Masak Lemak Ikan Salai Bacang. I preferred the former, which was cooked with stinky beans and a yummy green sambal.
|Asam Pedas Ikan Pari|
At one end, the Asam Pedas Station offered piquant gravy with choices of stingray, kembung fish or beef. Though diners have to be patient while their selections are being cooked in small individual claypots, this is definitely worth the wait.
|Watch the chef preparing Beef Rendang|
Next to the Asam Pedas Station, you can watch the chef preparing Beef Rendang, slowly stirring the meat and rempah in a wok. Don’t worry that the meat won’t be tender since the rendang hasn’t been allowed to simmer for hours as only prime cuts of Australian beef is used.
Then there is the grill station where a whole lamb will be carved daily, along with items such as Satay, Roasted Beef, Ayam Percik or Ayam Golek.
|Ondeh-Ondeh in 4 flavours|
|Traditional Malay kuih-muih|
Do save room for dessert. Ais kacang is a must, as is Apam Balik, made while you wait which is great as you can request for more of your favourite fillings, such as ground peanut or desiccated coconut and grated cheese. The apam balik is soft, not crunchy but it’s so fluffy it demands a second helping.
Then have some fresh fruit or pick from banana-leaf lined baskets filled with Serimuka, Ondeh-Ondeh, Pulut Inti, Pulut Panggang, Kuih Talam, Kuih Koci, Wajik, Pisang Goreng, Kuih Bakar and Tapai Pulut.
Prefer something hot? Try steamed glutinous rice with Pengat Durian, Bubur Chacha, Bubur Kacang Hijau or Bubur Pulut Hitam.
Then end the meal with a cup of hot coffee or teh tarik.
3 Jalan Ceylon, KL.
Tel: 03-2031 3575
Kampung Warisan Buffet: 7pm to 9.30pm
A la carte: From 9pm
Bijan will be closed on the 1st-2nd day of Hari Raya.
RM110++ per person.