Back to the 1950s
August 18, 2018
I had never seen so many bouffant hairstyles in one place. Many of the women who walked into Bijan Bar & Restaurant on the Saturday evening, sported beehive hairstyles, scarves and one even wore big, round sunglasses.
The time-warp back to the 1950s was perfect for Bijan Bar & Restaurant’s early Merdeka party, themed Kelab Malam Bijan. It was a throwback to that golden era marked by good clean fun, including joget and ronggeng dance halls and cabaret girls.
|Dani's The Messenger artwork|
Outside the restaurant, P. Ramlee's film posters and portraits of stars the likes of Saloma, Normadiah, Aziz Sattar and S. Samsuddin, adorned the wall, with a gleaming old Vespa bike attracting excited diners to pose for selfies and wefies there.
Near the door, a kacang putih man was offering all kinds of nuts in slim paper cones, reminiscent of a time before plastic bags came into vogue and made everything clinical.
We stepped inside and our eyes were drawn to artwork exhibits by Young Malaysian artist Dani Omar. Particularly interesting was his ceramic bag sculpture titled The Messenger.
Then the music started and dancers came on the dance floor to flame up the atmosphere.
In between food, designer Fern Chua, winner of Fashion Pitch 2013 by My Creative Ventures in Malaysia, showcased her The New Batik collection of simple yet effortlessly elegant resort wear.
|Fern Chua with two of her models wearing her designs|
|Dancers decked out in 1950s styles and old-fashioned joget dancers hitting the floor|
Diners could choose from two set menus for the Kelab Malam event. The Colonial Menu starts with Crab Mulligatawny Soup, a rich spicy curry soup with crabmeat, followed by a main course of roasted Australian rib eye with Yorkshire pudding, chat potato, vegetables and au-jus. Dessert was English Trifle with layers of finger sponge, strawberries, vanilla custard and fresh cream.
|Roasted rib-eye and potato with Yorkshire pudding and broccoli|
I picked the New Malaysia Menu instead. This starts with an aromatic Kerabu Ikan Pari, comprising shredded stingray with fiddlehead fern, banana flower and mixed herbs tossed with lime juice, shallots and bunga kantan (torch ginger) and served in halved coconut shell.
|Stingray and fiddlehead fern salad served in half coconut shell|
The main course was Nasi Lemak Udang Galah Panggang. A centre mound of rice cooked in santan (coconut cream) and tinged green with pandan extract, was accompanied by the star of the dish – a butterflied chargrilled king prawn alongside crispy ikan bilis, peanuts, hard-boiled egg, sambal, two sauces and crispy deepfried bayam leaves.
Finally, dessert comprised a trio of Bijan's popular chocolate durian cake, pandan pudding and kuih keria. That was the perfect finale.
|Pandan nasi lemak with grilled freshwater prawn and condiments|
The evening did not end just yet as the band played on and the professional dancers went on to coax diners to join them and ronggeng on the dance floor.
BIJAN BAR & RESTAURANT (pork-free)
3 Jalan Ceylon, Kuala Lumpur
Daily: 4.30pm to 11pm
Kelab Malam was priced at RM168 with part of the proceeds donated to Tabung Harapan.