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Review: Songket Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur

>> Sunday, March 23, 2014

Overall comment: Comfortable ambiance with pretty good traditional & modern Malay cuisine. Guests will certainly enjoy the traditional performances as well! Great place for those who are foreign to Malaysian culture :)
Halal: Yes

It's one of those very rare nights that I actually brave through traffic in the city center to attend a food review. More often than not, I'll decline invitations to reviews where the restaurant is located in the heart of the city center, solely because 1) it's usually too congested & stressful to drive there from PJ & 2) I'm not familiar with the roads in town. Thank God that this particular weekday night, at that "right" time, the traffic flow was surprisingly smooth & I didn't get lost! Woohoo!! *exited*

The majestic view of the Petronas Twin Towers
I even managed to capture this lovely sight (rare one as well) while I was waiting at the traffic light to turn into Jalan Yap Kwan Seng :D

Tucked right at one corner of the city center is the Songket Restaurant, a Malay restaurant featuring harmonious traditional + modern cuisines that are suitable for various palates. I find this restaurant's concept especially suitable for tourists who would like to experience both a good variety of food & traditional dance performances.

Songket Restaurant
A "minion" amongst the "giant" sky-scrappers, but with HUGE flavours & experiences to offer!

The restaurant's kitchen is headed by Chef Umar, the executive chef with 17 years of working experience as chef & have been around with Songket for the past 2 years. Chef Umar & his team of passionate kitchen crew are constantly improving & serving guests at Songket with new/improved dishes, reviewing their menu once every 6 months.

Chef Umar with his latest creation/innovation

Chef Umar with one of his latest innovations: Rack of Australian Lamb Loin with Satay Sauce (Kambing Panggang Berempah)

Songket Restaurant usually serves ala carte dishes, but buffets can be arranged for groups with a minimum of 30 persons. Their dishes are richly infused with local/Asian herbs & spices plus fresh ingredients from their suppliers.

Typical herbs & spices used in Songket's dishes

Fresh "Asian-inspired" ingredients that are commonly found here at Songket

We were invited not just for the launch of Songket Restaurant's new & improved menu but to celebrate their 4th Anniversary together with the rest of the media & business partners as well :D There were approximately 100 persons at the event, so the restaurant served their dishes in a buffet spread.

Some of the latest dishes on their new menu (there are more than 10 new dishes on the menu, focusing a lot more on presentation of the dishes as compared to their previous menu) are:

Ayam Panggang Kuah Percik (RM28.00/serving)
Char-grilled whole leg(s) of chicken marinated in tumeric & ginger, & drizzled with lightly-spiced coconut gravy.
Marinated traditionally, Chef Umar aims to have this dish to be tastefully balanced to suit the palate of all races in Malaysia. It's not too spicy nor too heavily-infused with traditional Malay-cooking herbs & spices. According to Chef Umar, every race in Malaysia (and people from all over the world) would find this dish pleasing to their palate. I've yet to try it since it wasn't available at the buffet line that night! :(

Ikan Siakap Kukus Mangga Muda (RM65.00/serving)
Whole seabass steamed with Songket Restaurant's special mango sauce.
Here at Songket Restaurant, guests have a choice of 7 types of fishes & 8 methods of cooking. All you need to do is to pick your choice of fish, the method of cooking & just await to be satisfied with your personal preference!
Ikan Tongkol/Local Tuna (5 pieces) & Ikan Patin/Catfish (4 pieces) costs RM30.00/serving each, Ikan Bawal/Whole Pomfret costs RM45.00/serving, while the rest of the fishes like Ikan Senangin/Whole Senangin Fish, Ikan Siakap/Whole Seabass, & Ikan Jenahak/Fillet of Golden Snapper (450g) costs RM65.00/serving each.

Ikan Senangin Masak Lemak Asam (RM65.00/serving)
Deep-fried senangin fish simmered in a spicy gravy of chillies, turmeric, kaffic lime leaves & coconut milk.
This is one of the 8 methods of cooking for Songket Restaurant's fish dishes. The other methods are as photo below ;)

Kambing Panggang Berempah (RM58.00/serving)
Char-grilled slices of Australian lamb loin & ribs marinated with traditional spices, served with sweet-spicy peanut sauce.
According to Chef Umar, the lamb loins are grilled (bakar) before roasting/oven-baking (panggang) to ensure that the moisture of the meat is "locked-in". The meat is marinated with the traditional satay/peanut sauce ingredients over-night before it's cooked to perfection. Really interesting. I've never had a "satay-marinated char-grilled lamb loin" before! Yet to try it out! The dish is also served with a side of the traditional "bergedil" (fried mashed potatoes + meat patties) that resembles potato wedges.

Ketayap Pandan Dengan Ais Krim (RM10.00/serving)
Traditional Malay pancake rolled with "gula Melaka" coconut, served with pandan-flavour ice-cream
An interesting combination of the Malay traditional dessert with a locally-flavoured ice-cream! Chef Umar said that all their ice-cream flavors are Asian-inspired to give the traditional desserts a modern & fun touch :)

Durian Tiramisu (RM18.00/serving)
Traditional tiramisu (non-alcoholic/halal) flavored with creamy D24 durians, served with a shot of "fruit compote"
I asked Chef Umar if the compote was part of the "bold" tiramisu & he said "yes!". As the tiramisu is rich & may be cloying to some, the compote gives the heavy dessert a refreshing 'lift' to cleanse the palate when you feel "jelak" :D I'm impressed. Have to try this next time.

Satay (RM25.00/serving)
A Malaysian favorite, eight pieces of skewered chicken & beef fillet marinated in spiced honey & grilled over charcoal fire. Served with condiments & homemade peanut sauce.
My expectations of a good satay: tender & juicy meat, not too sweet, slightly burnt, & has the fragrance of lemon grass. The taste & texture of the peanut sauce has to be well-balanced too! I've yet to try Songket Restaurant's version. Hmm...after marinating the meat overnight with satay-marinade, I wonder how good the satay here would taste...

Variety of dishes
L->R: Daging Salai Masak Lemak Cili Api (RM45.00/ala carte serving), Sotong Goreng Kunyit (RM48.00/ala carte serving), Rendang Kambing (RM35.00/ala carte serving), Masak Lemak Ayam Nangka (RM26.00/ala carte serving), Ayam Rempah Bertumis (RM26.00/ala carte serving)
All their dishes that are cooked with coconut milk are really rich, creamy & nicely infused with herbs & spices (not over-powering). I could taste the aromatic kaffir lime leaves from some of the dishes like the Ayam Masak Lemak Nangka, a rather 'new' dish to me :) Yums!

Ikan Lemak Asam Gelugur (RM30.00 - RM65.00/ala carte serving), Udang Sos Mentega (RM48.00/ala carte serving), Ikan Masak Lemak Tempoyak (RM30.00 - RM65.00/ala carte serving), Baby Kailan Sos Tiram
I must say that the Ikan Masak Lemak Tempoyak is really delicious (rich, creamy, aromatic...oolala...)! For those who do not fancy durians, this may be a "put-off", but I've to say that it's a dish that you can rarely find in typical Malay restaurants. Must try!

My dinner for the night...a little bit of everything :D
The nasi minyak is fragrant & surprisingly more delectable than the nasi kerabu that I deeply missed! I need to head back to Kuantan/east coast again for good nasi kerabu... boohoo...

To conclude the traditional meal, we pretty much had "free-flow" of Malay traditional desserts from the buffet line. Those who know me will know that I'm not a fan of sweet food, but I still tried some of the desserts just to find out how the dessert here tastes.

Ketayap Pandan
It's no doubt very sweet...haha...but the pancake wasn't too thick, so the texture was still pretty satisfying.

Assortment of Nyonya kuih
Sweet & slightly savoury - I'm not a great fan of Nyonya kuih, so I can't really comment if these are really good...haha.

Assortment of Traditional Malay Desserts
L->R: Sago Gula Melaka (RM10.00/single portion serving), Sum-Sum Pandan Gula Melaka (RM12.00/single portion serving), Bubur Jagung, Kek Keju Mangga (RM15.00/single portion serving), Coconut Milk Pudding
I only tasted the sago gula Melaka that night (amongst the many desserts in the photo below), so I can't comment much on the desserts. The sago was slightly too soft, but it's still a nostalgic sensation to dish into this traditional dessert ;)

I did say that this place offers 'entertainment' as well, right? :D Some of us experienced watching certain traditional dances for the 1st time. How exciting! Haha...

L->R: Tarian Songket, Tarian Joget,Tarian Kuda Kepang (originates from Johor), Tarian Piring (originates from the Minangkabau people, West Sumatera)

L->R: Tarian Kipas Cina/Chinese Fan Dance, Tarian Sumpit (originates from Sarawak), one of the bloggers trying out how to blow the pipe, Tarian India/Indian Dance

L->R:Tarian  Joget Kadazan & Tarian Magunatip Buluh Kadazan/Kadazan Bamboo Dance, Cake Cutting Ceremony, Lucky Draw Prize Giving - one of our blogger friends won a lucky draw prize!

Map to Songket Restaurant

It was indeed an enjoyable night at Songket Restaurant. I enjoyed the food, the ambiance (although I was sitting outside at the non air-conditioned area with the rest of the gang), & certainly the friendship that we share over the same passion for good food. Looking forward to the next food review gathering! Thanks Nomsterad & Songket Restaurant for the opportunity to review the food here :)

Songket Restaurant
29, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (+603) 2161 3331/ (+6016) 3717 594 (Roslan)/ (+6012) 2607 769 (Firdaus)/ (+6012) 3945 004 (Umar)
Fax: (+603) 2161 3062
URL: http://www.songketrestaurant.com
Email: info@songketrestaurant.com
For media and PR related inquiry: plateauconsult@gmail.com
Business hours: Mon - Fri 12:00p.m. - 3:00p.m., 6:00p.m. - 11:00p.m.;
Sat/Sun/Public Holidays 5:00p.m. - 11:00p.m.

Presentation: * * *
Price: * * 1/2
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Enjoyed the experience at Songket Restaurant,


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