Thursday, July 22, 2010

Belanga, The Gardens, Kuala Lumpur

Following my nasi tumpang experience at The Warung, I later read some reviews claiming that the nasi tumpang at Belanga was better and more authentic. So, armed with this information, I dragged Fujiko with me to Belanga in The Gardens for a taste-off.

Belanga has carved a reputation for serving consistent and quality home-styled authentic Malay cuisine, in particular Kelantanese cuisine such as nasi dagang, nasi kerabu and nasi tumpang. The signature dishes at Belanga uses the founder's (Pn .Zainab Ahmad Shiyuti) family recipes. Although she employs cooks, Pn. Zainab herself supervises the cooking to ensure food quality and taste are maintained. The setting in Belanga is modelled towards a typical Malaysian countryside restaurant that boasts a myriad of traditional handmade crafts and kain songket.

All the food is pre-prepared, and laid out at the front counter, so service is prompt here. Unlike The Warung, you will be served by the waiting staff here, who are friendly and explained what could be paired with each dish. The servers here don the traditional Malay costume, complete with songket and songkok (traditional Malay cap).

Food and drinks counter

Refreshing ice lemon tea (RM3.90)

Teh tarik (RM2.90)

The Nasi Tumpang (RM6.50) here was rather disappointing. I cannot comment on the authenticity of the dish compared with the one from The Warung, however I can gladly say I prefer the one from The Warung, which wins hands-down in terms of presentation and taste. Unfortunately, the rice here, which was packed in a cone shaped banana leaf, was too soggy for my liking plus the egg inside the nasi tumpang was burnt (charcoal-like bits on the egg) leaving a bitter taste in my mouth. The rice is layered with fish serunding (floss) and fish curry here.

The Nasi Dagang (RM13.90) here is a completely different story. The saving grace, if not for this dish, we would have been put off completely in dining here again. It was outstanding. The nasi dagang here is served with either tuna fish (ikan tongkol), beef rendang (daging kerutuk) or curry chicken (ayam gulai). We opted for the beef rendang, and it was tender and delicious. The steamed brown rice was fragrant and rich, and I could have easily eaten another portion. Truly delicious!

Nasi dagang served with beef rendang and fish curry sauce and garnished with boiled egg, pickled cucumber, and fresh salad. We asked for more curry sauce, and our request was granted at no extra charge.

Verdict: Love the nasi dagang, but loathe the nasi tumpang here. Would return to try the nasi kerabu and nasi lemak ayam berempah.

Opening times: Monday to Sunday 10.00am to 10.00pm

Location: Belanga Cafe, LG 230B, The Gardens, Mid Valley City, 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-2287 5136
Visit their Facebook page for full menu.

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