Malay Asian Cuisine in Shibuya

by Peter Sidell
Japan Travel
I love south-east Asian food. Thai, Indonesian, Singaporean, Vietnamese, I can't get enough. So I was very pleased to find out about this restaurant in Shibuya offering authentic halal Malay and Nyonya (aromatic Malay-Chinese fusion) dishes, and I went for lunch there on pretty much the first opportunity that arose.
 
There's a pretty relaxed atmosphere inside: the tables and fittings are mahogany-coloured, but the space is livened up with sprays of flowers, little Malay flags, prints and posters of landscapes and artworks, and a couple of bright soccer scarves. Curtains allow some tables and booths to be screened off for privacy, though it was left open-plan for lunch, which was quite busy, mostly couples or groups of women fresh from the shops, and one Malay family. Only the music was a touch incongruous: rather than anything from south-east Asia, we were listening to jaunty western pop such as "Nine to Five" and "Eye of the Tiger".
 
The ¥1000 lunch sets include a main dish and as much as you want from the drink machine, soup pot, fruit cocktail dessert tray, and small salad bar. Choices of main dish on offer are Mee Laksa (curry noodles), Mee Goreng (fried noodles), chicken curry, Nasi Lemak and Nasi Ayam (rice with a variety of sides), as well as the Nasi Goreng Kampung (Malay-style fried rice) that I had, and daily specials such as green curry. My lunch was both filling and tasty, the sauce adding extra zing, and with a couple of plump, tasty shrimps buried in the rice.
 
The menu boasts a very wide range of authentic dishes: only the names are in English, but while the explanations are only in Japanese, there are plenty of pictures to help you. (This is the same on the website.) Snacks and side dishes from ¥400-¥1000 include murtabak (meat and egg turnover), otak-otak (lightly spiced fish mousse) and Nyonya Acar (mixed pickled vegetables); among the meat and fish dishes (around ¥900 to ¥2000) are Ayam Mas roast chicken, Ikan Bakar (marinated, charcoal-grilled fish) and Nyonya Lala (stir-fried clams); and the list of desserts (¥400-¥700) features fried banana and Apam Balik (sweet folded pancakes). If you can't choose, there are four set dinners, ranging from ¥2500 to ¥6000 a head.
 
Just typing this has left me wanting more of their delicious, fragrant food, so I've no doubt I'll be back there soon, or I'll perhaps go to one of the other locations in Aoyama, Yokohama's upscale Motomachi, or the sister Malay Kampung in Hatchobori. I'll likely also buy some of the packet sauces or curries they have for sale, so I don't have to go without for too long.
 

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