No visit to KL is ever complete without a visit to the city's iconic, legendary 91-year-old Coliseum Cafe, a Hainanese-owned restaurant which served Old-World Hainanese-Western dishes (sizzling steaks, Hainanese chicken chops, fish-n-chips) and local Chinese dishes like Egg Foo Yong & Inche Kabin (a Penang-Nyonya fried chicken dish), among others.
There's a charming bar in there which looked like it came straight out of a Somerset Maugham novel. It's been serving out gin, whisky, and "stengah" - the half-whisky-half-soda water drink popular with the old planters in British-Malaya - since 1921.
Dinner this evening:
- Ox-tail soup: murky broth which tasted like a cross between Hainanese herbal soup (the sort which used mutton) and Anglo-Indian mulligatawny. Its taste was too strong for me - a "love-it-or-hate-it" kind of soup. I, unfortunately, fell into the latter category.
- Baked crab in shell. It was dressed crab, mixed with perhaps mayonnaise (??) or some kind of white sauce, covered with seasoned breadcrumbs and baked till golden-crisp on top. A tad oily, but otherwise not too disagreeable.
- Chicken a la King, served here with a rustic, flavorsome Hainanese-style fried rice.
- Hainanese chicken chop with crinkle-cut French fries. The sauce here is tomatoey - different from the kind of sauce used by Hainanese chefs in SIngapore where it's more of a light, brownish soysauce-flavored gravy with a faint cinnamon-star anise-clove scent.
For dessert, we wanted to try all of Coliseum's old-fashioned puddings: jelly with ice-cream, creme caramel, fried bananas a la mode, and pancake with sugar & lemon. They really tasted home-made - really, REALLY reminded me of the desserts which I grew up with :-)
Come here for a drink and to soak in some of Old Malaya's history. Food-wise? GO EAT ELSEWHERE!
Coliseum Cafe & Bar
98 Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman
50100 Kuala Lumpur