The newly-opened Nyonya Roots in Lucky Gardens was a pleasant surprise this evening for me - ran into it just as I was hankering for some authentic Penang food, but without having to fly an hour north from KL to Georgetown, Penang.
What we had this evening:
- Kueh Pie-tee: crisp pastry cups filled with stir-fried shredded jicama & shrimps, with golden-fried shallots. The minced chili-vinegar sauce is essential to add a spike of flavors to these dainty Nyonya hors d'oeuvre s;
- Penang otak-otak - the soft spicy mousse contained chunks of fish, with 'daun kadok' (wild betel leaves) providing its characteristic scent. The one we had this evening was a tad over-steamed and dry-ish in parts, but otherwise quite authentic in flavor.
- Chicken curry Kapitan - one of Penang Nyonya cuisine's trademark dishes, done pretty well here, though I wished they'd use more kaffir lime leaves & lemongrass for more assertive smell & flavor. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable.
- Jiu hu char: very freshly-cooked version here - shredded jicama, mushrooms, carrots & shallots. Not sure whether chicken stock was used in flavoring this dish. The traditional versions I'd had in Penang would contain pork, dried cuttlefish and shrimps - all of which were not evident here. I think the restaurant also strived to be 'halal' or at least pork-less to cater to potential Muslim customers. I liked the fresh crunch from the shredded jicama, which was also naturally sweet, but the dish lacked the 'Nyonya' flavors (where Nyonya 5-spice would be used) I was looking for.
Dessert: Chendol with stewed red beans - not exactly the best version in town. The traditional kopi-c (local coffee with evaporated milk) was nice but pretty expensive by local standards (RM4) in a cafe setting.
25 & 25A Lorong Ara Kiri 1
Lucky Garden, Bangsar
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-2201 2307