The hip, young designer team who owned Wondermilk in Damansara Uptown - Dzurina Dzulkhaini, Ena Hadzir, Haliza Halim, Ifzan Ibrahim, Nurul Hanis and Yati Dzulkhaini - are also behind Little Rimba, their first foray into the affluent neighbourhood of Taman Tun Dr Ismail, fondly known to KL-lites as TTDI.
Kuala Lumpur is a diverse multi-racial city which consists of roughly 45% Chinese-Malaysians, 43% Malay-Malaysians, 6% Indian-Malaysians, plus a sprinkling of other ethnic groups. The TTDI neighbourhood has always been a trendsetter for the Malay market, and businesses target the influential upper-middle class Malay society here - if it succeeds here, it will succeed anywhere else in KL. So, it’s a surprise that it took Wondermilk’s trendy all-Malay team that long to finally drop anchor at TTDI, 18 years after establishing itself in Damansara Uptown.
The new Little Rimba is actually a smaller version of their second outlet after Wondermilk - Rusa + Rimba at Sunway Ginza. It’s got its trademark floor-to-ceiling glass windows, bright breezy decor and traditional Malay foods, some given a small twist.
We opted for its traditional Malay options:
Lontong is a traditional Malay breakfast dish of compressed rice cubes, topped with a milky, coconut- and turmeric-rich vegetable curry. In Singapore, it will also be topped with serondeng (spiced meat floss) - but the version here in KL has kuah kacang, a peanutty concoction similar to dips served with Malaysian satays.
Nasi Lemak Cinta with Ayam Goreng Berempah
The classic nasi lemak combination with sambal chilli, crisp-fried ikan bilis (anchovies) and groundnuts, slivers of fresh cucumber and half a hard-boiled egg. A piece of spiced fried chicken (not traditional, but had gained traction in Malaysia in the past couple of decades) completed this pretty substantial breakfast plate.
Roti Boom with Kari Daging
Roti boom is a mini-sized, ultra-rich version of the Malaysian roti canai, and was purportedly introduced to Malaysia by Naan Corner in Ampang Jaya. Naan Corner owner, Parwiz Kausar, 45, is the self-proclaimed inventor of the roti boom (which, despite its spelling, is pronounced “roti bomb” by locals), and has been offering it for the past 25 years, together with a spread of Pakistani and a myriad of other Malaysian dishes. The version here at Little Rimba was pretty good, but it was the beef curry which was truly amazing - piquant, tasty and very addictive.
The dessert option we had here: the cendol nangka, fared less well - it came across as pretty bland and the shaved ice was not as fine as those from good eateries elsewhere.
The other dessert, Sago Gula Melaka, was fine. Pretty average-tasting, as the palm sugar used itself was not of very good quality.
But I liked the Milo Dinosaur, a chilled malted chocolate drink which I first had back in Singapore, at Katriyya (formerly Thohirah) on Jalan Kayu, many, many moons ago. A rather nostalgic drink concoction, and it more than made up for the disappointing cendol nangka.
Overall, a rather pretty little place. The food is very much hit-and-miss really, whilst the prices are perhaps double what they should be. But then, they are targetting the very affluent upper-middle class Malay market here.
1, Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 7
Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: 7.30am-6.30pm, Tue-Sun. Closed on Mondays.