[Kuala Lumpur] Malay Favourites at Lokhaba

Lokhaba is a new presence at Bangsar Village, KL’s oldest & best-known dining & drinking precinct. The restaurant’s name is derived from “Hello” and “Apa Khabar?” (Malay: How’re things?).

It’s a pork-less restaurant (to suit Muslim diners) but not halal as alcohol is also served on the premises.

What we tried at lunch:

  1. Chicken satay - the skewers of meat were tender and not as fatty as the usual ones one gets from the street vendors which will incorporate a piece of chicken fat or skin in-between lean meat in order to add succulence. The satay here was okay, but their peanut sauce is excellent.

  2. Cumi-cumi Rangup (crispy turmeric-marinated, crisp-fried squid). These rings of battered, deep-fried squid were a bit greasier than I’d have liked. They’re tender, which is good, and comes with Thai sweet chilli dip.

  3. Fried chicken served with nasi himpit (compressed rice cakes), topped with serondeng (spiced grated coconut).

  4. Nasi Lemak with Ayam Goreng Berempah (a local Malay favourite of coconut-infused rice with turmeric-marinated fried chicken). One of the mainstays of Malay cuisine, and done pretty well here - although one would be tempted to compare it to the version at Madam Kwan’s (which is better).

  5. Vegetarian curry - very tasty combination of eggplant, long beans, tomatoes, tofu puffs, and rich in coconut crème.

  6. Kerutup Daging (Australian beef in spicy dry curry).

  7. Itik Salai Masak Lemak (chargrilled duck breast in spicy-turmeric-coconut milk-lemongrass curry).

  8. Ayam Masak Bali (grilled chicken with spicy Balinese spices), served with ulam kampung and rice. Not sure what’s “Balinese” about this dish - I guess the name evokes a sense of exoticism even among Malaysians.

The desserts were much better than the mains. We just tried a couple and both were pretty good.

  1. Pandan crème brulee. Very richly scented with pandan and with the perfect custardy consistency.

  2. Sago Gula Melaka - rich caramelly-smoky “Gula Melaka” syrup lifted this sago pudding above the average renditions. The coconut milk used was also fresh.

Address
Lokhaba,
6, Jalan Telawi 4
Bangsar Baru
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +60 3-2201 8288
Open daily: 10am-11pm.

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Back to Lokhaba yesterday to try one of their house specialties: claypot lobster and seafood curry, accompanied by white rice, a wedge of crisp cucumber and sprigs of fragrant “ulam raja” ferns.
Love the taste of the curry - perfect in every way. The half lobster, unfortunately, tasted like it was frozen previously. The smaller shrimps and mussels were okay, though. I also liked the tofu puffs in the curry.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold