27 Feb Labu Sayong Signature Meru
Have you ever seen a restaurant in a heritage Malay House? Stop wondering! Let’s discover more about Restaurant Labu Sayong Signature with us, the M Makan Kaki(s)! May the food be with you. Ha Ha Ha. Labu Sayong Signature was founded by Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP) architecturally based on “Rumah Kutai”, the pre-1900 traditional Malay house synonymous in Perak State, Malaysia. Located a stone’s throw away from the nightlife of Bulatan Amanjaya in Meru Raya, it is a great initiative to promote the silver state’s cuisine and culinary arts. Don’t be confused, this brand has another branch, Labu Sayong Cafe @ Silveritage located at Medan Gopeng which unfortunately, will be moving adjacent to its flagship outlet soon; refocusing from cafe grub to “Malay Seafood” (in another traditional house as well!) but that’s another story….. Speaking to Labu Sayong Signature’s Manager, En. Fiz, they offer more than 50 dishes on the menu where 70% are authentic Perak Malay traditional cuisine with additions that were adapted and simplified from other Malaysian states. Since the restaurant started operating in early August 2017, the response has been very encouraging. It may sound like a novelty, but this house was built 2 years ago before the restaurant moved in. All materials used (timber strips) were originally from an old house at Bota, one of the traditional Malay villages in Perak; with it’s design – normally reserved for the Head Chief’s residence.
As we entered the restaurant, we were amazed by the uniqueness of the “Rumah Kutai” design. It’s a perfect place to unwind and be lost in time. We spent almost 15 minutes taking selfies at every corner of the restaurant, being typical millennials (while waiting for other ‘piranhas’ to arrive, Ha Ha Ha). As the clock strikes 7.30pm, everybody was curiously browsing the menu. En. Fiz approached and informed us that food preparation will take around 20 – 30 minutes since they prepare everything fresh, starting from scratch in the Kitchen, “kampung style” and we were assured that they do not use frozen food. We struggled for 10 minutes wondering what to order (even though we already discussed in advanced), and at last decided on – Ikan Purba Kala Sayong, Asam Pedas Ikan Tenggiri Bunga Kantan, Udang Lemak Asam Payas, Sotong Goreng Madu Rimba, and Daging Salai Masak Lemak (Nyum Nyum). Cause Papa said our budget is only RM300.00 (Kedekut betui!).
While busy chatting, we noticed that our appetizers, Cucur Udang Kak Ros was served. Their rendition will definitely not disappoint as the fritters were not so oily, indistinguishably crunchy elevating our hearts as the freshness of the prawn permeates our palates. The sweet and sour sauce that accompanied will definitely boost your appetite and in a matter of time, you will start clamoring for more. In this case, we had to control our desire and waited patiently for the next delicious thing to arrive.
Cucur Udang Kak Ros (RM10)
The stars of this food review by the M Makan Kaki(s) appeared as we were finishing up our fritters. Ikan Purba Kala Sayong is the main highlight of the meal. Literally translated this dish means ‘Ancient Fish of Sayong’ in English – doesn’t it sound a little like Jurassic Park? Unlike the usual version of Seabass cooked in the“3 rasa style”, which is sweet, sour and salty; we were told that the Seabass is stuffed with 27 local ingredients & herbs accompanied with chilly ginger sauce (the best part is it’s already deboned, but damn, Ancient Fish is Seabass!). The taste was unique as we have never tried this before but melted straight away once placed in the mouth. Could this be haven?
Next up was Asam Pedas Ikan Tenggiri Bunga Kantan. For Asam Pedas lovers, we would strongly encourage you to exclude this from your selection. We were a little disappointed as the gravy had just one overwhelming flavor – sourness. No spicy kick you would expect from the word “Pedas” or “Chili Spiciness”, even though the fish was cooked just right. Anyhow, there’s always room for improvement! There are few things that we agreed on; the Udang Lemak Asam Payas were thick and juicy (tiger prawns), freshly caught from the aquarium (like a high-class restaurant). The aroma of the dish was very tempting and we could not wait to dig in! Loved the use of coconut cream on this.
Sotong Goreng Madu Rimba, is worth a try. Although the portion was quite small (for 2-3 person), the taste will never let you down. Deep fried squids marinated with chickpea flour is a great addition for dinner. Yes, some of us were concerned about oily food, but this time around we didn’t care since the dish was surprisingly crunchy and appeared to be not so oily! The best part, it was wrapped with smooth fried egg (like Laksa Sarang). For squid lovers, try this and you’ll keep wanting more.
Ayam Kicap Manis Halia Muda (RM 20)
Asam Pedas Ikan Tenggiri Bunga Kantan (RM 23)
Sotong Goreng Madu Rimba (RM 28)
Ikan Purba Kala Sayong (RM 60)
Udang Lemak Asam Payas (RM 30)
Here comes the masterpiece (roll the drums). We unanimously agreed that the Daging Salai Masak Lemak was the final contender. The beef was tender, not too chewy and perfectly matched with the creaminess of the coconut milk (can’t stop thinking about the dish until now, drool, drool….). The color of the gravy was appetizing and it took over the title from Udang Lemak Asam Payas. Strongly recommended, it’s a must! Such a heavyweight champion dish!
Even though some of our family members are not pineapple lovers, they didn’t want to miss the chance to try Pajeri Nenas Kampung as previous dishes were delectable. Thick and rich in coconut milk (again!) mixed in curry-based powder, and we would consider it sinful if you miss this dish. For those who like spicy foods, you might want to consider Kerabu Istimewa Dari Chef. We can’t say a lot about this dish since none of us favors Kerabu, as there were just too much bird eye chilies in this dish. In short; there were more chilies than other ingredients and we cowered in fear thinking of the super hot torture our mouths would have to go through…. please give this a miss … like us. (NB. We got sarcastic comments from Papa after coming back as he likes spicy food).
Surprise, surprise! You would think that these were the prima donnas … let’s not forget the rice … initially, we thought our order was wrong! The rice really resembles nasi lemak! OMG! It was soft and sticky. The aroma of the rice was completely irresistible. En. Fiz claimed that usually, their chef will cook the rice with coconut oil to make the taste better. No wonder! There goes our diet!
Pajeri Nenas Kampung (RM 20)
Daging Salai Masak Lemak (RM 22)
Kerabu Istimewa Dari Chef (RM 20)
Enough with the main dishes, now we will be moving on to dessert (growling). Out of curiosity, we decided to order Sira Pisang Berangan Buah Kabung and Serawa Labu Bakar Kelapa Parut. The first dessert was creamy but too sweet with the caramel sauce in it. However, the presentation was pleasant; insta-worthy they said (Ha Ha Ha). We highly recommend you guys to try Serawa Labu Bakar Kelapa Parut, rich in coconut milk and thick sauce! Very seldom people use pumpkin as a dessert but it’s worth to try. The taste is similar to those of sweet potatoes.
And, before we forget, for beverages, we only ordered 3 types: Seri Selasih, Belimbing Buloh and Kedondong Asam Boi. Seri Selasih can be considered as a next level Rose syrup (normally served in Malay Kenduri). Made from rose syrup with Longan fruits, it is mixed with basil seeds and soda water. We are quite disappointed with the Belimbing Buloh juice. We can tell that they were using Belimbing syrup and not freshly squeezed from starfruit reed. Among these beverages, we would like to highlight Kedondong Asam Boi as the taste of the ambarella juice (it was very thick, not sure how many fruits they used to make this, but it was super delicious) is purely refreshing mixed with asam boi (the true taste of fresh juice), perfect for a thirst quencher.
Sira Pisang Berangan Buah Kabung
Serawa Labu Bakar Kelapa Parut
Kedondong Asam Boi, Seri Selasih & Belimbing Buloh
For 9 of us, the damage was RM 307 which is a little more that what we would pay as the portion size was a little small. The portion per dish is usually suitable for 3 – 4 pax. For those who want to experience the taste of true Malay traditional dishes and Labu Sayong Signature Restaurant is recommended place from us. We again reiterate that this restaurant is more suitable for couples or smaller groups; food tastes good in general with great ambiance. And for the restaurant rating? We would give a score of 7/10 due to the portion size for the pricing and shall you go with a larger group, you’ll definitely need to order more. But who are we to complain, Papa was the stingy one with his budgets for our review ……
5, Jalan Meru Bestari A14, 31200 Ipoh.
H/P No: +605 237 5237
Set lunch: 11.30am-2.30pm
Malay afternoon tea: 2.30pm-6pm
NOTE : We do not eat for free, nor were we paid for this review. We ordered and paid for everything that we consume. This review is a general summary from feedback provided by all members of the M Boutique Family who partook in the Food Review.