Friday, 27 February 2009

Rasa Sayang London review - Malaysian Singaporean cuisine in London

Rasa+Sayang+reivew+London+Leicester+Square2009 looks like it is going to be a good year for South-East Asian food in London. I am happy to introduce you to another eatery at Leicester Square, Rasa Sayang, which commenced operations in Dec 2008 and which claims to serve both Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine.

It was a cold blustery winter evening on one of the first days of 2009 when my group chanced upon it. I was pleasantly surprised by its minimalist (albeit Ikea inspired) design. Nothing fancy but certainly classier than the usual gaudy design of its Leicester Square neighbours.

A nice touch was the black and white photos of life in Malaysia and Singapore on the walls. One in particular caught our attention. A photo of a man with a bared upper body, his back to the camera, waiting at a metal counter with canned drinks stacked high at the side, and a middle aged woman in the background making drinks. The man is presumably a coffee shop assistant waiting for his customer's drinks to be ready so that he can deliver them to the customer. A common scene that would hardly attract a second glance in the hustle and bustle of every day life in Singapore, but as a snapshot frozen in time, it transported this group of Singaporeans in London back home in an instant.
Malaysia Kopi Tiam - the new darling of Leicester Square
Melati Restaurant - a mix mesh of sort
Rasa+Sayang+London+Leicester+Square+nasi+lemakRecovering from nostalgia, we ordered our food. The mains menu was pretty good, with a wide range to choose from. Our group ordered satay (skewered meat, like kebab), gado gado (a vegetable salad served with a peanut sauce dressing), nasi lemak (coconut rice served with curry chicken and fried peanuts), hokkien mee (back home, it is fried broad yellow noodles in gravy with seafood) and cha kway teow (dry fried broad rice noodles with seafood).

The deserts selection was rather pathetic. Just 3 dishes and hardly the usual suspects. No, they don't have ice kachang or chendol. I am afraid I can't remember they were, only that ondeh ondeh (glutinous balls coated with coconut with a syrup filling) was one of them as that was what we ordered in the end. We were delighted with the drinks menu though as it featured our favourites: milo (malted drink), milo dinosaur (milo but topped with a heap of milo powder), cin-cau (grass jelly drink), cin-cau with soya milk and of course, teh tarik (frothy milk tea)!

Rasa+Sayang+London+Leicester+Square+curry+laksaThe verdict? Overall, we were pretty pleased with the food. At £6 to £7 per dish, the mains cost more than those at the Malaysia Kopitiam, but taste more authentic. My companions were very pleased with their nasi-lemak, the gado-gado and the cha kway teow. A friend was disappointed with his hokkien mee. Instead of yellow noodles, the dish was made up of what looked like udon. Definitely not what he had in mind.

I had the laksa which was not bad, but different from what we had back in Singapore. Singapore laksa consists of rice or yellow noodles in a broth of rich, velvety gravy of coconut milk, spices, dried shrimp and chilli, with toppings of fresh prawns, cockles, and sliced fishcake. The version served at Rasa Sayang would be better described simply as curry noodles and no, there are no cockles.

Rasa+Sayang+London+Leicester+Square+teh+tarikIf you want Singapore laksa, you would be better off making your own with Prima's prepacked laksa mix. The ondeh ondeh is also off the mark. We can't quite figure out why it tastes salty when it should be sweet.

Everyone was happy with their drinks though and their teh tarik was heavenly. At £1.50 per serving, their teh tarik is cheaper than that served at Malaysia Kopitiam, though it must be said that it comes in a smaller glass. The teh tarik was a perfect companion to the curry based dishes which were fiery hot as they should be. If I must choose, I would say that the teh tarik at Rasa Sayang is better than that at the Malaysia Kopitiam.

Re-posted with the permission of the author (original post)

Address: 5 Macclesfield Street, London, W1D 6AY
Tel: 020 7734 1382
Nearest Tube station: Leicester Square

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £12 pp
Service charge: None
Taste: ****
Service: **
Ambience: **
Suitable for: Malaysians and Singaporeans who don't mind the sterile furnishings. Look out for the photos displayed on the walls.

Rasa Sayang on Urbanspoon

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The food here is fine, but the portion is so small. But then, the workers are HORRIBLE. They do not know how to work and serve people, they are so rude when they talk to people. They do not seem to understand English as well, but they still wanna pretend, it is funny to see people in this way. I am very disappointed when they cant even answer people properly. I was JUST asking:" Can I use this voucher from the newspaper? " They told me:" Sorry, U can only use it before u take down the order" I am very surprised as there is no such RULE saying this. Oh ya, they do not serve tap water, which is actually against the rules and regulations in the UK. I am wasting my time to write this because I am very annoyed by them.