A friend from the States came and lamented that he could not find good Singapore/Malaysian food in the city that he was staying in. I decided to be kind and brought him to Puji Puji. Puji Puji is tucked away in a remote corner of Islington. For those of you who have been to Oriental City at Colindale, it is the reincarnation of the Satay stall in the carpark that served marvelous satay (skewered meat) grilled over charcoal fire and the most most authentic teh tarik in the whole of London.
Well, for starters what else could we have ordered other than satay? Chicken, lamb and beef satay, we ordered them all. At 6-7 pounds per portion, there's still a huge charcoal stove right in the middle of the restaurant and the satay will be barbecued right on the spot. A ventilator is in place to suck up the fumes but the aroma of barbecue meat still lingers. So if what you are looking for is a romantic night out, you might wish to stay away.
That aside (and since I am not on a romantic night out), the barbecue meat was done just right, the satay was absolutely delicious, slightly burnt on the outside and tender on the inside. Couple that with the crunchy peanut sauce, ketupat (square bits of rice) that makes for the best satay that I have eaten for a while (and yes, that beats the one served on Singapore Day).
For mains, we order a variety of dishes. nasi lemak - £4 (fragrant coconut rice), mee goreng - £7.50 (toss fried noodles), curry chicken - £6.50 and ikan bakar air asam - £7.50 (grilled fish). The mee goreng was served the Malaysian style, which is unlike the Singaporean version that is doused in tomato sauce. This was fried in dark sauce but it tasted heavenly nevertheless. The nasi lemak reminds me of the version that you could get back home for breakfast. A simple dish made delightful by the sweet accompanying chili. As nasi lemak was served with no meat, The grilled fish served as a good accompanying dish. But beware as it comes with bones. The curry was a letdown though. The portion was really small, barely enough for one person, definitely not enough for sharing and was runny to boot instead of the milky consistency expected of it.
We were full at the time but decided to go for desserts nevertheless. The banana fritters with vanilla ice-cream were a real threat. The pulut hitam (black pudding rice) was a slight disappointment as it was undercooked. We were really gluttons and we ordered teh tarik to round it up. Teh tarik tasted just as it was at Oriental City. Thick and foamy. If for nothing else, I will just go there for the teh tarik alone.
Verdict from my friend from the States: the best Malaysian food that he has eaten in awhile. Point to note, they do not accept credit/debit cards. So do remember to bring along your cash.
Address: 122 Balls Pond Road, Islington, London, N1 4AE
Tel: 07501 721 106
Nearest Tube station: Dalstan Kingsland / Canonbury (app. 400m walking distance from both stations)
Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £15 pp
Service charge: N/A
Suitable for: no frills dinner with your mates
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