Friday, 18 December 2009

Sedap review (revisited) Old Street Malaysian food - still as good as ever and getting quite popular too

Sedap+review+Old+Street+Malaysian+food+London+ChowAddress: 102 Old Street, London EC1V 9AV
Tel: 0207 4900 200
Nearest Tube station: Old Street

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £10 pp
Service charge: N/A
Taste: ****
Service: ***
Ambience: **
Suitable for: small gatherings for people who can't survive without their laksa, chicken rice and beef rendang. Call to reserve if your group is larger than 4…. well, always call in advance

There are restaurants that are good and there are restaurants that remain consistently good. As time goes by things do change - the chefs are replaced, new managements take over, the menu and price change, and after awhile, these changes filter down and it reflects in the quality of food.

Sedap is one of those restaurants that maintains its standards since it first started business at Old Street.

SH, the guy who bought me a return ticket to Dublin earlier, flew into London for a week and we met up at Sedap for dinner a couple of days back. We ordered a Singapore Laksa, Hainanese Chicken Rice and Seafood Char Mee, with Malay Tofu as a starter, and teh tarik to wash it all down.

Sedap was packed. Though I wasn't surprised as there was a lack of decent Malaysian and Singaporean food near Old Street roundabout, what was interesting was that the clientele did not only comprised of people who grow up eating the cuisine and was rather broadbased.

As the food arrived and I began to snap pictures of them, the elderly English gentleman who sat next to our table exclaimed to his partner, "Look, he's taking pictures of every dish!". Upon knowing that I would writing a piece on Sedap, he replied, "Oh, be sure to mention that we love this place and make it a point to drop by at least twice per week!".

There was another table of three sitting near the exit. "When will you be opening a shop at Chelsea?" one of them asked Julie (the lady proprietor of Sedap) as she went by to take their orders. Though Chelsea was a tube ride away from Old Street, it was still quite something to travel across Central London for a restaurant and we were not talking about Yauatcha there.


The Malay Tofu (£3.90) was the Tauhu Goreng (fried tofu) that we were familiar with. The tofu was deep fried just enough such that the surface was crisp while interior remained soft. The oil wasn't recycled otherwise it would be obvious from the taste. The almost sweet curry layered over it went well with the crunchy beansprouts that came with the dish.


I got the feeling that the portion of chicken in Hainanese Chicken Rice (£7) had shrunken a bit. That dish never failed to bring me right back to my childhood when Dad and I would frequent that corner stall, which sold nothing but chicken rice, at Chinatown back home.

Few people realised that the essence of good poached chicken laid in the suppleness of its skin. To prevent its skin from falling apart, it was pertinent to immerse the entire boiled chicken into cold water before chopping it up. Sedap chicken rice, though on the pricey side, was more than palatable with the chilli and dark soy sauce.


There was nothing but praise for the Singapore Laksa (£6.80). Wife who considered herself an authority in laksas exclaimed that it was better than she remembered it to be. She generously spared me some (but not too much). People familiar with laksas would know that the dish could be quite heavy due to huge amount of coconut milk that went into preparing the gravy. Interestingly, Sedap's laksa was relatively lighter in taste. But I though it could do with some sliced vegetables though it wasn't normally added to the dish.


SH didn't mention anything about his Seafood Char Mee (£6.80) probably because we were all too busy with catching up. But he didn't say anything bad about it, and knowing him, that would most likely to be a compliment.

Even though we were pretty filled up, we had to order some Nonya kueh at £2 per portion of three pieces. Till this day, I'm surprised at how the kueh is almost never mentioned on the menu. I mean, people who are new to the cuisine won't come to know of it. It may just be as well because Sedap's kuehs are all handmade and there is a limited supply each day. If the word gets out, there may not be enough to go around.

When it comes to good food, I'm totally selfish.
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Wild Boar said...

*sigh* this place has been on my "to-visit" list for ages. Must really make time to sample it since most people are saying good things.

The London Foodie said...

Great write up! I live just around the corner from Old Street, I will certainly be checking this place out.

How do you think it compares to Rasa Sayang?


Luiz @ The London Foodie

C K said...

@Wild Boar,
Yep, remember to call beforehand to reserve a table as it's getting crowded.

@The London Foodie,
Hmm... I used to frequent Rasa Sayang quite a bit until the service really went downhill and I had some bad experience over there. I now give it a wide berth.

Compared to Rasa, Sedap's food is still a notch below but its service is miles ahead. Since you're just round the corner, why not give it a shot and let me know how you find it? Cheers!

The London Foodie said...

I am finally going there tonight with some mates, so had to re-visit your excellent post. Thanks for the recommendations, I will report back next week.

Luiz @ The London Foodie

C K said...

Just saw your review. Forgot to mention to you how small the beef rendang at Sedap is.

Tom said...

I still can't believe I haven't been here despite having lived in the area for about 5 years now.

I have a yearning for beef rendang though have been reading that the portions of it are pretty small at Sedap - however I suppose that just gives me an excuse to order a couple of dishes...