There’s something to say about Malaysian food in London: there just isn’t enough of the good stuff. Even the Evening Standard’s showcase of London’s Best Malaysian Restaurants is a little embarrassing. I mean, there’s stuff, sometimes there’s a lot of it, but it isn’t any good.
And then you get places like Sedap. The food is good stuff, but the portion sizes! Or lack of rather. There just simply isn’t enough of it.
It’d been a while since the tweat-up crew had caught up for dinner. We’d all been running around the world, pretend-globetrotters that we are, and right in between me coming back from Hong Kong and Mark taking off for NYC, we snuck in a dinner at Sedap, somewhere we’d all never been but had all heard wonderful things about.
We ordered roti with chicken curry for starters and while the taste of the curry was spot on, I was a little shell-shocked by the actual roti. Firstly, it was quite thick – not thin, airy and flaky like traditional tossed roti (in fact it doesn’t look tossed at all, more like rolled), but what shocked me more was the price (and ok, I’m cheap but not that cheap).
One serve of roti with chicken curry is £4.80 and comes with a teeny tiny bowl of curry, including one piece of chicken meat and one slice of roti. Additional slices of roti cost £2 each. I mean really. £2??? It’s flour FFS and you don’t even toss the thing properly!
Anyway, starters were somewhat saved by the spicy kerabu prawn salad, which was recommended to me by the wondrousness of the twitterati. This dish was fantastic – fresh prawns tossed in a cucumber and mango salad, dressed with lime, herbs and chilli.
We ordered a selection of other mains such as sambal okra (top photo), beef rendang, sambal fish, char kuey teow, lamb curry and sambal brinjal. Yes there is a sambal theme but (a) we all love it and (b) it’s one of the best Malaysian flavours!
I loved the sambal okra and brinjal (or eggplant or aubergine for those of you playing at home) and wanted to love the sambal fish too but the fish was a little too dry. My favourite of all of my mum’s dishes is fish curry with okra and eggplant, and though it’s curry based, not sambal, the flavours of my mum’s sour Malaysian curry is very similar to sambal and ah, these dishes just brought back a touch of homesickness.
The curries were good too, although in my opinion, not nearly spicy enough. Beef was tender (and so it should be as rendang is a slow cooked curry dish) as was the lamb… mostly.
Char kuey teow is one way to compare Malaysian restaurants as they all have this dish and it’s probably Malaysia’s unofficial poster child hawker dish (well, at least up there along side nasi lemak). Sedap‘s attempt gives everyone else a good run for their money, with the inclusion of prawns which is pretty standard and lup cheong (dried Chinese sausage) which is not so standard and oh so yummy! I’m yet to find someone who cooks theirs with clams, the way they do back home.
Desserts at Sedap were really good. Being a Nyonya house, they only offer home made nyonya kueh (traditional Malaysian cakes) at £2 for three pieces. They had two types of kueh the night we went and we tried them both ~ one was coconutty and sweet, the other was salted glutinous rice with layers of pandan jelly WHICH WAS DELICIOUS.
Anyway. The quality of the mains at Sedap were pretty good but portion size. Well.. more like lack of. We were all pretty surprised at the tiny little (literally small bread-plate sized) plates the food was served on and plain and simply there just wasn’t enough. Granted each main ranged from £6-£8, it’s not expensive but without naming names (oh ok, say at Kiasu), you’d get quality food and more of it for the same price.
I keep trying to find good Malaysian places when really, I should just stick to what I know. Speaking of which, we went to Awana for dinner last night and *urgh*. Highly unrecommended but that rant is for another post…
102 Old Street
London, EC1V 9AY
0207 490 0200