From the restaurant group that brought us popular eateries the likes of Peruvian-inspired Uma Nota and Middle Eastern BEDU comes a brand-new concept centred around the vibrant flavours of Malaysia. JALAN, which literally means “street” in Malay, is a celebration of street-food culture and pays homage to the diversity of the food stalls, coffee shops and night markets that weave the fabric of Malaysian cuisine. The menu is packed with a variety of flavours from Chinese, Indian and Malay origins.
Meraki Hospitality Group Executive Chef Corey Riches, who also oversees BEDU, worked closely with JALAN Head Chef Saumitra Suryavanshi on the menu, with the latter adding a dash of his Indian heritage to the dishes.
Our tasting started with icy-cold glasses of Heart of Pisco ($95), a concoction of Melonade, kumquat and lime stirred with Peruvian brandy. The drink was on the sweet side for us, but the ice did help to dilute it a bit.
To liven up our palate, we dipped into the classic rojak salad ($70) with grilled pineapple, pickled carrot, peanuts and cucumber. This was a great little crunchy number to have alongside our cocktails.
The charred hamachi ($140) drizzled with kokum dressing and green sambal was a tad overcooked for our liking, and we wished the richness of the sauce had been punctuated with contrasting flavours.
The beef rendang samosa ($90) was a delicious play on Indian and Malaysian flavours, with the rich, vibrantly spiced coconut beef stew wrapped in hot, crisp pastry shells. The sweet dipping sauce was also highly addictive.
Shortened to “LFC’’ for laksa fried chicken ($135), this dish arrived as a piping-hot tower of fried indulgence. Fat cubes of chicken thighs are marinated in Peranakan coconut curry paste before being deep-fried and drizzled with more laksa sauce, then tossed with fragrant red onion slices and heaps of coriander. This is a delicious (and dangerously easy) way to eat fried chicken – all the juicy meat is boneless and effortlessly easy to wolf down.
The whole baked fish of the day (market price) was a snapper rubbed with red sambal, wrapped in banana leaves. The banana leaves added a caramel-like smokiness to the tender fish.
The coconut roasted prawn curry ($195) with green chilli and turmeric came in a branded fresh young coconut. Paired with creamy coconut rice, it was very easy to scrape off every drop of the curry. The slivers of young coconut flesh inside the curry added textural contrast to the plump prawns.
We missed out on dessert, but we will be back to try the pandan custard doughnuts ($80)!
JALAN offers a hip, refreshing take on Malaysian cuisine. We like the upbeat, communal vibe and the quirky cocktail list. It’s a great venue for a fun gathering with friends, but it might be a bit crowded and loud for a quiet tête-à-tête.
42 Peel Street, SoHo, Central, 2386 2216 (no bookings)
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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