Songket is a Malay term referring to a type of fabric made from hand-woven silk or cotton, intricately embroidered with gold or silver threads. These metallic threads create a contrast from the delicate background, resulting in a luxurious piece of fabric. Therefore, it goes without saying that in the olden days, Songket was only worn by the Malay royalties during special occasions. Given the rich tradition associated with this piece of exquisite fabric, Songket Restaurant aims to present outstanding authentic Malay cuisine with a modern twist, in the hopes of achieving the effect that songket fabric has on people – intricate and stylish.
Exquisite songket costumes on display
We were at Songket Restaurant one fine evening with a couple of friends, eager to try out the unique dining experience there. The whole place was down-to-earth, not pretentious and very cosy. There was an air-conditioned indoor dining area as well as the alfresco area. We were seated outdoors since we were told that there would be performances taking place in that area.
Our dinner started with the Aneka Pembuka Selera, which is translated to Assorted Appetizers. There was a platter with cucur udang (prawn fritters), popiah goreng (friend spring rolls) , chicken wings and tauhu sumbat (stuffed bean curd).
White Hibiscus cocktail
I found the chicken wings to be well-marinated and nicely fried with a slight crunch on the skin. They were savoury and tender without being oily. The spring rolls were delectable with a generous amount of vegetable stuffing within that went well with the chilli sauce provided.
Aneka Pembuka Selera (RM30)
Of course, in any Malay cuisine, the compulsory Satay (meat skewers) must never be missed out. Our plate came with eight sticks of skewered chicken and beef fillet marinated in spiced honey and apparently, grilled over a charcoal fire. Both the chicken and beef were extremely tender and bursting with flavour, a proof to how well-marinated they were before being grilled. They were so tasty that for the first time, I did not bother dipping the skewer into the peanut sauce provided. Juicy on its own!
My next favourite dish had to be the Ikan Siakap Asam Pedas or Spicy and Sour Seabass. I have had my fair share of spicy and sour fish and I dare say, this was one of the better ones around. The tangy chili and tamarind gravy was simmered long enough to exude a very fragrant aroma that got me salivating even before I ate it. The fish was decently fresh but what I was more attracted to was the spicy and sour gravy. It was so addictive especially with white rice. I have to warn you, ordering this dish might cause you to eat more rice than you intended to.
Ikan Siakap Asam Pedas (RM60)
More gravy please!
One of the signature items from Songket that most people would order is the Rusuk Panggang or Chargrilled Short Ribs, served with potato wedges. These pieces of meat may look black and uninteresting to you, and to me even, but one cut into the meat revealed how tender and well grilled they were. The outer layer was heavily marinated with spicy sweet soya sauce and sambal belacan but the insides were still juicy and tender. If there was to be a dish to represent Songket, this was it. This was definitely intricate.
Rusuk Panggang (RM60)
Insides of the beef short ribs
The Pucuk Paku Goreng or Wild Fern Shoots were fried with shallots, chilli and garlic, topped with several succulent prawns. I never liked pucuk paku but the aroma kept teasing my nose buds and I gave in by taking a bite. And I was hooked! The deadly combination of garlic, shallots and chilli fried to perfection had created a dish that no one could resist. You have to try this for yourself.
Pucuk Paku Goreng (RM15)
The Ayam Lemak Asam Gelugur was a dish of chicken pieces simmered in rich coconut milk, chillies, turmeric, and kafir lime, resulting in a thick and creamy curry gravy that was redolent with spices. This was not very spicy with a hint of sour, although the richness of the coconut milk could be a tad heavy on the stomach. The chicken portion was generous but we were already too full to finish this.
Ayam Lemak Asam Gelugur (RM23)
No matter how full we were though, there was always this secret compartment saved for desserts! We sampled three types of desserts that night: Pandan Pudding – pandan infused cream pudding topped with palm sugar syrup, Mango Cheesecake – cheesecake of mascarpone, cream cheese and mango, and Durian Tiramisu – traditional tiramisu flavoured with durian. The pandan pudding was served cold and refreshing but I thought the Durian Tiramisu was really special with a thick layer of durian cream within the layers.
Pandan Pudding (RM10)
The Mango cheesecake was nothing out of the ordinary and could do with more mangoes within.
Mango Cheesecake (RM15)
Durian Tiramisu (RM15)
In the midst of us enjoying the meal, there was a group of dancers entertaining us with various cultural dances from around Malaysia. Watching the show made me feel like I was a tourist myself. It was rather entertaining and amusing.
And if you’re sporting enough, you’re welcome to dance together with them at the end of the show. Otherwise, a picture would do just fine.
Picture with the dancers
Alfresco dining area of Songket
It was indeed a special dining experience, with components of songket, live entertainment and Malay specialties coming together all in one restaurant. To be honest, being inside the restaurant made me feel like I was miles away from the busy city, when I was actually in the heart of it all. Such was the irony. Couple that with free parking at the compound, we are sure to be back for a revisit.
Songket Restaurant’s bungalow and compound
Songket Restaurant (Halal)
No. 29, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng,
50450 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel No.: +603-2161 3331 / +6012-366 0111
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri (12pm – 3pm & 6pm – 11pm), Sat, Sun & Public Holiday (5pm – 11pm)
GPS Coordinates: 3.162866,101.714482