I found myself back in the capital city of Malaysia for a short getaway with my mother and brother. I'd always wanted to try nasi kerabu, a local rice dish where the rice grains are dyed blue using the natural dye extracted from butterfly-pea flowers. A quick online search led me to Serai (lit. lemongrass), a cosy restaurant at the glamorous Pavilion KL.
I recall that there isn't anything particularly interesting under the list of appetisers, so we went straight to the main courses.
Sang Har Yin Yong RM 19.00 (~S$6.50)
A combination of kway teow (Chinese flat rice noodle) and crispy noodle in thick egg broth, in which the latter turned out to be not-so-crispy right from the start, the dish was decent. I found the prawns to be adequately fresh, and the vegetables weren't overcooked.
Nasi Ambang RM 20.00 (~S$6.85)
Surrounding the white rice in a clockwise direction were assorted side dishes of fried noodle, chili prawns, fried fish, sautéed grated coconut, beef rendang (Malay spicy meat dish), stir-fried vegetables and fried tempe (lit. fermented soya bean cake). The beef was spicy and tender enough for my liking, and so were the prawns that were adequately spicy.
Nasi Kerabu RM 22.00 (~S$7.50)
As for the blue-coloured rice that tasted plain like white rice, it came with ayam percik (Malay grilled marinated chicken), solok lada (Malay dish of chili stuffed with mackerel), salted egg, raw vegetables, sautéed grated coconut and fish crackers. While the chicken was delectably succulent and not overly spicy, the fish crackers were no longer crispy. It was my virgin experience with solok lada, and I have to say that I enjoyed its savoury taste.
Pandan Banana Fritters RM 13.00 (~S$4.45)
To end the meal, we decided to have the banana fritters that had highly crispy, yet delicate flour coating with vanilla ice cream. The menu claims that the batter is infused with pandan, but I could hardly detect the fragrance. Nevertheless, each of the bananas was sweet enough, going well with the aromatic palm sugar.
I wouldn't say that the food was fantastic, but the ambience was relaxing, especially since the restaurant wasn't that crowded when we came at around 8.30pm. Pika's advice: Apart from local dishes, the restaurant also serves Western cuisine. Do check the menu out from their website.
Anyway, I happened to see what I thought to be a cool cubic TV screen near Bukit Bintang monorail station, which I believe wasn't there when I was there a few years ago.
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
Lot 7.01.04, 7/F Pavilion KL
(Daily: 10.00am - 10.00pm)
*Prices quoted are subject to 10% service charge and 6% GST.
Have a nice meal,