Fine Malay Food with Farina

The restaurant is one of many trendy cafes, art galleries and boutique hotels which have mushroomed in George Town’s heritage enclave.

Both Nun and Faten have spoken highly about the Malay fare served here.  I was pleasantly surprised to find home cooked dishes prepared healthily and with the flavours of local herbs and spices bursting within.

Kesum Art Restaurant is located in a pre-war shophouse at the intersection of Chulia and Stewart Lane in the city.It’s owner Farina Rosli is a student of architecture, an accomplished cook and artist.

The restaurant offers signature Malay dishes with a Johorean twist like Asam Pedas (I loved every morsel of its fishy version served with fluffy white rice), Laksa Johor, Soto, Lontong, Sambal Goreng, Satay and Mee Rebus Udang.

It was obvious that cooking methods were not compromised and neither were quality ingredients.

The one dish which appears to be a winner is the Botok Botok which is similar to Otak Otak.
Fresh fish is puréed and mixed with thick coconut curry paste before it is steamed to perfection in a host of eight edible leaves (read: herbs).

While I have never been a great fan of the local and healthy ulam (raw herbs), I would definitely order this dish anytime if it’s prepared the Kesum way.

Pieces  by local artists – including Farina’s illustrious family members – are displayed for sale in the restaurant and also at a dedicated gallery in the top level of the two-storey shophouse.

And before you leave, be sure to try the Pulut Hitam dessert made of glutinous black rice and served with fresh milk (instead of the coconut variety) and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. 

*Kesum Art Restaurant is open for lunch daily except Fridays. For enquiries and reservations call: 604-2625757 or text/whatsapp: 60134080593


Weekend Toast & Roast @ E&O

While the Sunday Roast is a traditional British main meal that is typically served on Sunday (hence the name), you can begin your toast & roast at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel (E&O) as early as Friday.

I enjoyed a lovely spot of British culinary culture last week at the hotel’s Farqhuar’s Bar which is reminiscent of an English pub, albeit by-the-sea.

Roasted meats – comprising roast side of succulent beef, slow-cooked and herb infused shoulder lamb along with roast chicken (with sage and onion stuffing) – are the stars of the all-you-want/can-eat Weekend Roast served from noon till 4pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

My particular favourite and protein fix was the beef which melts in the mouth and spells freshness with no traces of frost-bite! 

The carbo-laden goose-fat roast pototatoes are not to be missed even if you choose to skip the Yorkshire Pudding.

Fruits and a just rightly-spiced Bread and Butter Pudding are also served in this spread.

At RM68 nett, the meal which comes with soup, salad, seasonal vegetables and the requisite mushy peas is absolutely value-for-money for those hankering for a taste of Britain and a sampling of a traditional Sunday “dinner” which has proven to be a major influence on food cultures in the English-speaking world.

*The Weekend Roast is not valid with any other of the hotel’s offers or discounts. For enquiries and reservations, call Farqhuar’s Bar (operating hours 11am to midnight daily) on 604-2222000 extension 3177*