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