Espying a dish of “lontong kering” on a friend’s Instagram feed had me finding my way to what is a brand new eatery in town – LoKhaba. Hailing from the South, Lontong Kering is not new to me, and is a Malay dish that I often crave but am not able to find.
The Lontong Kering is served with nasi impit, sayur goreng jawa (which makes it unique), sambal ikan bilis and satay sauce. You can opt to have it with chicken rendang/ayam goreng (RM16.90) or with beef rendang (RM18.90). I opted for beef rendang and I wasn’t disappointed.
The beef rendang was very tasty, with tender pieces of beef. The taste of kerisik wasn’t as strong, which is how I prefer it, and while spicy, it wasn’t overwhelmingly so. The sambal ikan bilis is noteworthy, being flavourful albeit not as spicy as I might otherwise prefer.
I must admit that when the plate of Lontong Kering arrived, I was a little taken aback because I felt it to be a little small. You get only about 6 pieces of nasi impit, which to be honest, barely slakes the appetite. Overall, the dish was good and the beef rendang noteworthy, but I felt that a little larger portions wouldn’t go awry for healthier appetites.
That said, it is listed as a breakfast item, so perhaps that’s why the portion isn’t as hearty as I expected it to be. However, as I hail from a town which eats hearty mee rebus and satay for breakfast, I probably have a better appetite than most.
To share, we also had, from the breakfast menu, Lempeng Sambal (RM8.50).
You get 3 thick crepes, dusted with shredded coconut, and served with kaya and a little sambal ikan bilis. I’d never had it before, so it was interesting to have the juxtaposition of sweet and savoury on your tongue at one go. It was good though I’d share this instead of eating it on my own. The kaya was tasty without being too sweet, and that sambal ikan bilis is definitely the star of the dish!
Finally, to round off the meal, we decided to share a Ayam Pot Pie (RM16.90).
It came in a little bowl, that looked more like lasagna than a pie. The minced chicken at the bottom was tasty, and the mash potato and cheese topping was also flavoursome, even if it didn’t look like very much. Visually, I felt it could do with a little more presentation. Perhaps a side of greens? It would go a long way towards pleasing the eye and balancing the richness of the dish, instead of just being a blob of yellow in a bowl.
LoKhaba serves primarily traditional Malay-style food in a cafe atmosphere. There is a bar which serves alcohol as well, although no pork is served on the menu.
I spotted some other interesting dishes on the menu I might want to come by again to try. Prices were average for the type of restaurant and food. However, I personally felt that portion sizes were a little smaller than warranted. I don’t mind paying for good, hearty fare, the way local food is and always should be.
AMBIANCE: Clean and airy with an upmarket feel. The restaurant was cool and bright, with friendly service.
SERVICE: Servers were quick to clear the tables and service was good. However, I was there with a friend who knows the management so perhaps service might reflect that.
TASTE: The food was tasty, without being overly spicy or oily or overwhelming. The sambal ikan bilis is noteworthy as is the beef rendang, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The food is pork-free and quite possibly halal since it serves a large Malay-muslim clientele. However, there is a bar that serves alcohol within the premises for those who would like to partake of a tipple.
PRICE: Prices are average when compared to other cafes and restaurants of a similar ilk. I would say a little pricey, as I feel the portion sizes could be improved on. A little larger portions at similar prices would make it look more reasonable.
Jalan Telawi 4
Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur
(Park in Bangsar Village 2. Lokhaba is located opposite, next to Papparich, the row facing the police booth)
Opening Hours: 10am-10pm
WEBSITE: Lokhaba Facebook
Lokhaba is a new restaurant in the bustling Telawi area of Bangsar, serving up local Malay fare in a modern setting. The food is traditional, with an interesting selection of Malay and local inspired dishes. While tasty, I felt portion sizes to be a little small, but it was interesting enough that I plan to return to try other dishes another day.
TRY THESE: Lontong Kering
NO PORK. ALCOHOL SERVED.