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Since the much-heralded arrival of Ippudo and Santouka in the past year or so, choosing a place to dine at Pavilion KL has been a straightforward tossup between the two ramen juggernauts. The other usual suspects – Al-Amar, Kampachi, Bulgogi Brothers and Din Tai Fung – are worthy contenders as well, but in terms of good ol’ Malaysian cuisine, decent choices are few and far between.
Enter Grandmama’s – the underdog’s answer to Madam Kwan’s that also features a predominantly Asian/Malaysian menu. For all its offbeat granny-on- a-Harley promotional material, Grandmama’s humdrum interior seemed tame and insipid at first glance. Not one for Instagram, one would imagine. The fact that our unhelpful waitress had problems stringing together a sentence worth of recommendations didn’t exactly send our pulses racing ahead of dinner either.
Our pessimism was swiftly abated when we caught sight of Grandmama’s signature fish fillet curry hot pot. Ideal for sharing, the fragrant, thick and satisfyingly piquant curry with generous amounts of tofu pok, vegetable and fish fillet was comfort food at its finest. Having gleefully lapped up the entire hot pot, we then moved on to nasi lemak istimewa (replete with a fried egg, large deep fried drumstick, acar and daging empal) and fish head noodles. Simple and heartwarming, the fluffy nasi lemak and its liberal amount of side dishes, alongside the milky and tangy fish head noodles, were reminiscent of old school home cooking.
Like Madam Kwan’s, however, Grandmama’s above average local fare comes with a caveat – the price. Despite the punchy flavours and commendable execution, the four-year-old outlet’s special nasi lemak and fish head noodles are nearly indistinguishable from their more reasonably priced peers at the many Malay warungs and Chinese hawker stalls across the city. Sure, you could do a lot worse than feast on the supremely tantalising fish fillet curry hot pot, but because of its location in Pavilion, you are paying for convenience and comfort, which is not a bad thing – if you’re already there.
Level 6, Pavilion, 168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
|Opening hours:||Daily, 10am-10pm|