Two ineluctable facts spring to mind every time I think of roast meat eateries, and that is, 1) there is a huge surfeit of said restaurants in the Klang valley, which leads me to 2) why the hell there are virtually no halal versions for our Muslim brethren, who I imagine must be gagging for some kosher char siew. Opening a halal roasted meats kitchen would seem the obvious canny business response to this gaping dearth in the restaurant industry, especially considering the phenomenal success that Gyuniku — which serves halal Chinese hawker dishes — has enjoyed. But since it’s frequently the simplest ideas that are overlooked, it’s taken the Ng brothers to work it out, and the addition of their Roast Kitchen to KL’s somewhat scant pantheon of pork-free eateries may be overdue, but cause for celebration amongst those who’ve been missing out for way too long.
The good news is that the roast sesame duck, justifiably the star attraction at this minimal but reassuringly clean eatery, is pretty delectable. The skin is suitably crispy, the flesh happily free from gamey insinuations, and because it’s not excessively fatty, gives one carte blanche to consume copious quantities of this halal-certified fowl. ‘But what about the char siew?’ is the question I can almost hear you shriek. Chicken thighs marinated with honey and barbecued make for a satisfactory porcine substitute, although the texture is very much chicken and not nearly as marbled as I’d have liked. Nonetheless it’s a good start, especially considering the chef — erstwhile from the legendary Hong Kong Noodle House in Sungei Wang Plaza — is used to working with pork.
It’s early days yet and you can almost discern the chefs still meandering towards their respective eureka moments when the food turns out exactly as they envision it. For now however, the factors working in Roast Kitchen’s favour are the price points — you can’t beat sang har meen at RM8.80 for supreme bang for your buck — and the more than palatable flavours of such signature dishes as their golden sands beef noodles (subtle, silky, a superb exercise in contrast of textures). I’m putting my money on Roast Kitchen to be a stayer. Fay Khoo
|Venue name:||Roast Kitchen||Contact:|
23 Jalan Wan Kadir 2, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000
|Opening hours:||Daily, 11am-9pm|