As our good neighbours across the Causeway would attest, this eponymous restaurant (named after 80-year-old matriarch Kwan Swee Lian, with seven outlets in the Malaysian capital) is the very epitome of delicious hawker food with reasonable price tags. Replace ‘reasonable’ with ‘over-the-top’ and it pretty much sums up Madam Kwan’s at VivoCity – the air-conditioned chain’s first overseas venture – in a nutshell. It’s criminal to charge $1 for a glass of water (that it’s free-flow and ‘filtered’ is scant comfort), much less upwards of $15 each for what are basically hawker centre zi char dishes.
On the up-side, service is quick and efficient, the 200-seat restaurant’s décor modern and easy-on-the-eye, and the signature nasi lemak ($13.90) and nasi bojari ($18.90) are seriously good. The nasi bojari, in particular, was a delightful blend of fragrant tri-spiced rice, fork-tender beef rendang, crispy fried chicken leg and a sweet, sour and spicy prawn sambal with crunchy onions.
Also not to be missed is the dessert of fried banana fritters along with vanilla ice-cream and golden syrup ($8.90), but for all that excellent nasi bojari is worth, we’d rather wait till we’re in KL (it’s not that far, anyway) and have our food at less than half the price.
|Venue name:||Madam Kwan’s||Contact:|
1 Harbourfront Walk
|Opening hours:||Daily 11am-10.30pm|