This restaurant has been on my list for the longest time and I finally had the chance to dine in a few months back. TLDR: It’s the perfect spot in Chinatown for gatherings and dinners.
They’ve transformed an old ‘Mah Lian’ hotel into a hip dining spot whilst still maintaining its heritage front. There is hardly a sign for the restaurant, best to keep your eyes peeled for Mah Lian Hotel instead.
I visited this spot on a weekday evening and it was packed. Given the space of the restaurant itself is quite limited, its recommended to book ahead of time.
Starting with a drink first. I ordered their Bunga Raya cocktail which was recommended by the waiter when I asked for something sweet and refreshing. Personally, the alcohol in this cocktail is quite strong and not watered down which most places serve and I love it!!
From their starter menu, I tried the coconut bread and smoked mackerel pate. The coconut bread was so good, my friends and I ordered another serving. It comes with a coconut oil / dip, which is quite strong and might put some people off if you’re not used to coconut.
As for the smoked mackerel pate, it is served with brinjal thins. It has slight fishy taste to it but if you’re not sensitive to a fishy taste, you’ll love it.
Next is the big fin squid. Contrary to its name, it is very very small portion lol. I don’t recommending having this as mains, you’ll never be full.
It’s served in this citrus and refreshing lime-like soup which I love but had some mixed reviews from friends around the table. It boils down if you like citrus-lime taste.
This is their marinated duck. It would probably the most value-for-money option on the menu as the serving is pretty generous (compared to every other). I love love the soft texture, not too chewy and flavorful.
Finally some carbs, here’s their version of a prawn noodle. It more like a rendition of a chili pan mee with diced prawns substituting minced pork. Taste wise, it was good but not mind-blowing. But what bothered me more was presence of 0 vegetables in this dish. I felt that was a constant element left out in every other dish as well.
Generally a super nice and fun restaurant to try out with people whom are F&B adventurous. It might be a slight mismatch if you’re looking for regular Western / Asian inspired dishes.