Wednesday, October 30, 2019

SPG by Bijan

To me, one of the most exciting restaurants that have opened of late, is SPG by Bijan.  Okay, I might be biased, because I had SUCH a good time at the media launch.  Also, the lovely trio, a bevy of SPG like girls (maybe in their heyday, with a lot of imagination) are my dear friends.  But hey, there's no sin in being partial to a place just because it's owned by friends.

To those born before a certain era, they might not be familiar with the term SPG, Sarong Party Girl, typically long black haired leggy single ladies who love sidling up to Caucasian men.  In fact, a whole comic book was popularized in the neighbouring republic across the causeway, where presumably it was even more predominant.

However, this clever play on words in this context, stands for Sarong Party Grill.  Already images of parties being held there in traditional costumes permeate my mind.

The bright cheery decor looks spectacularly colorful in the day time, albeit a little girly for me,

But no matter how beautiful a place is, to me, the MOST important thing would be the food, and drink.  To me, a shack with great food trumps palatial settings with bad food.

Anyway, it was a lovely afternoon, and we were honored to have a specially curated degustation menu for sampling.

The welcome cocktail was love at first sight.  The Stinkitini, using Petai as a garnish instead of an Olive.  Obviously it won't be everyone's cup of Ti-ni...  but I loved it.  Inspired, if you ask me.  But that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Cocojito.  If I have to explain it, clearly your knowledge of cocktails needs brushing up.  A marriage in heaven of the Mojito and Coconut.  In the background, chips called Fries Celup.  

Now, these might seem like ordinary crackers but the black one, a squid ink sago cracker, was truly something different and I hope they package it to sell.  The bitter kerepek, whilst more common, was still a wonderful starter that paired well with the cocktails, together with the lovely sambals.  Perhaps not ideal for the Trypophobic.

Yellow fever, basically Tumeric addition to an embellished gin and tonic.  Given the healing detoxing qualities of tumeric, would I dare imagine that this Yellow Fever is actually good for you?

Asam pedas, containing the dreaded tequila, triple sec and tamarind juice, which was actually very nice.  The winner is the spicy sugar that lines the rim of the glass.

The talented mixologists at work....

This Ah Ran Sini, a play on Arancini, is stuffed fritters with nasi lemak, can you believe it!  Pretty unique and pretty good with a Stinkitini.

Grilled Calamari. okay, nothing particularly evocative about this, it's grilled calamari with a nice sambal.

Pais Barramundi, which I thought was rather unique.  Grilled parcels of barramundi with banana leather, turmeric, spices and coconut.

Whilst this Kedondong Calamansi was originally served as a mocktail, I asked for some Rum to be added and WOW, I hope they turn it into a cocktail with my suggestion.  Kedondong is Ambara in some chinese dialect, and Ambara Sheen Mui is a common drink in Penang kopitiams.  So why not AMBARUMMM it?

The very shy Chef Raziz, who hails from Sekinchan I believe, who came up with a lot of the inspired dishes.  

Ayam Limau Purut and Roti Jala Tiffin.  The photo doesn't do the tiffin justice, cos it's tiny tiffins that are just sooooo cute, which Lissa lugged back from Chatuchak apparently.

Now this Jackfruit Rendang Bao caused quite a stir, because a diner who shall not be named was recently served the most awful bland Jackfruit curry in an unnamed fine dining establishment in Bangkok.  The conclusion was, THIS IS HOW YOU COOK JACKFRUIT.  And I agree, another inspired dish.  Of course using mantao was also a brilliant idea.

I love tongue, so this Lidah and Sambal, tender braised ox tongue,...was sooo good.

Duck Skewers, Marinated Duck Leg served with Sambal Hijau.... Such a pretty dish if you ask me.

 Chicken Kicap Skewers, marinated in a ginger soy sauce.  

Angus oyster blade served with sambal hitam, sambal hijau and sambal merah.  The sambals were really extraordinary, which I'm glad, for all intents and purposes, Bijan serves Malay food, and sambal is really one of the cornerstones of the cuisine.  So heck, luckily it's done well.

Grilled Lamb Loin with the same three sambals.

And the award for MY favourite dish of the meal, and mind you, this came at the end, when marginal utility is close to zero, has to be this AMAZING NASI SEKINCHAN, tricolour rice, and quinoa (WITH QUINOA some more, and yet it made it to my favourite), pulled chicken, asian pesto , rice crackers and ....drum roll, crispy chicken skin.....

Pays to know the owners, we had EXTRA chicken skin which was finished faster that you can say CLUCK.

An amazing combination of textures and flavours, I really can't wait to have this nasi sekinchan again.  Amazingly light, even those party pooper Keto Kakis  yielded and admitted it was fantastic.

For dessert, this Banana Over bananas (Homemade banana ice cream with smokey caramelized banana and dehydrated banana cone) and Pulut Mango cake, a chilled mango mousse, fresh mango and coconut glutinous rice .  Both a fabulous end to a fabulous meal.

Finally, a cocktail I noticed in their menu but have not tried, but feel had to be included in this write up so I would remember, is THE ROSE CHAN.  Talk about a name from the past.   I simply love the creative nomenclature assigned to these drinks.

Anyway, SPG by Bijan has so much to offer, by way of tapas, grills, more starters, Mocktails (which I didn't bother mentioning as it's wasted calories to me), and fabulous cocktails.  As of time of writing, I am not sure if they have priced their items, but if Bijan next door is any yardstick, it should be fairly reasonable for the quality you're getting in a lovely atmosphere.

I can't wait to return.

Lunch menu is available daily from 12 – 4pm.
SPG by Bijan
No.3A Jalan Ceylon, Kuala Lumpur 50200, Malaysia
Tel: 03 2022 3575
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 12.00pm-12.00am

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