Madam Kwan’s might be a well-known or even famous restaurant in Malaysia serving familiar delights such as Nasi Lemak within Malaysia, but how many people have actually heard of it in Singapore? For people like me, Madam Kwan’s opening in Singapore at Vivocity was an exciting moment as we now no longer have to go to Malaysia to actually try the widely-raved about dishes that are served there.
The restaurant was nearly full but still had a couple of empty seats around when we visited on weekend lunch. The dining area seemed pretty large and well prepared for big crowds, but I guess most of the hype of Madam Kwan’s opening was taken away by Jamie’s Italian, which definitely was the more preferred choice for hungry shoppers there. The colours used in the decor felt pretty grand, but also rather homely with it’s deep Asian roots as well. The specialties here are apparently the Nasi Lemak dishes, which it is known for in Malaysia.
Nasi Lemak comes with Achar, Ikan Billis, Chicken Rendang, Prawn Floss, half an egg and cucumbers. The Nasi Lemak had a moderate coconut taste in it, which was neither underwhelming nor overwhelming. It could still be tasted even with the Chicken Rendang eaten with it. The Chicken Rendang also had the right flavour of curry in it, with just enough spices to make it taste right. The level of spiciness may however be a bit too overpowering for some people. The Achar was fresh, crunchy and juicy and was sour enough without making one cringe. The Prawn Floss was somewhat like our usual Pork Floss but slightly blander in taste. The Ikan Billis, cooked with onions was pretty sweet yet spicy at the same time, which was pretty alluring.
Nasi Bojari comes with a fried chicken drumstick, Beef Rendang and another side. The rice tasted rather similar to turmeric rice and was pretty fragrant, while the Beef Rendang was less spicier than the Chicken Rendang but did not carry a heavy taste of game. The Fried Chicken Drumstick was the star of the Nasi Bojari, which was also available to order as a side. The skin was very crispy and the seasoning made it felt very savoury. This was not my dish, so after grabbing a piece of it I was really dying for more.
(Banana Fritters with Vanilla Ice-Cream)
The Banana Fritters with Vanilla Ice-Cream was a nice dish to end of the meal, which was Goreng Pisang served with ice-cream. The Vanilla Ice-Cream was rather smooth, though it was one of the sweetest I ever had. It went well with the Banana Fritters, which was drizzled in a small amount of caramel to add a bit of sweetness. The Banana Fritters had a tempura-like skin which was very crispy and light, and the banana was pretty soft, fresh and sweet as well.
While the food here are generally decent, I would personally refrain from ordering certain dishes here. The Nasi Bojari was decent, but I found that the price tag of $18.90 was pretty high for it. Same goes for the Otak-Otak which costs $15.50. A similarly sized one would have probably costs 5 times less outside. The service here was also questionable, as many of the staff actually bore rather stoned faces when serving, and a “thank you” from the patrons do not seem to brighten their day. I was pretty glad that there was one waitress that day who was very attentive and bore a positive attitude on her job, which was a big relief from what we got from the other staff. There also seemed to be a lack of system going on in the kitchen; the staff told us to put in our dessert order only after we have finished with the main courses because it would cause a mess with the kitchen staff. Maybe some training or system should be in place in order for them to run more systematically? Hopefully things would improve over time when I make my second visit there.
1 Harbourfront Walk