Dining among a totem pole, trees, wooden furniture and an Iban warrior shield. Aneeta Sundararaj wonders if she’s in Borneo
TIRED of the same-old, same-old? Well, in the dense concrete jungle that is the area surrounding Sunway Pyramid, there is a single-storey structure that you just may walk past if not for a semi-circular row of columns. Then, exactly opposite the Sunway Resort Hotel, is the entrance to Borneo Rainforest Bistro.
Why Borneo? It seems ambitious to attempt to create something here that will reflect the rainforest. “Well, Borneo is the third largest island in the world and it has both wildlife and a culture that is unique,” explains its sales marketing manager Fariz Nur Mohammad Ishak.
Indeed, from the moment you enter the Bistro, it becomes clear that every effort has been made to create an ambience reminiscent of the wildlife and nature of Borneo. There are lush trees, wooden furniture, subdued lighting and light fixtures made from modified fish traps called bubu.
With all that, it is impossible not to relax, especially when your table is set next to the relaxing water feature and, literally, under the stars. For those who come with families, there is a play area with a trampoline for children. But if your child’s bedtime is 8pm, it doesn’t make sense to bring them here as it only opens at 6pm daily.
Don’t choose the usual orange juice when it comes to ordering drinks. Instead, try exotic lemon grass ginger tea or the tangy ribena longan. Both are refreshing and whet the appetite.
We’re cautioned against expecting Borneo cuisine. Fariz explains: “The food we offer is thematic. We use the same bases that are available in Borneo, but since we are in the Klang Valley, the food we offer will probably be spicier than what you may get in Borneo.”
The first dish is Laksa Sarawak which is a prawn-based broth served with vermicelli, tiger prawns, eggs and vegetables. Mee Kolok is another speciality where noodles are dressed with sauce and served with braised beef, bean sprouts and bowl of vegetable soup.
If you’re not keen on Asian dishes, you can try the herb-crusted dory fish or a Borneo pizza with a secret topping.
Fariz sums up the dining experience at the Bistro with: “Some people dine in the same places over and over again. Others try different restaurants, but they end up getting the same type of food. Here, you get to taste food from a different culture and cooked using different techniques. It’s something new, something different and adventurous.”
Spot the stars
The Borneo Rainforest Bistro is decorated with indigenous art strategically placed to pique your interest. Keep an eye out for the following:
• Totem pole: Symbol of family in Sarawak.
• An Iban warrior shield.
• A piece of green batik with a lizard or crocodile motif.
• Pok kumbu: A piece of cloth that showcases beautiful weaving form.
• A stuffed toy of a proboscis monkey.