Nasi goreng petai can be improved
Mee ketam is a burst of spicy tang
Sharwarma chicken is stuffed inside rolls of flatbread

Bukit Dinding Coconut Cafe serves various types of coconut shakes and local fare, writes

LEANING forward in my chair, I open the menu on the table and scan the listings. Under premium coconut shake, six flavours are available: Durian, kiwi, rosebuds, honey, Hershey’s and CoCoNaNa. Slightly cheaper are the regular coconut shakes, and they include original, strawberry, mango, passion fruit, lime, yogurt and pandan flavours.

There are also regular coconut juice and special coconut juice. The latter is mixed with a choice of lemon, honey, lychee, selasih (chia seeds) or sirap bandung. The menu ends with 15 items of food which are divided into nasi goreng, noodles, pasta and grills.

“Sir, for food, I recommend you try our sharwarma chicken!” says the supervisor, and he elaborates on the dish. I’m impressed with this level of service as Bukit Dinding Coconut is a low-profile cafe in suburban Kuala Lumpur. Upon enquiry, the supervisor, a foreigner, tells me his name is Mohammad Joshin.

I order my food and study my environs. Bright lighting coupled with metal chairs make this spot suitable for quick meals rather than for lingering. Colours clash (red, black and green) but there is a sprauncy feel, though it’s a little chintzy around the edges.

To one side of the hall is a half-open kitchen in the rear and in the front stands a counter where the coconut shakes are prepared. Shelves on one wall display old tiffin carriers and bric-a-brac.

THEN COMES THE FOOD

Sharwarma chicken is presented as two rolls of flatbread bulked up with fillings, and sliced into three pieces each. A piece turns into a set of different textures as my teeth first cut through the spongey flatbread, then find crunchy veggies before finally hitting the slivers of meat. What stands out are funky heat and smokiness from the meat.

Up next is mee ketam. It looks glorious and tastes glorious. The gravy-slicked noodles boast layers of spicy flavours and finishes with a grand chilli lift. The crab meat is soft and marine-sweet and smells of the sea. The handful of scallions plays its role well by delivering sparky jolts against the spices.

From that climax, my meal continues to soar with coconut ice-cream. It’s a thrilling play of opposites as the crunch of the toppings blends with the smoothness of the ice-cream. Its coconuty flavour dances a slick waltz with my taste buds, enough to have a soothing and calming effect on me. Finally, coconut shake concludes my meal, and I’m sent to coconut paradise!

I come back for a second test run and kick off with grilled chicken. Served on an ivory white plate, it comprises a piece of chicken with itsy-bitsy charred exterior, coleslaw, skin-on potato, mushroom sauce and sprigs of coriander.

The chicken reeks of pleasant sweet smokiness, and its fibres have abandoned the desire to cling to each other. The mushroom sauce has depth of flavour and lubricates the bird well. The skin-on potato is terrific with a firm bite and earthy top notes, while the coleslaw boasts the right balance of tang and sweetness. In a nutshell, all elements of this dish are perfect.

I continue with nasi goreng petai. A hillock of the rice is topped with sautéed shallots and garnished with petai, prawn and egg. The white rice is perfectly cooked but the kitchen’s light hand at seasoning during frying has rendered this dish underwhelming.

The blast of spices that comes from a good nasi goreng is a touch limp in this dish. Though hampered by insipid spicing, the petai fights valiantly but, unfortunately, whimper and die.

MY VERDICT

Matcha green tea and blue mountain shake are scrawled on a blackboard as the latest drinks available today. The matcha green tea tastes as green as it looks, yet there is a mild savouriness that makes me lick my lips.

When I pay my bill at the counter, I ask the cashier the rationale behind the cafe’s name. She points in a certain direction and says, “That’s Bukit Dinding, over there!” As I walk away, I silently crown this café as the “King of Coconut Shakes in KL.”

FAST FACTS

WHERE

Bukit Dinding Coconut Cafe

Address: No. 9, Jalan Wangsa Delima 5

Tel: 019-251 5625

Website: https://www.facebook.com/BDC-Cafe-The-Coconut-Hut-274622442708833/

HOURS 11am-10pm daily, except Monday

FOOD Coconut shakes and local fare

PICK Grilled chicken, mee ketam, sharwarma chicken, coconut ice cream

PAY RM7 to RM18 per dish; RM7 and above for coconut shakes

MOOD Cheery and casual

SERVICE The holy trinity of fast, friendly and welcoming

I SAY…Must try

Pictures by Ewe Paik Leong

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