LC RESTAURANT Kampung Baru is spread over two floors of a building that offers limited parking in its front compound. Inside, the furnishings are utilitarian: black plastic chairs and wooden tables, a cashier’s counter and a food counter displaying platters of dishes. Standard fluorescent lighting and the absence of décor do not make this restaurant a date spot. It functions more as a family restaurant.
A professionally designed menu lists dishes, most of which I’ve already heard of and already eaten. The menu listing is divided into roti, naan & tandoori, signature dishes, breakfast set and nasi kandar.
A few of the unusual items are roti Hong Kong, roti Milo and murtabak sapi. Under the signature dishes, the star is perhaps briyani talam set costing RM200 which consists of several seafood dishes.
Roti naan hot plate set arrives on my table with a sizzle and a gust of aromas. It comprises a blood-coloured chicken drumstick and four triangular pieces of naan accessorized with chicken curry, fish curry and cilantro yogurt dip.
The chicken meat is tender, breaking up easily between my teeth, and erupting with the broad-spectrum flavours of garam masala on my tongue.
There’re the muskiness of turmeric, the tongue-curling tang of tamarind, the woody sweetness of mace and the mild heat of dried chilies, all rolled in one.
The cilantro yogurt dip cries to be scooped into the naan, still warm and soft, and I oblige. The combo is a yin-and-yang adventure of citrusy-cum-sour flavours married with velvety feel of the naan.
Next, I test-drive the chicken curry with the naan. The chicken curry exudes a buzzy light chili heat in the layers of spicing but the latter lack depth and are nearly overwhelmed by the blandness of the naan.
Up next is Mamak mee goreng served straight from the wok. All the standard ingredients are present and I funkify the ensemble with a squirt of lime.
A spoonful of spice-enrobed mee lands in my mouth with a burst of tang and then roars with umami fortified with depth of flavours. The firm squid slices and spongey brown tofu add textural intrigue to the el dente mee. This dish is simple cooking done perfect.
To give the kitchen a second test, I return for lunch and pick nasi biryani jazzed up with cabbage, curried squid and a chicken drumstick. The coloured long-grained rice is light and fluffy and puffs a gentle mix of citrusy, woody and astringent flavours from the famous three Cs of spices: cloves, cinnamon and cardomon.
Slices of cabbage, turned yellow by turmeric, lift the nasi biryani to a higher level of gustatory delight with its pungent and bitter edge. I rip off a piece of the squid.
Its spices are gentle and tangos well with the briny zing of the squid and its silky smooth texture. Finally, the fried chicken drumstick adheres to the classic formula: crispy outside and moist and soft inside.
I test the kitchen’s mettle a final time with plain rice, cabbage, deep-fried baby crabs and curried prawns. The prawn fails as its shell and meat are soft indicating it’s past its prime.
The crunch of the deep-fried baby crabs echoes in my ears and their saltiness bites my tongue but in no way that prompts me to reach for a glass of water.
No. 170, Jalan Raja Abdullah, Kuala Lumpur
HOURS 9am to midnight daily
FOOD Nasi kandar
PICK Nasi biryani, curry squid, fried chicken, fish head
PAY From RM15 to RM200 per dish
MOOD Warm and buzzy
SERVICE Fast, attentive but casual
I SAY… Must try
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