UPTOWN NASI LEMAK – The Burly Wolves from Malaysia have landed

Nasi Lemak intrigues me.

I am always in the mood for a good nasi lemak.

My favourite is Ponggol Nasi Lemak in Tanjong Katong for the freshness of their ingredients (their turnover is very high so they are constantly frying and replenishing), the fragrance of their rice and their monster variety.

I also do like the Coconut Club which is widely regarded as the best nasi lemak in the business district, and has a Michelin Bib Gourmand to its name.

I have blogged about Nasi Lemak and it’s origins.

I have cooked nasi lemak for parties many times.

Here are some pics of the nasi lemak dishes I have made in the past:

KL Nasi Lemak

I am in Kuala Lumpur fairly often and do look out for nasi lemak once in a while.

I have of course tried their most famous Nasi Lemak there Village Park Nasi Lemak at Uptown Damansara.

Is it worth the hype? Honestly, I wasn’t paying too much attention when I went there years ago. I think it was quite good and I remember the chicken being very crispy, but I don’t recall specific details.

But I did find it very touristy and despite the shop being rather huge, it was insanely packed.

I’m much happier finding holes in the wall.

For example, I was delighted to find a good nasi lemak in an old forlorn looking Coffeeshop in Jalan Imbi when I was in KL last week.

Just look at the color of that plate of nasi lemak from a little makeshift corner store in that Coffeeshop in Imbi.

Uptown Nasi Lemak

So when I heard that Uptown Nasi Lemak was opened in Singapore by two PJ boys, I was intrigued and went to look at their website.

What they said about taking inspiration from different Nasi Lemak establishments in Uptown Damansara ranging from famous outlets like Village Park Nasi Lemak to those sold from the boots of cars is interesting.

This excellent article also gives a refreshing take on nasi lemaks found in Uptown Damansara when the writer went on a nasi lemak crawl:

http://www.friedchillies.com/articles/detail/damansara-uptown-nasi-lemak-crawl

The Burly Wolves

I was also quite tickled when I saw the images of the two owners and childhood buddies Mervyn Koh and Simon Phun.

Mervyn Koh

” Known to eat six packets of nasi lemak in a single sitting”

Simon Phun

“Eats nasi lemak at any time of the day and prefers spicier sambal”

You know the adage never trust a skinny Chef? Well I saw kindred spirits in that they shared my body type lol.

Be polite and call us Burly and man cave. We have those body types that many men cannot achieve – it is called ” anytime now “threatening to ripple”.

One day the one big pack will divide themselves and line up into 2 neat lines of 3.

And check out the tag lines above found in their website photos. It’s like their secret super-power lol.

I knew I had to make a visit to see these guys.

Their location

Those of you who work in the business district will know that parking is near impossible at Telok Ayer Street during lunchtime.

I circled around 3-4 times and managed to get a parking lot one street away only at about 215 pm.

Their stall is located at a newly renovated Coffeeshop known as Eden Garden Cafe somewhere in the middle along Telok Ayer Street.

It has a green awning and sitting diagonally across the Coffeeshop is a Chinese temple.

Their stall is not big but it is nicely adorned with sleek and modern eye catching signboards.

The Burly Wolves

It was 230 pm and I had missed the lunch hour. Simon told me apologetically that they had run out of rice and was cooking another batch. I indicated I would wait.

This gave me a little time to have a chat with them and they were extremely affable and polite.

They even obligingly posed for me when I asked to take a picture.

They told me they made their own achar and fried their chicken in batches to maintain its crispiness.

I excitedly enquired if they had cockles but was told that they are taking it off their menus as they discovered that cockles in Singapore were exorbitantly priced, unlike in Malaysia.

What a shame. Us Singaporeans are starved of cockles for many years now and our hawkers very rarely offer it.

If they offer cockles, many like minded fellows like me would be a die hard follower just to get cockles nasi lemak. Maybe price it like rendang or even a little higher and leave it on the menu as an option?

I know there are still some cockles distributors and I think one stall in Tekka Market specialise in it. Maybe work out some arrangement to get some please ?

The Food

I think I have found my nasi lemak fix in the city.

The chicken was well marinated and had a crispy skin but the meat was moist and tender. A very delicious piece of chicken.

The Rendang was tender and had an aromatic and distinct overtone of lemongrass. I must confess perhaps the lemongrass was a little too overpowering for me as I like my rendang dark and drier like the Indonesian style. But I think most people will like their rendang.

The achar was very good and I enjoyed it tremendously . And this is coming from someone who is not crazy about achar.

Peanuts and anchovies were crispy and happily complemented the fragrant rice (although I did leave a comment with Simon that they could increase the coconut aroma).

The hard balled egg with no sauce over it frankly was a bit out of place.

I say take it out completely and replace it with some wobbly eggs and a few drops of lime chinchalok dressing.

Even wobbly eggs with a few drops of humble dark soy would work.

And I wanted to talk about their chilli.

It was clear to me it was made with great attention and you can see the sweet onion concoction they came out with. Fragrant, delicious and not your run of the mill chilli.

Kudos to such creativity, attention and passion.

The Future

Everything is already near perfect.

I think if they offered some unusual offerings like cockles, wobbly eggs, maybe okra in some delicious black bean sambal sauce, sone nice home made fish cutlets etc they would be the rock and roll kings of nasi lemak in the city.

I predict it won’t be long before they have to start looking for bigger stand alone premises.

I don’t know if they are on par with Village Park Nasi Lemak in Kuala Lumpur because I frankly can’t remember what Village park taste like now.

But I tell you what – I think my burly wolf brothers are going to give Coconut Club a run for their money.

Uptown Nasi Lemak

Address: 121 Telok Ayer Street, #01-01, Stall #7, Singapore 068590 Singapore

Phone: 9845 3537

Opening Hours: 11am to 2.30pm daily. Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

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