Review: The Chow Kit Kitchen & Bar’s New Menu Gives Malaysian Dishes A Twist

“The Modern Malaya” is a five-course menu that hits every Malaysian right in the feels.

Furnished with wood lacquered chairs, marbled countertops with brass trims, and terracotta tiles, The Chow Kit Kitchen & Bar is a swanky spot—inspired by local kopitiams—located in the heart of the city. It was early in the evening as I walked into the dimly-lit restaurant. Welcomed by the clinking of wine glasses and live performers setting up to perform their numbers, we mingled and waited for the dishes to be served, a scene that reminded me of an “open house” over at a friend’s, an occasion we Malaysians are so familiar with. 

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Famously known for serving local delights, The Chow Kit Kitchen & Bar recently unveiled its latest menu, “The Modern Malaya”, one that gives typical Malaysian dishes a contemporary twist. As a starter, Asparagus Pomelo Salad was served—possibly my favourite of the five-course menu. Unlike your usual bowl of “eating for health’s sake” salad, crispy lotus root chips and fried prawns were added for crunchiness. As you go through the salad, pomelo pulps burst in your mouth, balancing out the tanginess of onion slices. No Malaysian feast is complete without a hearty bowl of soup—the Chicken Soto Soup is bliss for thicker soup lovers (although not as creamy as a chowder). Topped with peanuts and freshly shredded chicken, the soup prepped us for the highlights of the night. 

For mains, there were two options: the Ayam Masak Belimbing Hitam and the Crispy Sea Bass Balado. As a seafood fanatic, I picked the sea bass and it’s safe to say it did not disappoint. Under a generous heaping of shredded vegetables, the sea bass fillet was served with nasi bakar wrapped in leaves and signature sambals made in-house—also available in made-to-order jars too! Malaysian cuisine is known for its balance in nutrient intake, so we got to also select between Brussels Sprouts Sambal Ikan Bilis and Asparagus Squid. For someone who can’t handle spices well, I went for the latter. The combination of sea bass and Asparagus Squid was wholesome—dishes with a home-cooked style are always a crowd-pleaser. 

The dessert was a jaw-dropper, especially when Nangka and Crème Brûlée sounded like two flavours that should not be in the dish. Surprisingly, having jackfruit flesh with a rich custard base was not as overwhelming as I’d imagined it will be, especially if you pair it with the right wine. Its meaty texture compliments the soft velvety Crème Brûlée. What a way to end the night.

Make your reservation here.

Address: 1012, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Opening Hours: Daily, 7:00am – 12:00am