The next time you’re planning a trip to Mustafa Centre, forgo those naan and curry cravings and try somewhere new for dinner. ROUTE 12 is disguised as your average coffee shop stall, serving above average food along Sam Leong Road.
Inspired by his motorbike riding trips around Malaysia and Thailand, Faz the owner of Route 12 wanted to open a similar roadside coffee shop concept here, serving good street food with a twist.
The vibe is definitely laid back and pretty chill, with road trip memorabilia from his travels hanging from the walls and counters. We came because we’d heard rave reviews about one dish in particular – Nasi Lemak served with a giant deep fried squid.
Even the other diners were recommending this to us as we sat down.
Curious about the actual size of this sotong, we sneaked to the back of the kitchen and caught a glimpse of the hero of the dish. A squid bigger than my face is firstly generously coated in flour and seasoning before being plunged in the deep fryer.
Within minutes, it’s fried to a golden crisp and emerges, ready to be plated.
Behold, the Nasi Lemak Sotong KING ($18). Although recommended as a serving for three to four people, I’d say two very hungry men could polish this bad boy off. The Nasi Lemak also comes served with additional chicken wings and fish, you know, in case the massive squid wasn’t enough.
Served on a bed of pandan rice, the sotong was crunchy and delicious, especially when dipped into the homemade sambal. Nasi Lemak is only as good as the sambal, and this one really hit the spot.
You can also order the Sotong KING ala carte ($8) and choose from original, spicy or pepper salt seasoning.
If (God forbid) you’re not a fan of sotong, other variations of Nasi Lemak are also available like the Nasi Lemak Deluxe Spring Chicken ($15), which ideally serves one to two people. Once again, the seasoning on the chicken was on point and I really don’t think anything could taste bad dipped in that sambal.
Besides the usual coffee shop drinks, ROUTE 12 serves these cute Drink Bags in various flavours. Try the Thai Milk Tea Drink Bag ($3.80), which is massive and will keep you properly hydrated throughout your meal.
With many other interesting Western and Malay dishes on the menu and at very affordable prices, I’m sure I’ll be back for more than just the Nasi Lemak.
Expected Damage: $6 – $10 per person