Talk, makan, chill — that’s essentially what a meal is like. I’ve found the perfect place to do this, and it’s at The Malayan Council.
A small cafe located along 71 Bussorah Street, The Malayan Council’s tagline is ‘Talk, makan, chill”. The place is quiet and dimly lit, making for a very cosy environment.
The cafe serves elevated Malay-Western fusion food, so be prepared to pay a little more if you visit.
Start with the mouth-watering Cheesy Kupang ($15) and order some fluffy bread to go with it for an additional $5. This elegant dish features freshly baked mussels sprinkled with herbs and spices, and soaked in a delightful lemon butter and mozzarella sauce.
When this dish arrived at my table, I got a whiff of its wonderful aroma and found myself starting to dribble.
With each plump mussel came a burst of flavour and a medley of texture. Tangy mozzarella cheese provided for a luxuriously creamy sauce, while citrus notes brought fragrance to the dish.
Each bite into the spongy mussel released an avalanche of seafood flavour, accentuated by the savoury sauce.
You’ll want to soak up that luscious cheese sauce with a slice (or multiple slices) of freshly-made bread. The bread is a wondrous creation of fluff and flavour, and I don’t think it’s quite possible to stop at one.
But don’t exhaust your entire appetite on the bread and mussels, even though you might be tempted to. Save some space for the Smoked Duck Lemak Chili Padi ($28).
A harmonious blend of Asian and Western flavours, this pasta dish features linguine tossed with mushroom, cherry tomatoes and arugula in a coconut chilli padi sauce. Presumably, this is a cream sauce with coconut milk instead of cream, topped with smoked duck marinated in unagi sauce.
Lightly coated with the lemak chilli padi sauce, the linguine was creamy and spicy with hints of a pleasant sweetness. Coconut can be cloying if eaten in excess, but there was just the right amount of coconut, providing a very balanced yet complex flavour.
Nicely seared, the smoked duck was a savoury, fatty treat. The unagi sauce lent a gentle sweetness to the duck, counteracting its saltiness.
The best thing about the duck? There was plenty of it. Yes, the dish is a little pricey, but you’re paying for both quality and quantity!
Something that might interest the Singaporean palate more is this Singapore Chilli Lobster ($48). This dish comes with two halves of a lobster and a couple of mussels drenched in a chilli crab-style sauce, as well as six man tous.
The sauce is thicker than most chilli crab-style sauce, and layered with various flavours.
I could detect a strong garlicky tang, amidst a creaminess from the copious amount of egg. There wasn’t much spice, so it’s safe to eat for
weaklings people who are less inclined to eat spicy food.
The lobster was a bit of a chore to eat, but it boasted incredibly fresh and succulent meat. Eat it alone and you’ll be hit with the taste of the ocean.
Dip the lobster in the sauce, and what you’ll get is a wildly delicious combination of seafood flavour and creamy fragrance.
It is a requirement, I repeat, requirement, that you use the man tou to mop up the glorious sauce. Some might even say that it’s better than the lobster itself.
If you don’t want to drop 50 bucks for a single meal, perhaps the Roti Kirai Beef Ribs ($39) will be a better choice. This features a gargantuan slab of beef rib, with enough meat to feed two average eaters.
It is also served with two pieces of roti kirai (Malay lacy pancakes), a spicy dipping sauce, salad on the side, and two quail eggs in sambal chilli.
Cutting into the beef required little effort, it pretty much fell off the bone on its own. However, strangely enough, the beef was a lot tougher than it looked and felt, requiring quite a bit of jaw work. A little disappointing, but nothing that would stop me from eating.
I rather enjoyed the spicy dipping sauce. It was mostly sweet, but also tangy and fiery. It went perfectly well with both the beef and roti kirai, giving each a great flavour boost.
The roti kirai was a little denser than usual, but also chewier in texture. Each piece might look unassumingly small, but they’re surprisingly filling.
For dessert, order the Classic Ondeh-Ondeh Cake ($8.50). You’ll be served a fluffy pandan-flavoured cake, with crispy caramelised gula melaka syrup in between layers topped with coconut shavings. It also comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
This cake captured the essence of ondeh-ondeh, blending the fragrance of pandan and the caramel-like sweetness of gula melaka perfectly together. Of course, you won’t get the same explosion of sugar syrup in your mouth, but satisfaction can still be found in taking a huge bite of the cake along with a little ice cream.
The Malayan Council elevates classic Malay dishes in a way that truly tickled my fancy. It’s rustic, but elegant at the same time.
A little expensive, but the food is assuredly worth the extra bucks. For something a little more unique, visit The Malayan Council for your next romantic date!
Expected damage: $20 – $50 per pax
The Malayan Council: 71 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199484 | Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm (Daily) | Tel: +65 9002 4414 | Facebook
*The Malayan Council has two branches with different menus. This article features the 71 Bussorah Street branch, which the Singapore Chilli Lobster is unique to.