What’s the best place to feature a beautiful twist to traditional Malay cuisine and make it looks as though the food was sent from heaven? Yes, that’s right, located a mere stone’s throw away from KLCC and Bukit Bintang, Bijan is the ultimate destination for fine Malay cuisine.
Established in 2003, Bijan is the pioneer of refined Malay dining. Not to be mistaken for “fine dining”, at Bijan they are pairing wines and marrying traditional recipes with modern day ingredients to create a total dining experience for the modern Malaysian. It is an oasis where you can unwind with a cool glass of wine while the food remains deliciously and unmistakably Malay.
Bijan started out with three local Malaysian Chinese women who always found it difficult to bring their foreign friends to proper Malay food and so they decided to take the matter into their own hands. Together with their passion for unveiling the beautiful Malay cuisine that they all grew to love, Bijan has been running steadily now.
When we first started, being a non-Malay running a Malay restaurant requires us to seek help from our friend and celebrity chef, Chef Rohani Jelani to be our consultant and thus, our first menu in Bijan was conceived” Selena Mak, Marketing Manager for Bijan Bar & Restaurant
The owners themselves have taken measure in making sure they are well-informed and have done their research into Malay cuisine and works closely with chefs. They’ve accomplished food trips just to get an idea and understanding of their recipes and over the years, became more daring into infusing new things into the dishes.
And it paid off well too! Bijan restaurant won Best Malay Restaurant in 2004, just a year after they opened. Bijan received the title voted “Best Malay Restaurant” by the general public in Timeout KL Food Awards consecutively from 2009 till 2013. Recently they have also been shortlisted as the top 5 restaurants in the “Best Independent Restaurants” category by T Dining Food Awards 2017 under Malaysian Tatler Best Restaurants Guide, The Lonely Planet Guide to Malaysia, and The Miele Guide’s Top 500 Restaurants in the Asia Pacific, to just name a few.
To begin, let’s look at the glorious Malay cuisine food that surprised us by how delicious it was.
Aneka Pembuka Selera, RM39
Which means various appetizers, this dish brings back gold old memories of snacking on authentic Malay food during tea time. You have a selection of Bijan’s starters; cucur udang, popiah goreng, daging bungkus kukus and pegedil. One of my favourites here was the daging bungkuk kukus as steamed minced meats that are packed with herbs and coconut gravy just bring the flavours to a delicious and light meal. Make sure you try the crispy popiah goreng and dip it into Bijan’s signature’s chilli sauce too.
Ayam Kampung Limau Purut, RM45
This is a free-range village chicken simmered in a spicy gravy of chillies, turmeric, kaffir lime & coconut milk. The thickness of the gravy balanced excellently and the village chicken which has a harder texture than the normal breed of chicken is tasty in this dish with more refined ingredients in it.
Opor Rusuk, RM 88
Regarded as one the customers favourite dish in Bijan, the Opor Rusuk is essentially a beautiful Australian beef rib which a slow-cooked in a thick gravy of aromatic spices, toasted coconut, adding palm sugar and coconut milk for an uplift of a creamier effect to the dish. As the beef ribs are slow-cooked to perfection, the spices really do infuse in thoroughly, making the meat falls of its bones. Oh, what a stunning cuisine it was.
Sotong Hitam Manis RM 48
Though many may not agree with the presentation of the dish as its a squid cooked with chilli paste, lemongrass and smothered all over with black squid ink, it surprisingly shook us all with its flavours. The sweetness and the easy chewing of the squid make it a simple and easy-going dish for all. Just don’t be fooled by the colour of the dish and trust me, just eat it. You won’t regret!
Masak Lemak Ikan Kurau dengan Pisang Kapas, RM 58
Ikan kurau is essentially a threadfin fish which has a milder and chewy texture. Also perfect for fish porridges too. As for Bijan’s take on Ikan Kurau, they implement the signature Malay dish of masak lemak with lightly spiced coconut milk in threadfin fillets so you don’t need to experience having fish bones in your dish while eating. With the young banana(pisang kapas) into the mix, it makes the dish a special and flavourful one.
Pucuk Paku Goreng Tahi Minyak, RM28
The name may sound a bit weird for some but when you eat this authentic refined Malay food, you’ll be wanting more. It’s a wild-fern stir-fried with chilli, caramelised coconut and shrimp. It’s a super simple yet marvellous in its hint taste of seasoning of spices.
Oh, the desserts here are for the serious sweet tooth fans!
Pandan Cendol Ice Cream, RM10
Cendol and ice cream together? As Tinder would call it, It’s a Match! This pandan ice cream topped with cendol pieces with a palm sugar syrup to give that extra sweetness.
Corn Creme Brulee, RM 12
I find myself being driven to paradise while glazing my mouth with the creaminess and melting flavours of the corn creme brulee. Melts in your mouth right away and the right balance of sweetness. Nothing too strong as well.
Gula Melaka Cake, RM 16
A steamed palm sugar sponge cake served warm with a shot of caramelised palm sugar sauce and coconut ice cream. Best eaten with drowning(at own risk!) the palm sugar sauce onto the sponge cake and wash it off with a beautiful coconut ice cream.
Chocolate Durian Cake, RM 28
Maybe Tinder wouldn’t go it’s a match for this one, but as for me, it’s definitely a match made in heaven. A creamy durian sandwiched between moist chocolate cake and coated within chocolate ganache for the extra crunch while devouring the cake. The smell of the durian isn’t too strong nor pungent till it repels us not to eat. Presentation, flavours and aftertaste are impeccable.
Be sure to try their cocktails too, it’ll sure make amused you with its name!
Bijan Bar & Restaurant is known to refine a simple authentic Malay cuisine to a fine dining experience for all. Perfect for corporate dinners, date night or even a food explorer like myself.
Business Hours: 4pm – 11pm
Address: 3 Jalan Ceylon, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Contact: 03-2031 3575