Immersive culinary experience at Adu Sugar
It’s not easy to find a good Malay restaurant that is suitable for entertaining foreign guests which reflects the many facets of Malay cuisine and presents an adventure for the palate.
Adu Sugar in Bangsar, KL is one such restaurant – the food is breath-taking and a joy for the senses. The interior of the resto itself is quite eclectic, showcasing paintings of chef Adu Amran’s family which he painted himself, alongside stuff he’s collected and designed. In fact, it was his artistic renditions on canvas that saw the resto through the pandemic as chef Adu Amran Hassan managed to sell his works of art and that kept them afloat.
Beyond the Balinese vibe in the decor though, the food is distinctly Malay with a spotlight on Johor where Adu hails from. And these days, the menu is 50% vegan as well as he’s looking into plant-based food and healthy eating. Recently, he created vegan belacan (shrimp paste) which he touts tasted 80% like the real thing!
For my first visit, we tried starters such as deep-fried tempeh, ladies fingers and quail, so simple but amped up thanks to amazing sauces. For mains, we had the signature Young Jackfruit Rendang – fibrous yet tender, enriched with rendang herbs, santan and kerisik – quite special indeed. Ikan Asam Pedas was on point with the flavours, sour, spicy all at once. So many other resto fall short when it comes to this dish. The unusual Pucuk Paku Urab had a touch of kencur leaves and ginger, sprinkled over with toasted pine nuts and coconut – fragrant, slightly sour with lime juice, perfect wake me up and palate changer.
The Laksa Johor is a must try, with its herb-rich spicy gravy laden with ikan parang while the pesto rice was the best surprise. Initially, my cousin didn’t want to have this as she said doesn’t sound like authentic Malay food but it is really chef’s spin on nasi ulam using Thai basil, daun kesom and a host of other herbs. It’s so good that you wanna eat this by itself, though it’s also great with the curries.
The next round, I had Nasi Ambeng, a Javanese-influenced rice dish which comes with Ayam Masak Kicap, Puyuh Penyet (deep fried quail), sambal goreng, coconut serunding, fried noodles, fried vegetables, ulam and salted fish. A complete meal by itself, there’s enough to be shared among two or even three people.
Prices here are not to be sniffed at, but then this is not some gerai by the roadside either as there is so much more heart and passion poured into each dish, not to mention the high quality ingredients used. Adu Sugar is the kind of place where it’s a full-on experience – it’s not just about having a meal – you absorb the ambience, drink in the layers of flavour and enjoy each morsel leisurely.
Add: 10A First Floor, Lrg Ara Kiri 2, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. call 03-2201 1441.