Enjoy home-style food at Kampung-Lah
Pssst … I found really awesome Negeri food at Kampung Lah. Where? @kampunglah.my – that’s the name of the resto, new in town since last October. A hidden gem, decor is simple, cozy, as if you’ve stepped into someone’s home in the kampung. There’s even a thatched roof corner to take Instagram pictures out of the ‘house’ window. Biggest draw here is the wholesome, home-style dishes by chef Ibnu and his partner Joey. Feeling nostalgic and missing their kampung food, the ex-schoolmates got together to cook their own dishes, specialising in salai (smoked) dishes. Food is a mesh of Johor and Negri Sembilan dishes, and the offerings at Kampung-Lah are also a good reminder that Negri has other specialties besides Minang dishes.
Our starter platter of ulam (local salad) – Penyeri Hati (translated as Cheer you up) – came with raw raja ulam, petai, daun kemangi, to be dipped in sambal and budu. There’s also tempoyak available, though this is one thing I don’ eat. So simple, this local salad probably has a lot more nutrients than Western salads with sweet and creamy sauces. Other greens were Sayur Ibu Mertua (mother-in-law’s veggies) okra and eggplant, fried with ikan bilis. Usually I’m not keen on anchovies, but this was an exception and surprisingly, a good combination. Despite being fried dishes, they were fragrant and inviting, and not oil-laden at all.
The star was Masak Lemak Nogori Daging Salai (smoked beef tenderloin). They have this with chicken, duck and seafood too. A hint of smokiness was apparent on the palate, smoothed over and balanced by creamy coconut gravy that went so well with rice. The meat was so tender – we couldn’t get enough of this.
Sambal Petai Menora with Udang Harimau (Petai sambal with Tiger prawns) was not what we expected but no less tasty. Dry-style instead of the usual sambal gravy with petai beans scattered on top, fresh prawns were nice and big, and the piquant sambal paste offered complex layers of flavour. What was a little disappointing was the Ayam Masak Itam (Black sauce chicken). Tastewise it was excellent but the portion was quite small, came with bony pieces with very little meat, including one chicken neck.
Kampung-Lah also has a couple of interesting drink 01s such as Syrup Bandung with Black Jelly and a Rambutan drink, though this tasted more of lychee.
Gosh, talking about the dishes makes me drool already! It’s definitely worth a trip to Kampung-lah for an authentic taste of home.
Add: No. 43 Ground Floor, Jalan PJU 5/20E, Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya. tel: 012-326 3416.