We went to the Empire Gallery in Subang Jaya to look for food. This shopping centre is becoming more and more a foodie place since the kaboom. I believe most people go there not so much to shop but to eat. I have so far done 7 reviews of the makan places in the Empire. This is my 8th and probably not my last. It bespeaks the variety of food here. The place we picked this time was the Belanga.
Belanga is a Malay restaurant chain specialising in peninsular east coast cuisines. The founder is a lady from Kelantan. Besides this restaurant, they also have outlets in the Gardens (Mid Valley Megamall) and the SSTwo Mall. The outlet at the Empire is charming and very well decored in a modern and contemporary ambiance.
Their menu was a selection of mouth-watering Malay fare - various types of nasi (kerabu, dagang, lemak, etc), mee (curry, laksa, soto, bandung, etc), satays, soups, and others. We opted for rice.
Dinner started with our drinks. I went for my normal iced lemon tea. I wished it was bottomless but alas it wasn't. For the beer drinkers - forget it. This is a very Malay place.
The first rice dish we shared was the nasi kerabu. There was a choice of ayam percik, grilled beef tenderloin or grilled fish. We opted for the chicken. I would had gone for the beef tenderloin because the visual of the beef in the menu was so appealing. But my wife is not a beef person. The tomato rice was served with chopped fresh vegetables, some keropok and a thick peanut gravy. We mixed the chopped greens into the rice and gravy. It was delicious. The ayam percik was also very good. But probably because at that late time of the day, it was not entirely freshly roasted. Still we enjoyed it.
Next was the nasi dagang. It was a traditional Kelantanese brown rice steamed in coconut milk. There was a choice of curry chicken, rendang beef or ikan tongkol (tuna). Nasi dagang at the east coast is normally eaten with the fish. So we follow the norm and went for the tongkol. The rice was superbly fluffy and aromatic. It was served with some chopped cabbage, pickled cucumber and carrot and an egg. The tuna was a little fishy. I think it was not entirely fresh. Because of this, I thought the nasi kerabu was more enjoyable.
This bowl of oxtail soup was fabulous. It had generous portions of tail that tasted absolutely delicious. There were also potato, carrot, onion and celery - garnished with some fried shallots and spring onion. The celery gave the soup a distinct taste. The spices were adequate and not overpowering. I loved this soup but unfortunately my wife would not have any of it.
This plate was listed as "Spring Rolls" in the menu. It looked and tasted anything but. It was a roll alright - in the kind of translucent rice wrap that are commonly used in Vietnamese cooking. The inside were mostly chopped vegetables that tasted rather bland. There was a small bowl of sweet yellow sauce that did not help in any manner to enhance its flavour. We didn't like it.
The Belanga, much to my surprise, turned out to be a lot better than I had expected. The food was generally good. And the service was friendly too. If you hunger for some east coast makan, I would certainly recommend this place.