To be invited to Bijan was a dream come true as I’d read rave reviews about the Lafite of Malay restaurants for years and it was on my mental list of to-do stuff. This is one classy restaurant which has served top quality Malay food since September 2003. It’s located along the quieter part of Lorong Ceylon, away from the often congested portion of the road with rows of eateries. Parking is along the roadside & if you come early, you will be able to find parking just a stone’s throw from Bijan.
My first impression of Bijan is that it’s spacious with a bar area, indoor and outdoor dining areas along with a private dining area which can seat 20 pax. This would be a lovely venue for events as the ambiance is cool and sophisticated. Purple walls and dark unpolished wood create an environment one can spend hours chilling out at and winding down after a stressful day at work. Foldable glass doors lead onto the terrace for al-fresco dining, you almost feel as if you are not in the middle of the bustling city but at some country restaurant, so rustic are the surroundings. The indoor dining area can seat 80 pax while the terrace (smoking) area can seat 70 pax.
While there is a bar area, Bijan’s menu is 100% halal and msg-free. All excess fat is trimmed from the food and the menu consists of a vast selection of Malay dishes from everyday favourites to the lesser-known secrets of the Malay kitchen. They make their own blends of curries and grind their own spices so you will never get dishes like these anywhere else. They are unique to Bijan and I knew I was in for a treat. This is a restaurant which has won awards from Tourism Malaysis and Time Out KL awarded them Best Malay Restaurant from 2009-2011.
Firstly, let me tell you about their drinks. I was surprised that they offer a good variety of ice blends and smoothies. The Smoothies have catchy names lik Mango Hopper, Strawnana Berry, Three Element and Go For It.
Mango Hopper is mango, coconut ice cream and fresh milk blend. This smoothie is one of the best I have ever had because it is not only refreshing, the cream gives it this rich and creamy texture and best of all, there are small pieces of mango in the drink. If there is only one smoothie you can have at Bijan, make it this one. I promise you that you won’t regret ordering this especially if you love mango. Whoever concocted this drink should be given an award! I love this drink so much that I had 2 glasses.
Strawnana Berry is strawberry, banana and fresh milk blend. I enjoyed this one because it tasted of fresh strawberries but after you have had the Mango Hopper, you will want nothing but the Mango Hopper. Maybe I should have had the Strawnana Berry first, I would have enjoyed it more.
Now for the food, Bijan is famous for many dishes and they must be doing something very right that not only locals but also tourists and expats from Western countries, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong flock to this restaurant year after year.
My media group was served a sampling of what will be served at Bijan Ramadhan Buffet from 22nd June – 12th July from 6.45pm – 9.3pm everyday. A la carte menu will only be available from 9pm onwards. There are 5 specially tailored menus in rotation for the buffet spread. The buffet spread will include grill stations and love-cooking stalls that serve different “panggang” items.
Note that some of the food you see below are prepared specially for the media review and won’t look exactly like what you see in the images when you partake of Bijan Ramadhan Buffet, e.g. the rice was wrapped in pandan leaves specifically for the media review.
We started off with servings of appetizers ranging from Daging Bungkus Kukus (delicate parcel of steamed minced meat & herbs wrapped within a layer of pancake & coconut gravy), Cucur Bijan (crisp-fried vegetable fritters of tofu, sweet potato & tempeh matchsticks with bean sprouts & spring onions, served with Bijan’s homemade chili and peanut sauce), Acar Tauhu (skewered deep-fried marinated tofu topped with a spicy and tangy pickled vegetable sauce) to Otak Otak (steamed seafood mousse in kaduk leaf). Daging Bungkus Kukus was so tender and whatever herbs it was cooked in left me wanting more of it while my other favourite appetizer was Cucur Bijan as their chili sauce was just the best.
The main courses were seemingly endless, one after another came to the table and I was frantically taking notes because I didn’t want to get confused over what was what. Everything looked delectable and if the appetizers were that good, the main courses had to be even more promising and definitely they didn’t disappoint in any way.
Laksam is rolled up rice noodles rather like “chee cheong fun” in a creamy thick fish based gravy with some ulam as garnishing. Bijan’s version is slightly sweet and tangy, the rice noodles soaked up every bit of the gravy and I found myself slurping up all the gravy even when I’d finished the rice noodles. Talk about good to the last drop!
Tender pieces of chicken drenched in sambal tomato sauce, this one isn’t as spicy as it looks and I am sure even kids will love this dish.
I have always loved Pucuk Paku as the vegetables are crunchy and when stir fried with belacan as I usually have them, these wild ferns are the perfect accompaniment to rice. At Bijan, Pucuk Paku is stir fried with chili, caramelized onion and shrimp. Now if that isn’t fragrant enough to whet your appetite, I don’t know what is.
Sotong Hitam Manis isn’t a dish I expected to find in a Malay restaurant but it is served at Bijan and this one would delight any seafood lover as the squid is cooked with chili paste, lemongrass and squid ink.
The grilled lamb cutlets were tender and savoury, they’d obviously been marinated very well in spices. I am sure I had at least 2 pieces and wouldn’t have minded having this entire plate to myself but this meal is all about sharing. That’s why one should go for the Bijan Ramadhan Buffet when one can have as many pieces as one likes.
Surprisingly, I liked this sauce a lot even though I am not that fond of durians. Tempoyak is produced from durian flesh, salt is added and it’s fermented for a few days.
Nothing quite like Kerabu to add some zest to a meal. Here we have 3 types of Kerabu, namely squid, beef and banana flower. The banana flower Kerabu is crunchy and a must-try.
Beautifully presented just for our media group was 3 types of rice in cone shaped pandan leaves – nasi minyak, nasi ulam and nasi tomato. Every type of rice is delicious on its own without having to add any sauces. This is top quality rice which I’d love to have everyday.
For dessert, we were certainly delighted with a sampling of Bijan’s best – Durian Pengat, Crème Brulee, Puteri Mandi and Pandan Pudding. My favourite of the 4 was Puteri Mandi, so colourful and it’s like eating mini chewy doughnuts. The Crème Brulee was far too sweet for my palate but I liked the Pandan Pudding simply because pandan desserts are wonderful in any form.
The Chocolate Durian Cake is Bijan’s signature dessert. I am informed that regular customers come in just to takeaway this dessert and no wonder, it’s rich, decadent, not too sweet and tastes as if one is chewing into the succulent flesh of durian and indeed, Bijan uses nothing but the best D24 durians for this scrumptious dessert which will leave even non-durian lovers like me thinking about how incredible it is.
If you’d like to try out some of Bijan’s recipes, have a look at Bijan’s cookbook priced at RM68 in which you will find many recipes for Bijan’s bestsellers. The owners of Bijan are Yuen Yin SZETO and 2 sisters, Way Cheng and Lissa Yeoh.
Bijan’s Ramadhan Buffet is priced at RM90nett for early birds (for all confirmed reservations by 22 June 2015) after which the price is RM90++ per person.
Corporate rate : Groups from 20-100 pax @ RM100nett per person
Groups of 100 pax and above @ RM90nett per person
No 3 Jalan Ceylon
50200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel + 603 2031 3575
Fax +603 2031 3576
Website : www.bijanrestaurant.com