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Kiasu Restaurant
48 Queensway
Bayswater London
W2 3RY
Tel: 020 7727 8810

Food type: South-east Asian (mainly Malaysian)

Food rating: 2/10

Nearest tube: Bayswater

Website: Kiasu

With my last day in labs out of the way I went to watch Kung-fu Panda with S. I enjoyed the film very much – it was ridiculously hilarious and good family fun. We subsequently went to Bayswater to dine at  Kiasu. Random fact: Kiasu is Hokkien for ‘afraid of losing’. I found out about Kiasu after reading about it in my Timeout London Food Guide. Kiasu serves mainly Malaysian street food with a smattering of cuisines from around the region including Thai Green Curry and Vietnamese Pho. For my first visit, I decided to stick with Malaysian food.

Chicken Satay

We started off with some Chicken Satay and Pai Tee. Satay is the national dish of Malaysia and consists of barbequed chunks of marinated meat (usually chicken or beef but can include fish, pork, lamb and in some cases offal) served with a spicy peanut sauce. The chicken satay served here had chicken breast which were overmarinated – quite a difficult feat – resulting in the meat being too soft and almost mushy. In Malaysia, chicken satay is usually made with thigh meat with a combination of fat (yummy) to lend additional moistness and flavour. In addition, the cooking process caramelizes the fat which adds a toffee like flavour to the satay. The meat itself was relatively moist despite the use of the dreaded breast meat and lack of fat. The satay sauce was rich although a touch oily and could have done with a bit more heat. The satay was served with the usual accompaniments of onions, cucumbers and rice cakes (ketupat). The ketupat was very good – with the right texture although the cubes were miniscule. 2/10 for the satay.

Pai Tee

Pai Tee is Nyonya dish which consists of savoury tuile baskets filled with a mixture of shredded yam beans, bamboo shoots, pork and prawns. This was served with fresh chilli sauce. The Pai Tee here was very good  (4/10) – much better than many of those I have had in Malaysia. Often times, the tuile baskets end up on the table soggy because there is too much moisture in the filling. This was not the case here, as the tuiles were still crisp while the filling had the correct balance of textures. The fresh chilli sauce had a good bite to it with the lime cutting through the flavours nicely.

Beef Wat Tan Hor

For mains, I went for one of my favourites – Beef Wat Tan Hor which translates to ‘Smooth Egg Noodles’. The dish consists of fried hor fun (flat rice noodles) with a sauce made with egg. It is generally very hard to get this dish right as the timing for the sauce has to be spot on to obtain a silky smooth sauce and not overcooking the egg. Unfortunately the rendition here was rather poor – the sauce was over salty and the egg overcooked. The beef also had lost much of its texture (this is probably in part due to the use of too much cornflour to tenderize the meat). Another key ommission was the lardons which help give the dish an extra flavour (not to mention I love the crunch of them). At least the hor fun was cooked correctly and had that lovely charred flavour. Barely 1/10.

Nasi Lemak

S went for the Nasi Lemak which apparently was quite good (although he was sweating a lot while eating it…)

Cendol

For desserts, we both had a nice cold bowl of cendol – a dessert made out of ice shavings, coconut milk, tapioca noodles flavoured with pandan leaf and palm sugar. The cendol at Kiasu is accompanied with red beans. The dessert while having the correct balance of flavours was rather sloppy in that there was several large chunks of ice and the tapioca noodles were still too cold and clumped together so a 1/10 is justified.

Dinner here was pleasant with quick and efficient service. An overall score of 2/10 is about right for the food here. Prices were relatively cheap for London standards – starters between £2.50 and £5.80 and mains between £4.80 and £7.50. If I’m around this area again, I will most definitely come back to try some of the other dishes on the menu despite the shortcomings.

P/s I do apologize for the poor pictures – this is the best my poor camera phone can do with poor lighting.

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