Rustic Oasis with Authentic Malay Cuisine
Bijan @ Jln Ceylon
Rustic Oasis that serves authentic Malay Cuisine
It was one of those days when one thing after another just kept going wrong. I looked at my watch. It was 7.47pm. I looked around me. Should I turn left? Or right? Not only was I late, I was also lost.
Making a few rounds through crawling traffic, I finally found my way and put the pedal to the metal up Jalan Ceylon, coming to a screeching halt, throwing my keys at the helpful valet. I rushed through the large wooden arch, and immediately felt my stresses melt away…
It was like stepping into a spa on a remote island. Rustic lamps and candles radiated a warm glow all around. Even the staff moved gracefully, with gentle movements that handed me a menu printed with Bijan’s traditionally inspired orange and black motif.
The name Bijan (pronounced bee-jahn) means ‘sesame’ in Malay. It’s a concept that combines fine wines with authentic Malay food, served in a chic yet cozy setting.
Our starters were delicious. I adored the ‘Cucur Udang’, fluffy morsels of deep-fried prawns and mixed vegetables in a crispy batter with a side of homemade chili sauce. For bite size pleasure, try the ‘Pegediil’; fried potato patties with a topping of tasty minced chicken.
Chef Zulkifli Razak took on the position of head chef three years ago, and constantly strives to prepare local delicacies with a fine balance of old and new in mind. It was a pleasure chatting to him, as he entertained us with story after story of his life and his favourite dishes on the menu.
I discovered that unlike most Malay restaurants that cook curries days in advance, every dish at Bijan is cooked a la minute. This means that there is a rigorous preparation process each day, to blend, grind and portion, so that when the order is ready to ‘Fire’, each dish can be cooked with precision and speed. My favourite of the starters was his latest creation; the ‘Daging Bungkus’. This new dish is inspired by the traditional ‘Otak-Otak’, a steamed seafood mousse wrapped in ‘daun kadok’ (betel leaf). ‘Daging Bungkus’ directly translates to English as ‘meat parcels’. Scrumptious shredded beef, marinated then stir-fried with raw vegetables and leaves known as ‘ulam-ulam’. The cooked beef is then folded into a rice flour paste, and steamed in betel leaves. Carefully unwrap to unleash the rich aroma that steams up from the parcel, and dig in to the warm velvety blend of ingredients.
Our main courses were outstanding.
JD and Dilly (Red Breakfast) and I felt at home, as if enjoying a meal in a typical Malay home. Dishes are served in hearty portions, and you can serve yourself or have it delicately laid out on your plate by the discerning staff.
We had house favourites like the Siakap Assam Pedas, Udang Masak Lemak and Ayam Masak Merah. I loved the ‘Pucuk Paku Goreng Tahi Minyak’, with a surprise sweet twist. Wild fern stir-fried with chili, caramelized coconut & shrimp.
Moving on to Bijan’s Signature Dishes, the first we tried was ‘Rusuk Panggang’. Succulent beef short ribs marinated for a day in dark soya sauce and spices, the oven grilled to perfection.
A caramelized layer on the outside camouflages the juicy meat inside served with Moorish ‘pegedil’, sweet soy sauce & sambal belacan on the side. I was warned about the next house specialty.
Bijan’s Durian Tempoyak is a time-honoured Malay dish made from a ‘masak lemak’ curry paste and durian flesh. Famous for its pungent aroma and flavour, Durian, also known as the king of fruits, is an acquired taste. Lucky, I am someone who truly appreciates Durians, unlike JD who wouldn’t go near it.
Only the best D24 durians are sourced from a local plantation, and personally picked up once every fortnight by Chef Zulkifli himself. After deseeding, 8kg of fresh and golden fragrant flesh is then used to create mouthwatering dishes like the Tempoyak, and Bijan’s more adventurous desserts.
I would go back to Bijan over and over again just for their Chocolate and Durian cake. Two unusual flavours combined to create a masterpiece. What I had in front of me was the result of numerous taste tests to get the balance just right. Alternate layers of moist chocolate cake and creamed durian, covered in a thick layer of chocolate ganache, served chilled. Deliciously decadent!
The Gula Melaka Cake, Durian Cheese Cake and homemade ice creams in coconut, Bandung and spiced tea flavours are also a must try.
With an extensive menu that keeps getting bigger, instead of feeling overwhelmed I felt extremely at ease. Relaxed, content, and without a care in the world. If you need a getaway from the stresses of life while relishing in traditional Malay Cuisine in a tranquil setting, I strongly recommend you head to Bijan in Jalan Ceylon.
It’s that rustic oasis in the city you’ve been dreaming off. You’ll leave feeling very, very content.
Try Bijan Bar + Restaurant for yourself! Starting Monday, tune in to The Big Red Food Review, Eleven2Three with Aly to win RM 100 vouchers. Only on Red FM, Today’s Best Music.
Bijan Bar & Restaurant
No 3 Jalan Ceylon 50200 Kuala Lumpur
t. 03 2031 3575
f. 03 2031 3576
4:30 – 10:30