Subak, Dine in Nature
Subak – Dine in Nature
As I drove up the long, winding road, my eyes were peeled and trying to figure out what constituted a ‘final sweeping corner’. So far, the directions from the website had been spot on. It was just that, well, there were so many sweeping corners as I drove further and further away from civilization.
It only felt that way. The truth is Subak is only about 1km off the LDP Highway, and about 1km away from Kampung Penchala. However, the untouched, lush greenery hugging the road and the gentle chirping of crickets gave the illusion that you we’re indeed, deep in the jungles of Indonesia.
The name Subak is derived from a “highly intricate and ritualised Subak water irrigation system“ used in Bali. Here in Bukit Lanjan, the restaurant has it’s very own fresh water spring, and its environmentally built on above the beginning of Sungai Penchala.
I finally rounded a big corner and spotted glowing lights to my right, atop a hill that resembled fireflies in the night. I parked on the road, and walked up the steep hill to the entrance. It was beautiful.
The soothing sounds of flowing water from the fresh water spring set the scene for tranquility. The rustic restaurant itself is open air, but covered with a traditional wooden roof. I was the first to arrive, greeted and was seated al-fresco on the “Alang-Alang” roofed wooden deck .
My view was calm and peaceful, with the soothing sounds of water from the man-made pond, Serambi, easing my stresses away.
As I waited for Terry (Red FM Drive) and Dilly (Red Breakfast) to arrive, I secretly observed young couples being ushered to a more intimate setting on the hillside deck aptly named Loteng.
Everyone arrived, and our waiter was very helpful in recommending signature drinks to start our meal. We were also told that the Chef had already lined up dishes for us to try.
Starting off with some of Subak’s signature fruity blends, we tried the Subak Sensation, Subak Breezer and Subak’s Beverage of the Day.
Trickling, dripping, running water noises fed our appetites, and soon after, Ibu Yati’s Gado-gado arrived. This was traditional blanched vegetables with the Chef’s homemade special peanut sauce.
It was a house specialty, named Proprietor/CEO Salleh Lamsah’s wife, who he says is really, the woman behind the man.
“When I bought the 1 acre property, she told me we didn’t need another house. We didn’t need another liability,” he explained. “We travel a lot, and I’ve seen quite a few restaurants in Europe that are elusive, with only a small sign marking their presence.” Salleh pauses, and continues smiling. “That’s what we have tried to re-create here.” I think they have succeeded at that; creating a haven of good food, within the crowded city. An escape, a chance for you to dine in nature, amongst the concrete jungle.
We also tried Subak’s Traditional Prawn, with avocado timbale and homemade cocktail dressing.
Next to come were the main courses. I ducked to the ladies room first, which was up a narrow, dimly lit flight of stairs.
Watch out for stray frogs. Those are the “croak croak’s” that you hear when you’re at your table. It’s all very atmospheric, but I can honestly tell you, it was the fastest bathroom stop I’ve made in awhile.
When I got back to our table, two plates of Subak’s NZ Lamb Shank Masala arrived.
A generous portion of lamb on the bone, braised for hours. The meat fell off easily and melted on our tongues. Served with a side of sautéed vegetables, marinated salad and sweet potato mash, coated in a thick, aromatic rosemary sauce.
Executive Chef Hassan Bin Abdullah made an appearance as we were devouring the perfectly braised lamb, before moving on to a new dish on the menu. The BBQ Beef Ribs, also served in a hearty portion, was Terry’s favourite.
The meat was soft, juicy and verytasty, with a sticky homemade BBQ sauce that had us licking our fingers. With a hot and steaming jacket potato and succulent grilled tomato, it was a surefire hit with all of us.
We chatted to Chef Hassan for a few minutes, and learnt that he had been with the restaurant since it’s opening one year ago. Coming from a hotel background, he personally handpicks ingredients and designed each dish to ensure maximum satisfaction for guests. We asked him what the best dish on the menu was, and he replied without hesitation, “Nasi Goreng!”.
“Well, can we try it?” asked Dilly. He fervently checks with his boss and runs off to the kitchen to make us a portion of Nasi Goreng. Moments later, a fragrant dish of fried rice was set in front of us, topped with crispy fried onions.
The smell of galangal, lemongrass and a blend of herbs and spices was intoxicating.
If good quality Western dishes are what you’re after, you’ll find it at Subak. If you’re looking for more traditional Asian dishes, with strong Malay influence, you’ll find it at Subak. It’s a wonderful blend of old and new, traditional and modern, in a beautiful setting.
I honestly do think that the quality, quantity and value for money is fantastic at Subak. The ambience? Unbeatable. Just make sure you have a chance to try dessert. We didn’t, but I guess there’s always next time right?
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Mondays to Sundays including Public Holidays
11:00 a.m. till 12:00 midnight+
Tel: (6)-03-7729 9030 / 31
Fax: (6)-03-7729 9036
For Inquiries & Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fariz 017-6628404 and Fazlan 012-9260064
Lot 3213 Jalan Penchala Indah
Bukit Lanjan 60000