Rasa Sayang (London, June 2018)


I have been mocked cruelly on at least one food forum for posting meal reviews eight months after the fact. Well, not only does this review come eight months after the meal was eaten, I have seen fit to post it despite the fact that it only involved three dishes. I am not ashamed. We first ate at Rasa Sayang—one of the two Malaysian restaurants in London’s Chinatown (C&R is the other)—on our extended stay in London in the spring of 2017 (here is my first review). We’d planned to go back again before we left but when we did we found that it was closed for renovations. On that occasion we went to the nearby Baiwei instead and had a very good Sichuan lunch, but we still came back to Minnesota with a laksa-shaped hole in our hearts that the version at Peninsula in Minneapolis couldn’t quite plug. Accordingly, on our trip this past June we stopped in for a quick meal before park, museum and theatre action. I am glad to report that the changes in the restaurant’s look have not affected the quality of the food and nor have the prices gone up.

While the restaurant’s look has got spiffed up a fair bit, it’s not unrecognizable from what it used to be. Brighter colours on some of the walls, a change in the art hanging on the walls and new tables (and maybe floors) seem to be the extent of it. Okay, that sounds like a lot; what I mean to say is that it hasn’t turned into an entirely different class of restaurant. The menu too has been spiffed up, and might have been pared down a bit, but the food is still very good. As I said in my review of the much newer and spiffier Laksamania, I’d take Rasa Sayang’s versions of the same dishes over theirs.

On this visit we limited ourselves to a very small order because it was going to be a long time before we made it back to our AirBnB. The boys wanted their Hainanese chicken-rice again, we wanted their curry laksa again; we also wanted to try a dish we hadn’t had in 2017 and settled on their sambal okra. All were very good indeed.

Here’s a brief look at the renovated restaurant and the food. Scroll down to see what’s coming next.

All of this came to £33 with tax and tip—pretty good value for the quality, especially considering how much better it is than what’s available locally. I continue to recommend them highly for anyone looking for good, casual Malaysian food in London (though if you want spiffy you might be happier at Laksamania).

Okay, I only have a couple of reports left to come from London. One is of our last dinner, a disappointing meal at an Indian restaurant that gets good press; the other is a look at a weekend street market right by our flat in Chelsea. Unless I’m forgetting something I should be done with London by the end of next week. And then it’ll be on to Delhi along with the last of my Bombay reports. With some luck I should have got started on our meals in Los Angeles in late-December and early-January by the end of March.

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