Tuesday, June 24, 2008

JoM Makan - the true taste of Malaysia

5-7 Pall Mall East, SW1Y 5BA
Tel - 020 7925 2402

JoM Makan, along Pall Mall, caught our eyes when we're trekking towards Trafalgar Square after an aborted visit to the Buckingham Palace. The fact that it's the only visible restaurant along the street helps quite abit. The sign outside says ' A true taste of Malaysia'. That was the final push for us and I was already thinking of kambeng (lamb) soup when we stumbled through its somewhat forbidden looking doors.

What greeted us within was fresh looking contemporary decor with red lanterns (which is a nice touch, I must admit) conspicuously adorning the high ceilings.

Before we go into the food proper, I must make a special mention of Monique, the staff that served us, whose service was nothing short of impeccable. She considerately passed me a pair of chopsticks when I had some problem using fork on the otah wrap. That didn't improve the situation though.

Food wise, it's nothing to shout about. In fact, I was hoping that it'll fare better than Kiasu, which was quite out of the way. We ordered nasi lemak, lamb satay and roti canai (roti prata). These dishes are our favorite and we were really disappointed when they turned out to be far from the 'true taste of Malaysia'.

The nasi lemak looked rather presentable, but the rice, instead of being 'lemak' (fragranced by pandan leaves and coconut milk), it tasted like Hainanese chicken rice. So imagine having your chicken rice (without the chicken) with beef rendang, half an egg and curry calamari. The accompanying peanuts looks like it came out from a packet straight off an inflight menu.

The lamb satay smelt fantastic but as bland to the taste. I thought that there was something wrong with my taste buds, but Wife came to the same verdict as well. A pity really as the satay paste was somewhat decent. Perhaps we were spoilt by the stall in Oriental City.

Roti Canai, which cost a whopping 6.5 pounds for two 'kosong' (without eggs), was in fact the most decent of the entire lot. However, from the regularity of the shape, I suspect that it came form a frozen pack and not freshly prepared in the kitchen. However, the accompanying vegetable curry is very much toned down and there was no other choice for fish, lamb or chicken curry.

All in all, it's a fairly decent restaurant. We were told by Monique that JoM Makan has opened for only two weeks and is owned by the Malaysian Government to promote Malaysian cruisine in London. Far from being the 'true taste of Malaysia', it nevertheless offers pleasant ambience with friendly service.

Oh, if you happened to dropped by the next time round, please avoid ordering teh tarik, at 2.60 pounds per glass, it doesn't even taste remotely like the real stuff.

Read also
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kyh said...

I wonder if the Brits hv problems in memorising the name of the restaurant.

I guess in London and elsewhere in the West, the food in all Malaysian/Sg restaurants are ridiculously priced and tasted far from the authentic ones huh?

C K said...

We think that it's expensive only because it's way cheaper back home. But it's considered as 'reasonably' priced over here.

I would think that 'Kiasu' along Queensway is quite alright though.

Anonymous said...

If I may say so, that's the problem with any local food overseas..somehow, no matter how true they claim to be...it's nothing compared to the real taste back home. I find mostly watered down version of what we locals have here...well they have got to adapt to the tastebuds there.

huey mei said...

i saw this write up at Malaysia paper-The star.
It was laucng by our Deputy Prime Minister

rockaholic said...

Here(japan)oso have Jom Makan..
Malaysian restaurant rite??

RealGunners said...

just hopping around, anyway

i tell u, if u want authentic malaysian taste, the best bet is the Malaysian Hall.. since u mentioned Queensway, it's just around that area, ask around..

the Malaysian Hall is not really a restaurant, but they have a cafeteria in the basement which is actually open to the public, they sell way cheaper and taste alot like what we have here..

eastcoastlife said...

OMG!! So expensive! I'm happy to stay in Singapore and eat all my favourite local food at any time I want. :)

waitingkitty said...

i guess we can never find authentic tasting singaporean or malaysian food out of home, can we? there's nothing decent in hk also...:(

C K said...

@my bug life,
Then again, that wouldn't be the 'true taste' right? JoM Makan would do much better if they can employ only Malaysians to add to the authenticity. But then again, most if not all the staff are East Europeans. Ultimately, it's still a business venture.

C K said...

@huey mei,
Yep. That's what the staff (Monique) promptly told us as well. Malaysian DPM was there to conduct the opening ceremony just 2 weeks back.

C K said...

Really? Wow, it seems that the M'sian Govt is making a concerted effort to introduce the 'true taste of Malaysia' to the world.

C K said...

Hmm... thanks for the recommendation. Will definitely look for it the next time I'm in the area and probably do a post on that as well. Cheers!

C K said...

But hey, absence makes the heart fonder, no? lol

C K said...

But there's authentic HK food, no? I heard that all the decent HK chefs have migrated to Vancouver and London, is that true? Hmm...

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried The Satay House on Sale Place. I heard the food is pretty good there.

C K said...

Sale Place? Where's that? I wouldn't want to miss that if the satay is really good... hmm..

Anonymous said...

I think its in Paddington, just behind the Edgware Road.

Heres a map:

C K said...

Thanks! It's a bit off from where I normally hang out but will check it out. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

so true abt asian food being toned down to local taste .. sigh .. We hv stopped eating out - the disappointment is just too much, it doesnt justify the big bills as well.

Anonymous said...

so true abt asian food being toned down to local taste .. sigh .. We hv stopped eating out - the disappointment is just too much, it doesnt justify the big bills as well.

Anonymous said...

so true abt asian food being toned down to local taste .. sigh .. We hv stopped eating out - the disappointment is just too much, it doesnt justify the big bills as well.

Dutchie said...

ck, sorry again ! my laptop going haywire this morning with the triple response :-<

C K said...

No worries my friend (I almost wanted to call you 'mate'), thanks for being so persistent. :)

But there are some restaurants that are quite decent... look forward to writing about them. I think the main issue here is the 'price barrier' mentality. I mean, similar food cost only a fraction (literally) back home.

z3mms said...

I just came back from Buka Puasa at Jom Makan today, a day before Raya. It was the most uncomfortable meal i have ever had in my life. But i do have some positive and some negative feedback to be fair.

The positive side of thing is that their Satay (with the peanut sauce) is very close to authentic. And so does their beef rendang which was absolutely brilliant. As the dinner was for my Raya celebration, having an authentic beef rendang definitely brought me back home.

The ugly side is, unfortunately, a lot. First of all their Roti Canai.... it did not come with any curry! This is absolutely a let down and a shock to me considering that im a Malaysian eating in a Malaysian restaurant. Although the Roti Canai bread itself is authentic, but there's no point eating Roti Canai without a curry to be dipped with. It wouldn't cost a dime to add a small curry to it and i wonder why they would leave this open for complaint.

But the biggest let down was their staff service, and this is the real reason why I said it was the most uncomfortable meal I have ever had. Their staff kept eyeing on us to make sure we finish our food fast so that we can leave early for their next customers - worse is they made this very obvious. At one point their manager even shouted at us saying that they have customers outside queing and they will lose customers if we dont leave soon (yes, shouted). How can a manager embarrassed us like that in front of other customers while we were having a meal? I have never felt so abused and insulted as a customer. Substitute that with a nice talk we would have left the premise happily.

So no, I will not recommend anyone to come to this place and I will also never return to this place. We had such a bad experience to do otherwise.

Missy Hii said...

The food here was so disgusting that they should be close down!! Can't believe ppl actually go here for food!!:s

C K said...

@Missi Hii,
Is it that bad now? I've not been there for eons and have since discovered other similar places like Sedap, Puji Puji and Awana.

What happened? What did you order at Jom Makan?