gracecheung604 | write on time: Testing out Kaya, a Malaysian Bistro

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Testing out Kaya, a Malaysian Bistro

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I've always been fond of Malaysian food, so when I found out about a new place called Kaya at Broadway and Oak, I decided to give it a shot. There is another similar place close by called Banana LeafThey had been open for about two months, so growing pains should be at a minimal. I was looking forward most to the Roti Canai and the Murtabak.  Salad 2 The first one we ordered was their Papaya and Mango Salad. Most places serve one or the other, or both, but I've rarely seen both fruits in one salad. Made with papaya & mango mixed, the salad sits on a bed of season greens with some jicama root, carrot and onion. The dressing is a house chili dressing and there is also a bit of mango puree as well. This fell flat for me since you couldn't taste any chili at all. The flavours were rather bland and nothing like the salad I had at Salad King or Pok Pok.
IMG_0773 Another popular dish is their Stuffed Chicken Wings. I've had wings stuffed with glass noodles before, but this version is stuff with sticky rice, pork & some vegetables. I've never tried to debone chicken wings and from the instructions I've found on the net, this isn't hard to do, but it's hard to do well. They certainly did that here.
IMG_0774 The skin was very crispy, and the filling was quite plentiful as well. I really liked the juiciness of the stuffing. the wings were a good sized and the portion was just right for an appetizer. The plum sauce was good too, but could have used a bit more heat. There's a theme here, I think.  
IMG_0775 This is the Murtabak filled with chicken and wrapped in a Whole Wheat Roti. The chicken and vegetable filling was excellent, but the roti was a bit disappointing. It lacked the layers needed in roti, and as a result, it was way too dense. Perhaps it was the fact that they were deep fried with the chicken, but in any case, this wasn't the roti I expected. They served this with a mild curry sauce and some undressed mixed greens. The presentation was a little weird, why a salad without dressing? 
IMG_0777 And here is the Roti Canai, a traditional bread made with flour, butter and water. Here is a video of it actually being made at Ebo Restaurant, by my friend John Chang of JC Roti Factory. The version served at Kaya is a bit different in the sense that the outer layer was crispy, almost too crispy. Either the flat-top was too hot and cooked the outer layer too fast, or the chef left it on there too long. The inside still had lots of layers, perfect for soaking up the curry sauce it came with. Now I sort of understand why they served the Murtabak with some greens, because this dish looked a little lonely sitting there all by itself. 
IMG_0779 Although I love Hainanese Chicken, I know the appearance can be off-putting for some people, considering the lack of colour and the crepey looking skin. Because it's deboned and steamed, this is the way it comes out looking and is the traditional way that this chicken is served. However, at Kaya, you can ask for the same chicken to be roasted instead of steamed, which give a bit more colouring to the skin and looks more like soy sauce chicken. The chicken was cooked to perfection, tender and juicy, even the white meat, which tends to get dry. Pair this with some Chicken Rice and it's amazing. Ask for some extra minced ginger and chili with garlic sauce. It's all you need to complete the dish.  
rendang beef 2 And for the final dish of the night, this is the Rendang Beef. I'm not a huge curry fan, but this is one of my weaknesses. Having much more flavours than just cumin or tumeric, this coconut based curry is loaded with herbs such as galangal, ginger, garlic, lemon grass and more. The meat absorbs all these flavours over a slow and long cooking process, and the sauce is perfect with either rice or more roti!. There are some potatoes in the dish, but they were actually less tender than the meat!

Take Note:


  • Open for lunch and dinner daily but menu limited at lunch
  • Things aren't spicy, sobe sure to tell them you want it hot if you like that
  • Daily Drinks Specials, Sundays = $5 off half litres of wine


Kaya Malay Bistro on Urbanspoon

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