Review: Peranakan Place, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur

On the very first day of our eight month honeymoon, K contracted food poisoning. How annoying is that?! In the interest of settling K’s stomach, we had a series of non-spicy meals for the first days…which obviously isn’t ideal somewhere like Malaysia which was our first stop on the trip. For the first few meals, we skipped having the more interesting Malay and Indian meals, and stuck almost exclusively to plainer Chinese-style fare. We also chose to eat from ‘proper’ restaurants rather than streetside hawker stalls, to reduce the risk of triggering K’s dodgy stomach again.

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For our first dinner, we went to Peranakan Place in the new shopping mall next to KL Sentral train station in Brickfields – Nu Sentral. Specialising in Nyonya-style cuisine (or Han-Chinese style cuisine), Peranakan Place puts a unique Malaysian twist on classic Chinese dishes. It was very quiet on the Wednesday night that we went, but that in itself is probably representative of the low traffic the Nu Sentral is still experiencing. It’s still a very new mall, and there simply isn’t enough foot traffic at the moment to keep the shops and restaurants busy.

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I ordered a Dragonfruit Juice and K ordered a Barley Lime. I was determined to order the Dragonfruit juice after seeing a few diners at other tables with a vivid purple drink in front of them. The colour is so remarkable and almost otherworldly – where else could you find a drink of this colour? I was interested to see what it would taste like though, given that I generally find fresh dragonfruit quite bland. Unsurprisingly though, the restaurant added a generous serve of sugar syrup to the juice before serving it – something that I’ve found most places in Malaysia do with their fruit juice, unless you specifically request that they hold off on the sugar!

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We had an entree to share – the Rojak. It came out as a much larger serve than we were expecting – almost as a full main in itself, so unfortunately we ended up leaving quite a lot of it on the plate (I hate wasting food!).  I have to say, I absolutely love the Nyonya-style fruit rojak, more so than the Indian rojak which is made up of more savoury ingredients like bean curd but with a sweeter peanut sauce. The Nyonya style has sweeter ingredients, being made up mostly of different types of fruit (pineapple, guava and cucumber in this one), but with a savoury spicy sauce that has more of a belacan tang to it.

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I ordered the Peranakan Platter, thinking it would be a great representation of their house specialty. My mistake! While the curry chicken was wonderfully fragrant and tender, everything else was a bit of a disappointment. The so-called ‘Nyonya salad’ was nothing more than a few green beans and bits of cabbage. I wouldn’t order this dish again!

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K wanted something a bit plainer, and chose the Peranakan Fried Rice, which actually ended up being the better choice of our two mains. The egg-fried rice was plain enough to settle K’s stomach, but flavourful enough to be quite more-ish. The fried chicken was fantastic, with super crispy spiced and herbed skin and tender juicy meat. I would have quite happily eaten more of that!

This meal was not cheap by Malaysian standards, costing us over $60RM (or $20AUD). Given the extenuating circumstances of food poisoning and a dodgy stomach though, eating at a proper restaurant rather than a hawker stall was probably the best choice we could have made! We won’t rush back to Peranakan Place, but I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest it to those who have more delicate digestive systems!

Peranakan Place is located at on Level 5, Nu Sentral Shopping Centre, No 201 Jalan Tun Sambathan, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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