Jom Makan is an up and coming Malaysian restaurant in London, UK. Located at two busy sites, one in the West End at Trafalgar Square and a new outlet at Westfields in Shepherd’s Bush. We tried visiting the new branch at Westfields a while back but the long queue was a huge deterrent for hungry peeps like us. This time, we popped by the Trafagar Square branch, after a slow Saturday morning paparazzing the guards at Buckingham Palace and got ourselves a table pronto.
Jom Makan, directly translated in Malay means ‘Let’s Go Eat’. Their menu boasts of home-style traditional Malaysian meals to popular hawker style dishes. This is probably my fourth visit to Jom Makan, with each visit an opportunity to try out different dishes. Their signature dishes include chicken and beef satay, nasi lemak and beef rendang.
I haven’t raved about Jom Makan even though the dishes are comforting and reasonably authentic as there are a number of other restaurants in the area that serve similar meals (and are slightly more affordable too). However, it is a good place to introduce friends to Malaysian style food. Their very well thought out menu explains the various bits and bops of the traditional dishes. There’s a salad section, which has favourites like Gado Gado (a fried beancurd salad with a peanut sauce) and Kerabu Udang (fresh prawns, vermicelli salad in a fish sauce dressing).
Then comes the mains or what is known as Hidangan. Loosely translated, this means ‘to share’. So like any typical asian style of dining, you’ll order several dishes to share. While we were there this time, a special buy-two-get-one-free offer was on for all their Hidangan dishes and we were sold!
We ordered Rendang Daging (Traditional slow cooked beef in spices and coconut). Apparently, this dish is of Indonesian origins, and was introduced to Malaysia by Minangkabau settlers from Sumatra. The beef was wonderfully tender, with each melt-in-the-mouth morsel packed with flavours of toasted coconut and spices like cardamom, tamarind, cinnamon and star anise. This is probably the only dish that I would highly recommend at Jom Makan. The rest that I have come across were good and authentic but didn’t quite blow my mind. This one, however impressed my taste buds…loads.
The other dish was Udang Sambal Tumis – pan fried prawns in a rich and spicy coconut sauce. This one had a wow for spiciness (and my threshold for spicy food is considered high). The creamy coconut sauce was very ‘lemak’ – what the Malaysians would describe as rich and coconut-y. The colour of the sauce belies what is significantly a feel-it-between-the-eyes kind of spice hit. I loved it though, but thought the pan-fried prawns could do with some caramelisation and depth of flavour.
For the veggie option, we ordered Sayur Masak Lemak – Chilli roasted squash, long bean, baby corn & spring onion in rich coconut chilli sauce. Again, very ‘lemak’ and the sauce was excellent drizzled on the steamed rice. It has also been a long time since my hubby and I have eaten baby corn so that, in it’s own way was quite a zing for us. I know, it’s only baby corn, but that got us a little excited just for a sec.
Of course, no malaysian meal is quite complete without a teh tarik, or ‘pulled tea’. It’s a strong black tea sweetened with condensed milk and the tea mixture is poured back and forth at a height from two different containers. This process is known to cool the tea and mix the tea and milk well. This ‘pulling’ action creates a nice froth and makes it look creamier. And yummier too I reckon.
Till the next time we jom makan…stay drool happy.
Jom Makan (West End)
7 Pall Mall East,
London, SW1Y 5BA.