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Puji Puji (Restaurant)

Picture of Puji Puji in Dalston, London

122, Balls Pond Road, Dalston, London, N1 4AE
Cuisine: Malaysian Average Price: £15.00
Tel: 020 7923 2112 | Email to Puji Puji | Transport: Dalston Kingsland | Write review

Puji Puji Review

Sitting outside on a sunny Monday reading a book on the front patio of Malaysian restaurant, Puji Puji, I almost feel as if I’ve been teleported to a more tropical land, but for the roar of London traffic and the arrival of my almost non-existent date. Finally living in the same city again, we've managed to miss each other for the last nine months and the aftermath of alcohol-fuelled leaving dos almost waylaid our first meeting for nearly nine years. My companion is unfortunately due to return to her native Spain soon so I’m grateful to see her smile and wave as she crosses the busy road.

Retreating to tranquillity behind the glass-front, we sit inside where our much-awaited catch-up can more comfortably take place. Save for the tail-end trickle of early diners, Puji Puji is quiet and so perfectly suited to an intimate nine-year outpour. It takes several appearances of the attentive but unobtrusive waiter to remind us we are here to eat. Seeking the advice of Raja, the helpful and friendly proprietor, we order the ever-appealing Gado Gado and a house special of chicken satay to start and are soon tucking into succulent skewers dipped in a spicy peanut sauce.

Expertly-sized, our starters whet our appetites without filling us up, so when the Rendang Beef and Mee Goreng arrive, we’re ready to tuck in. Slow-cooked, exceedingly juicy beef in a spicy coconut sauce accompanied by surprisingly light white rice contrasting perfectly with our less spicy flat rice noodle and vegetable combo.

Checking we’re OK, Raja proudly shows us her latest project. Having run the family-owned restaurant for just over two years, dishes have proved so popular that she’s launching a home-cook range via the restaurant website and selected cash and carries, including customer favourites - the delicious Rendang and spicy peanut sauces and vacuum packed satay skewers. Raja is keen to share and spread the Malay eating experience, expertly explaining the different ways satay can be cooked and surprising us by revealing her willingness to hold private cooking classes for small groups.

Straying from reminiscences of university days and our first Film-Making Society meeting, the conversation somehow turns to bingo. Pausing briefly for air, we both notice Puji Puji’s 60s soundtrack, which matches the décor in its simple but clean manner; both are inoffensive, the latter almost Mexican due to its orange and red colour scheme.

My initial survey of the room determines that this is minimalist decoration, but a second glance gives a little more insight into traditional Malaysian ways of life. Curious as to the origin of an interesting raised wooden wall hanging, we call on Raja's knowledge to learn more. She tells us about the Malaysian artist who came over especially for six months to create all the restaurant’s murals, signage, wall hangings and paintings, including this particular rendition of Kuala Lumpur's twin towers - a reminder of Raja’s old home.

Puji Puji is drenched in Malaysian authenticity: the diverse and flexible soon-to-be-updated menu; the songket chequered fabric wall hangings; impressive hand crafted wooden bar and doorframe; the specialised machine exported to make traditional pudding ingredients; and the black rice cakes that take an arduous six hours to create. Unfortunately, speciality desserts are only served towards the end of the week when busy weekends make booking essential, but luckily for us Raja is keen to showcase her heritage and offers to make us a Chendol pudding. Ice and pandang leaf extract float in a sweet, but surprisingly light, liquid that's more like a refreshing milky drink.

Almost outstaying our welcome past the 10.30 closing time, we leave our Malaysian haven, returning to the rumble of passing buses and the humidity of the outdoors, hoping to hook up again sometime, some country in the next nine years. As we exit we do just as the restaurant name translates, ‘praising’ Puji Puji as a labour of love.
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Puji Puji Opening Hours

Monday: 6:00pm - 10:30pm Friday: 6:00pm - 10:30pm
Tuesday: 6:00pm - 10:30pm Saturday: 6:00pm - 10:30pm
Wednesday: 6:00pm - 10:30pm Sunday: 6:00pm - 10:30pm
Thursday: 6:00pm - 10:30pm    

Additional Information

Puji Puji Food & Drinks

  • Cuisine Type: Malaysian
  • Average Price: £15.00

Puji Puji Food Menu

We serve authentic Malaysian cuisine.We specialise Malaysian charcoal grill satay.

Updated 09/03/2011

Special offers, discounts and deals at Puji Puji

2 courses for £10 (starter + rice or noodle dishes only) excludes satay dishes.

Updated 26/11/2010

Puji Puji Hire Details

Private function: Christmas, New Year and Birthday parties. Min booking of 25 restaurant areas.

Updated 26/11/2010

Name: Restaurant
Type: Entire Venue
Days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Cost - Hire Fee: £ 100 / Min Bar Spend: £ 20
Options: Food Available, Seating Available,
DJ: None
Capacity: 36
Notes: Please pre order the dishes in advance. Min of 1 week booking in advance. Out front fee of 50% plus B.Y.O.B. corkage charge of £1 per person.

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Venue ID: 20715

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Loved

"Hi guys, I come here with my friends and have very good time. I like your place very much and is very good times. I come back when I can soon. Thank you very much." Which venue is this?

Hated

"Dreadful pub, run by people who have zero idea about hospitality or running a pub. Upon arrival we sat in the back garden that only had one other table occupied , when we tried to order off the lunch menu..." Which venue is this?

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