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Rasa Sayang (Restaurant)

Picture of Rasa Sayang in West End, London

5 Macclesfield Street, West End, London, W1D 6AY
Cuisine: Malaysian Average Price: £35.00
Tel: 0207 734 1382 | Transport: Piccadilly Circus | Write review

Rasa Sayang Review

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Not an obvious choice of restaurant for the heart of China Town, but Rasa Sayang has built a reputation for itself, playing on its unique Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine combination. Open just over a year (as of March 2010), this two-floor restaurant is certainly attracting plenty of punters – and it’s still only a Monday night.

Let’s take first impressions. Rasa Sayang is simplistic - from the Ikea wooden chairs to the table framework to the white walls - and the imagination is left fresh for the food. OK, some black and white frames of yester-year Malaysia give a snapshot of the Asian experience, but it doesn’t tell me much about my food, yet.

As the duty manager greets me, there seems to be a mix up concerning our table. I scan the room and see that many diners are happily consuming their dishes with not one spare table in sight. This raises positive impressions because what restaurant can be this busy on a weekday, after all? Plus, the numerous Malaysian faces hint that quality south-east Asian food is on the horizon.

We’re finally seated on the quieter basement floor, which takes away the atmosphere of the whole experience. There is another table finishing off their meal behind me and, other than that, I only have my date for company. Looking around, the décor is sparser than upstairs and although the music is playing at a low background volume, the fact that I can barely hear Britney Spears and her warbling is probably a good thing.

So, to the menu; I like spice as much as the next person but it has to be balanced. Rule one: it must be tasty. Rule two: it can’t burn my mouth to the point where I’m putting out fires on my tongue with numerous glasses of water. So the fact that Rasa Sayang offers a two-part menu, with “Singaporean Straits” and “Hot Stuff” dishes separated, is a blessing in disguise.

The charcoal grilled satay is a tasty and succulent skewer to get things started. The staff also recommend the curry laksa, a traditionally spicy egg noodle and broth dish which, although the presentation is nothing to write home about, lives up to what is expected from the region in taste. The picture menu of the char kuay teow (wok fried noodles with seafood in a ‘superior’ sauce) is misleading as it ends up being quite bland and tastes more like an overpowering soy sauce, contrary to its description.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Asian sweets and the biggest disappointment was the desserts. Despite being talked up by staff, they don’t offer much, with only sugary rice cakes and milk drinks for the taking. The kueh dada and the equally glutinous sago gula melaka will only delight hardcore dessert lovers, and not my dentist.

Drinks-wise, the soya cincau (a cold soy-milk drink mixed with jelly) puts out those spicy tongue fires, or the warmer tarik milk tea adds a frothy end to the meal. However, be warned: this may not be suitable for the lactose intolerant (my anti-dairytastic fiancé asked repeatedly but the next day was unpleasant for him in so many ways). Stick to the house white, it sits well with the many seafood dishes on offer.

Rasa Sayang means well, offering simplicity and value for money minus any blasé-ness. This particular visit would have been more memorable with the atmosphere and banter from the dining room above, but with some hit and miss dishes, Malay may not be a priority for my next dining experience. If deciding to give Rasa Sayang a go, be sure to choose carefully to ensure that the plate suits your palate. more

Customer Reviews for Rasa Sayang

Average (based on 1 votes): 1 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Rasa Sayang.

“Basically, I thought the noodle dish I had was a bit bland. My partner's curry was really nice though, so I'd probably have that if I went again. The staff were quite friendly and helpful with recommendations too, even if i didn't end up agreeing with their advice!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Liam Ring, London (11 years 1 days ago)

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