Monday, 29 July 2013


 As with any other country-specific foods, I suppose, where there is a 'correct' taste to these dishes, it was the authenticity of the vibrant Malaysian flavours which I was eager to judge during my dining experience at C&R in Chinatown.

But aren't you from Singapore?

Singaporean cuisine consists of mainly Chinese, Malay and Indian food, and there is usually a fair amount of each type in hawker centres and local eateries.

Likewise, Malaysian cuisine includes lots of Chinese, Malay (duh) and Indian delicacies too. Southeast Asia has a great potpourri of local foods – it's like we had this unspoken selection process happening throughout the decades, and the survivors of gustatory judgement (i.e. dishes we all can't get enough of) have been accepted as ours.

Then there's Thailand who's up there adding crushed peanuts and lime juice into everything and having their own little party.

C&R boasts an extensive menu of all the Malaysian/Singaporean favourites, from *real* Singapore Fried Noodles to nasi lemak, from chendol to ice kacang. And they just had to, had to, had to throw in the Asian-dining-in-Europe quintessential: Pad Thai.

The portions are exceptionally huge for some reason, but it makes me feel alright about spending £6.50 on my mountain of mee siam which is SG$3.50 (£1.75) in Singapore for a more sensible portion.

It's a little unfair, but my mum makes the best mee siam in the world, (recipe up soon) so I can't say that this dish was brilliant. Unlike the version served in a milky, spicy soup back home, this is the original 'dry' version which is truly Malaysian. These noodles were surprisingly spicy for my standards, let alone for the poor tongues of the British. I downed the iced Milo in the background quickly, but the spiciness lingered. Before the chilli became torturous, I did enjoy the noodles, which were tasty enough with a fragrance of bean-paste, and came with prawns, tried tofu, beansprouts, fried egg and some veggies. If I'm not wrong, the lemon wedge should have been a lime instead.

Char kway teow is also another extremely popular dish of Malaysia and Singapore. It is described as 'broad rice noodles stir-fried with egg, prawn, fishcake and bean sprouts.' This dish was actually of the average Singaporean standard, but then again, with black sauce, everything usually comes out okay. I'm glad they added in the chives, which are necessary for a great taste and texture contrast, together with the crunchy bean sprouts, an added yay-factor.

I definitely recommend sharing one dish between two diners, (unless you're a big guy/not having dessert/skipped breakfast/trying to gain weight) or taking away the leftovers. (Additional cost of 50p) Singaporeans and Malaysians will rejoice at this eatery which serves all our authentic local favourites at a good value.

C&R Café
4 Rupert Court
London W1D 6DY

C & R Cafe on Urbanspoon
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