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Apr 30, 2009 03:54 PM

Sedap - Old Street, London - Report

I'm visiting London for 7 days this week, in preparation for moving here in September. I am coming most recently from San Francisco, so I'm excited to start exploring the London food scene next autumn! I have lots of reading to do :)

Tonight I met up with Limster for a meal at Sedap. I thought it was very good - best Malaysian food I have had outside of Malaysia - definitely better than what I could find in Boston or San Francisco. We shared:

Roti Prata w/ Chicken Curry - The roti was crispy and flaky, clearly freshly made. Quite good. I liked the chicken curry - it tasted a tad undersalted to me - but it was still good.

Seafood Crab - Crabmeat, shrimp, cuttlefish and fish stuffed in a crabshell. This was served w/ some pickled vegetables and a sweet chili sauce. I liked this, though I wouldn't necessarily order it again. But it's something I had never tried before and the presentation was cool.

Penang Char Kway Teow - The noodles were served hot out of the wok, and they were very good. I especially liked the bits of Chinese sausage. Shrimp were cooked perfectly. The serving seemed small to me - I realize that servings in UK tend to be smaller than the US (in the US, this dish would have been twice as big), but I still noticed the small serving most in this dish, especially considering the price.

Sambal Brinjal - Nice presentation, eggplant was tender and the sambal was spicy. I wouldn't necessarily order this again either, but I would definitely order other dishes with the sambal.

Curry Tumis Fish - This was my favorite of the lot. I felt the serving here was pretty generous - chunks of boneless sea bream and perfectly cooked okra in a sweet and sour curry broth. This reminded me of similar Cambodian and Malaysian dishes I'd had before, but the balance of flavors in the sauce was perfect - just the right amount of sour/sweet/spicy. We had to order extra rice to soak up all the sauce. I would definitely come back just for this dish.

Nyonya Kuih - We each had an order of this - really good! The dessert tonight was freshly made, and was a cake made w/ tapioca and coconut. It reminded me of a cross between a mochi and a macaroon.

Limster got a frothy milk tea which was also really good - I only had a sip as I was avoiding caffeine to fight jetlag.

We finished everything, but I was quite full afterwards. So this was a good/generous amount for 2 people.

Once I'm back in the UK, I definitely plan on returning!

Dave MP

pictures of: roti prata, seafood crab, eggplant, fish curry

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  1. one more picture: dessert

    102 Old St, Islington, Greater London EC1V 9, GB

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dave MP

      Thanks for your report, Dave. We look forward to your sharing culinary experiences once you get here in September. Good luck with the move!

    2. We ate here last night and really enjoyed it too. Char kway teow and chicken curry were both excellent, though I wasn't that impressed with the nyonya kuih. (Just not to my taste).

      All very tasty, perfect service and reasonably priced. I'd definitely go back. One thing I did wonder about was MSG usage because we both suffered with headaches afterwards.

      1. Your description is making me drool, Dave MP. Sedap's definitely top of my list when I visit London next.

        4 Replies
        1. re: klyeoh

          Made it to Sedap last weekend. We had:
          - Roti prata with chicken curry: it was a real a pleasure to find Chinese/Nyonya-style curry for a change. The prata was a tad oily though;
          - Sambal okra & prawns: it was delicious, though the heat factor was toned down to sit local tastes, I guess;
          - Assam tumis fish: should have been a bit more sourish, sweeter & spicier - but I guess, here again, it's been made milder to suit local tastes;
          - Penang fried koay teow: good. To have anything better, you need to go to Penang;
          - Belachan-fried chicken (or, as we call in Singapore: "har cheong kai"): nice & crisp;
          - Hainanese chicken rice: a bit bland, but very good nonetheless.
          - Nyonya kuih: the only version available that evening was "pulot tay-tay", glutinous rice topped with "kaya" (egg-coconut custard). Delicious!
          We had the teh tarik as well, which was really good. All in all, perhaps the best place to have Malaysian/Singaporean food in town.

          The only place which offered better, more authentic Malay food was the Malaysia Student Hall Canteen on Queensborough Terrace, Bayswater - but it's only open to Malaysians & their guests. The food there was incredible: 100% unadulterated Malay food - perhaps the only place in the UK where you can find this!

          1. re: klyeoh

            What do you mean it's "only open to Malaysians and their guests?" I just looked it up and found a few references and reviews online, and from what I read, it doesn't seem like anything would be stopping me (a non-Malaysian) from walking in and eating.....aside from potential language barriers, I'd probably be fine. Has anyone else been here?




            1. re: Dave MP

              its an old favourite on these boards - and you certainly don't have to be malaysian to eat there. excellent in the 'canteen food' category, perhaps a better (albeit pricier) canteen experience than the indian ymca.

              1. re: Dave MP

                Sshhh, theoretically, it's only opened to Malaysians. That's coz the place is subsidized by the Malaysian Govt. Non-Malaysians can go in only if accompanied by Malaysians. They've never enforced this rule strictly - in my previous visits (even the old Bryanstone Sq location), there were Pakistanis, Iranians & Middle-Eastern diners who were there for cheap, good, halal food.

                The Malaysian Govt closed the last canteen due to "cost-cutting" measures. However, after hue & cry from the Malaysian student fraternity and generations of Malaysians who lived in London/UK and had fond memories of the place, the Govt decided to open the new canteen in Queensborough Terrace.

                Where else in London can you get a meal for 2 (photo below) for only GBP16: stuffed whole fish with chillis, the best beef rendang in London, sambal petai with prawns, chicken in turmeric curry, tapioca leaves simmered in coconut milk (daun keladi masam lemak), rice with mango salad, and "teh tarik" drinks? Best kept secret in London - but don't let this out, for if the place is flooded with non-Malays, the M'sian Govt may enforce its "Malaysian students only" rule!

          2. Four of us went to Sedap on Saturday night and gave the menu a good work-out. I'm not an expert on Malaysian food but my friend Ellen is - she is from Singapore but her family is from Penang. We had:

            Roti prata with chicken curry - quite nice, but not outstanding and my friend reckoned the prata was frozen not freshly made.

            Kerabu prawn - a spicy salad with prawns. We loved this. it was spicy hot but very tasty indeed with a nice aromatic flavour from the fresh herbs (tasted like mint to me). Highly recommended, but not for the spice intolerant.

            Malaysian chicken satay - a nice rendition with well-spiced meat and a mild peanut sauce.

            Malaysian blachan chicken - this showed a deft hand with the deep-fryer but I couldn't really taste any of the marinade. It was served with a pretty standard sweet chilli sauce.

            Curry Tumis Fish - like the OP, loved this. Great balance of sweet/sour/spicy. One of my favourites.

            Penang Char Kway Teow - enjoyed this too. Nice consistency to the noodles.

            Tow Yu Bak - belly pork stewed with sweet soy sauce. My favourite of the main dishes. Absolutely loved it - meltingly tender and savoury-sweet without being cloying. Gorgeous.

            Sambal brinjal - quite good but not exceptional.

            Sambal balachan - my friend asked for this as it's not on the menu but is a standard condiment apparently. She said it was just like the one her Mum makes.

            We had three bottles of wine and the bill came to about £30 each without service. So pretty good value. My friend gave it an A minus.

            2 Replies
            1. re: greedygirl

              IIRC, the sambal belachan is on the menu, lower right corner at £1.80 (same section as the tau you bak).

              1. re: limster

                Forgot to say - also had beef rendang (good) and tried the nonyah desserts. I didn't dislike them, but I think they're an acquired taste - my friend loved them.

            2. Last night I returned to Sedap with my aunt, uncle and cousin. We had a great meal. I really like this place a lot!

              We shared:

              Roti prata with chicken (ordered an extra roti) - Freshly made and tasty, although the roti are on the thick side. The chicken curry is very nice.

              Nasi lemak plate - This also came with the same (or at least very similar?) chicken curry - the mackerel was a single fried piece of fish, topped with a shrimp paste/chili sauce - the fish was fried quite well. Overall, a nice plate of food, but nothing earthshattering here.

              Curry Tumis fish - Once again, in my opinion, was the best dish on the table. Really great balance of flavors in the broth, perfectly cooked tender fish and thin pieces of okra. A real winner

              Buah Petai with prawn and coconut curry - Our waitress was worried we might not like the taste of the buah petai (a bean with a supposedly strong flavor). I have been asked about this same bean before at a different restaurant in Boston, which I think is strange, because to me the flavor isn't that strong at all. I quite liked these beans, and the shrimp were cooked perfectly. The coconut curry sauce was a bit rich and sweet for me, but still pretty good.

              Penang Char Kway Teow - Very nicely prepared noodles, but again I feel the portion is a bit too small.

              For dessert we shared one each of: pandan leaf and coconut nyonya kuih, which I really liked, and the tapioca one which i had last time, which I love. Definitely do not skip dessert at this place.

              Total bill for 4 people, 1 beer, 1 tea and a side of sambal blachan was about £47 I think? So pretty reasonable pricing considering that overall quality of food, as well as service, is really excellent. I'll definitely be back

              Dave MP

              1 Reply
              1. re: Dave MP

                Went to try Sedap today at lunch and they have a lunch special for 6.50 for 2 courses. Its 5.65 if you stick to beef,chicken or vegetable.
                I had Kerabu Vegetable salad which was lovely beyond description, but I'll try, sweet , tangy, a little tangy and fresh and clean flavours. Mint and cucumber with a sweet vinegar dressing ; will go back for this dish alone.
                As main I had King Prawn Lemak with steamed rice, nice but nothing special.
                I wished I had tried the Roti Prata with chicken but I am a sucker for an offer and this was not part of the lunch offer menu.
                Will take friends for dinner and splurge as the people who ran the place could not have been friendlier , you can tell from the welcome this is a family run place - they care about everything and interesting photos on wall . I will be returning , well done you guys for finding this place, I have a feeling it will become a regular haunt.