London - Kopitiam / Asian Twist Delicious
- alifedelicious Nov 27, 2012 07:19 AM
Kopitiam, the Malaysian stalwart has closed. I discovered it several weeks back to my shock and horror.
Happily, a new Malaysian restaurant with the bizarre name of "Asian Twist Delicious", owned by the owners of the now-defunct Kopitiam, has sprung up next door to replace it. Asian Twist Delicious is run by a family from Ipoh. There is even an Ipoh Indian chef manning the hot plate where roti canai (and all sorts of roti, tosa, and even murtabak) are freshly made to order, which is very rare and a clear differentiating feature in the UK!
I ordered a Hainanese Chicken Rice, which used to be my staple at Kopitiam. While the rice was as fragrant and delicious as before, the chicken was clearly a notch below the old Kopitiam standard - not as smooth and juicy as I had been used to.
We ordered a Roti Canai with Fish Curry - The roti canai was really good, being freshly made. If I were to nitpick, I would say that the roti canai could be slightly lighter and fluffier, if the chef had beat it up a bit more. The fish curry was thick, aromatic and tangy, like a good fish curry should be - full marks here! The fish itself in the curry was deep fried... which I'm less in favour of.
The restaurant very kindly let me try a piece of their chicken curry. While I prefer the old Nyonya Chicken Curry at New Fook Lam Moon, given they have now changed chef / recipe, the point is moot, and the Chicken Curry at Asian Twist Delicious definitely a contender for the top 'Malaysian chicken curry in London' spots (happy to hear views on where else I can get authentic Nyonya Chicken Curry)
Yes, I went to Guan Dong as well, because the Malaysian guy I know asked me to give it a go (I'd been visiting Kopitiam once or twice a week for a year. as soon as i took a 4-6 week break, it closes down!)
Anyway, I went in the second week, when there was 30% discount on the food.
Although it's meant to be a North-Eastern (东北) restaurant and the chef is from the region, the menu is completely eclectic ranging from XinJiang to Sichuan to Cantonese dishes, and I struggled to identify any dishes which were distinctively North-Eastern.
In spite of the lack of focus, the food was of a decent standard, though I think the restaurant might struggle since it doesn't really have a differentiating factor.
Review of Guan Dong below:
Century eggs with tofu- Soft tofu topped with chopped century eggs and spring onions and drizzled with light soy sauce. A safe, fairly standard dish which met expectations.
Yang Chow fried rice - This was disappointing, more like a glorified Egg Fried Rice than a Yang Chow Fried Rice with fewer ingredients and of a smaller portion than most Yang Chow Fried Rice, but it was not too surprising, given the corresponding lower price point for this dish.
Stir fried Japanese tofu with king prawns - 'King prawns' is a overstating it, but the dish was really delicious - the sauce was aromatic and tasted of egg, further enhancing the egg-flavours of the Japanese tofu.
Braised fish in spicy and sour sauce - The braised fish was reasonably-priced (even before the discount) and nicely cooked - the flesh was tender and soft, and the accompanying sauce was flavourful.
Xinjiang lamb dishes were good - The lamb cutlet was succulent and well-marinated with cumin and other spices. Yummy. The pieces of lamb on the skewer were tender and well-spiced.
Interesting - I didn't even realise that Malaysia Kopitiam was closed during my last visit to London. Did you find out the reason for the name change & move to new premises next door? Maybe break-up in business partnership? During my last visit there in January, the guy who manned the till had a HK accent when he spoke to me, although we know the owners were Chinese-Malaysians (they were featured in "Singapore Flavours", a local TV programme on the food channel in Singapore).
BTW, if you liked the Nyonya chicken curry at New Fook Lam Moon, then you *must* try the one at Sedap, which is even more authentic:
I asked the Malaysian guy I know about the change in ownership, but didn't manage to get a straight / clear answer. From what I know, the Kopitiam owner decided to buy the shop next door, and installed an Ipoh family there (I think it's a partnership), and the original Kopitiam site has been converted into 'Guan Dong' a North-Eastern (东北) in partnership with a PRC owner.
I tried finding out where the original Kopitiam chef had gone to (because I liked his Hainanese Chicken Rice and Curry Chicken), but they hedged the answer, unsurprisingly. Anyway, if you find out where he lands (or has landed), let me know!
Hmm... I tried the curry chicken at Sedap once, albeit several years ago and wasn't very impressed... they used boneless breast meat, which just isn't the real thing. I don't know if they've changed since then. I'm a card-carrying member of the Sedap Char Kuay Teow fan squad though! :) I haven't been to Sedap so often recently since I stopped working in that area.
Oh and by the way, the menu at Asian Twist Delicious has already changed:
- They now serve a shorter menu, a bit more eclectic menu (including some Tempura dishes).
- The fish curr (for Roti Telur and Tosa) y is now more diluted, though still tangy.
- The Curry Laksa is reasonably good (still prefer Kopitiam's) with a strong flavour of fried onions
btw, i went back to Sedap last week to try their Nyonya curry chicken, per your suggestion. I think i must've mixed up Sedap's curry chicken with another one, because they did serve the chicken with bones. The curry was quite textured, so they clearly grind all their spices themselves, which is good. But I still personally prefer New Fook Lam Moon's old curry because it's spicier, but obviously that's irrelevant now.
the same kopitiam cook came back, and they now have a new cook from ipoh
basically it looks like some kind of dodgy scam to get the family from ipoh to invest in the equity in asian twist delicious, which then became unviable when the original kopitiam was reopened (the roti canai guy moved his stall over to kopitiam as well, since there was greater footfall there)
or maybe it was a result of business dispute between the original kopitiam cook and the owner, and he was trying to negotiate for a higher salary or equity? sounds like the second cook might be from the asian twist delicious family
It seems that non London residents like myself are in trouble, we need a detective to go and investigate
1. Whether Kopitiam has truly reopened? Dated 6 March 2015
2. Has the original cooks gone, together with Hokkien Mee?
3. What is the phone no. of Kopitiam or Asian Twist Delicious? I have tried their old tel. nos. hopeless lah!!
Malaysia Kopitiam is back in full swing when I was there last night. Their roti canai is the *best* I'd ever had in London, ever! Perfectly fluffy, yet crisp - served fresh off the griddle by the hefty Chef Sugen, an Indian-Malaysian from Ipoh.
I cannot vouch for the other dishes there though - Chef Sugen does roti canai and murtabak only. The Chinese dishes are done by another cook in the kitchen at the back.
A Singaporean friend, long-time resident in London, went to Malaysia Kopitiam last week to try the Nasi Lemak. She said she *never* eats Nasi Lemak outside her home as her Mum cooks the best Nasi Lemak she'd ever had. Well, she got curious whilst at Malaysia Kopitiam and ordered the Nasi Lemak on top of Roti Canai. She was astounded to find out that Malaysia Kopitiam's Nasi Lemak actually tasted as good (if not better) than her Mum's!
Well, I was back at Malaysia Kopitiam this evening just to try the Nasi Lemak. Verdict: It's good - not exactly as good as those from my fave spots in Kuala Lumpur (Madam Kwan's, Sakura) - but better than those from many places in Singapore and Malaysia, let alone London!
The pan-fried "carrot cake" with sambal, replete with eggs and beansprouts, was also very tasty.
I read in several places that Kopi Tiam is CLOSED!! Here in this post, you mentioned it is reopened, is it in the same address? I tried to get their phone no. to check, their phone nos. not working also. Is the address below still applicable? Thanks for replying asap, I hope to visit them soon.
Malaysia Kopi Tiam
67 Charing Cross Rd, London, Greater London WC2H 7, GB