From Berjaya Times Square, Sungei Wang Plaza, Low Yat Plaza, to Pavilion KL and KLCC, you’re always in close proximity to late night partying and drinking. During the day, however, when these night spots are in rest mode, Limablas is a warm and inviting contrast that is nestled among the many clubhouses and bars. Playing behind the scenes like an underdog, Limablas is hidden among the modern high rises, plating up some of grandma’s finest nyonya recipes.
The restaurant, run by two brothers, reflects the tale of a grateful and appreciative past. The man you don’t see quite often, is the man you forget the most: the chef. Peter, the chef with a big smile on his face, works hard on a daily basis, buying, preparing and cooking the ingredients that make the delicious array of food on his menu. A day at the office for Peter includes waking up in the wee hours, going to the wet market to purchase fresh ingredients and then heading back to his kitchen. He also happens to be the adopted little brother of Simon, the owner of the well restored restaurant. Raised by Simon’s family, Peter stands out in the crowd with his Cantonese speaking abilities and amazing culinary skills.
Grateful for his Cantonese and his cooking abilities, when it comes to the heavenly palette pleasers, Peter is shy to take all the credit. Instead, he talks about his training as a sous chef, mentored by the man who hung the apron on his shoulders. He speaks fondly of this period and proudly states that his cooking remains authentic, using mostly sugar and salt as seasoning. Like any proud Malaysian who cooks, he also chimes in that his dishes are prepared without recipes, coming straight from the heart. As we arrived, Peter was already busy behind the stove, dishing out the food that would soon fill our bellies; pongteh, masak kuah lada, gerang asam, sambal petai prawn, kangkung goreng belacan, and a tester dish of black chicken. The pongteh, a standard Nyonya chicken dish made with soy sauce and palm sugar, was plated with potatoes, tender and soaked with pongteh juice, a definite palette pleaser. Gerang asam, on the other hand, is sting ray cooked in a red sauce, doused in citrusy and savoury undertones with a tinge of spiciness that can be tweaked upon request. This dish enlivens your taste buds and goes down a treat! The complement to this dish is the masak kuah lada, a zesty fish and eggplant dish prepared with plenty of lush gravy! Next came the sambal petai prawns that have just the right amount of kick from the petai beans, pungent tasting and packed with health benefits, along with just the appropriate amount of spice tickle.
The spice train rolled on with the kangkung goreng belacan, a true local favourite. Kangkung, a vegetable commonly found in Malaysia, is leafy and fibrous with smooth and hollow stems. Belacan, a saucy mixture of chilli and scallions, is simmered until fragrant and then added to the kangkung to fry until soft. Scooped in the perfect spoon proportions on to steaming rice, the amalgamation of all the flavours from the dishes make for a perfect meal! To wash it down, we had Limablas’ house special ginger cocktail, made with a special mixture. Fully refreshed, we were served sago gula Melaka, a delectable dessert drenched in rich coconut milk and sweetened with palm sugar imported from the straits of Malacca, the home of Nyonya food. Weighing in with a heartfelt story of origin and plenty of authentic, MSG-free Nyonya delicacies, Limablas is a must stop gastronomic spot while you tour Kuala Lumpur, adding a local culinary touch second to none! Sitting on a small row of vintage houses, Limablas neighbours with eateries, bars and even art classes if you feel the need to feed your creativity following a meal.