Kuala Lumpur Café: Bringing Malaysia to Headingley

I had been meaning to go to Kuala Lumpur Café, the unassuming Malaysian restaurant located in the heart of Headingley, since it opened its doors, so last week was my first visit.

The cosy restaurant and friendly staff made the evening enjoyable and the unusual flavours and textures of Malaysian food on offer created an eating experience not to be missed. 

My friend and I decided to order a few dishes to share, with everything served at the same time. We opted for the Gado-Gado salad, which is a traditional Malaysian salad of warm vegetables including cabbage, green beans and bean sprouts, served with a spicy peanut sauce and crispy tofu. The dish was intriguing, unlike anything I have eaten before, but as a lover of peanut butter, it went down a treat. I really liked the combination of fresh and spicy flavours and the crunch of the vegetables. I can imagine this would make a great main meal for those who like lighter dishes. 

Next, we opted for the karipap, which were also from the starter menu. Karipap are crispy Malaysian dumplings stuffed with chicken and potato, a little like mini pasties. We both really liked the crunchy pastry and the soft, slightly spiced filling, but had to give the chilli dip a miss as it was too hot for us. 

For our mains, we chose chicken gulao, which is a classic, spicy coconut milk-laced curry infused with cinnamon, star anise and pandan leaves. The chicken was incredibly moist, and the sauce was rich, creamy and heavily spiced. The curry was served with a plate of Nasi Lemak which is aromatic coconut rice served with traditional Malaysian chili sauce, peanuts, fried anchovies and boiled egg. We ordered an extra serving of Nasi Lemak to make sure we had plenty of food to share. We both enjoyed the rice, although there was a lot of it, but we weren’t fans of the crunchy anchovies! 

Although we had both eaten a lot, we wanted to try a Malaysian dessert. We ordered the custard cake, which was served with ice cream. When it came out, we were surprised to see that it was green, but after the first bite, both agreed that it was tasty, and loved the combination of warm cake with ice cream. 

Overall, we had a fabulous evening at Kulua Lumpur Café. The food was interesting,  flavoursome, and very good value for money. The service was also great and we both appreciated the effort that the small restaurant had gone to, to ensure all the required COVID-19 precautions (including sanitizing stations, a clear screen at the welcome area and a reduced number of tables) were in place.

I would definitely recommend Kuala Lumpur Café – so add it to your list of local restaurants to visit over the coming months. 

Feature photograph courtesy of Kuala Lumpur. Remaining photographs by Gemma Bridge.

Dr Gemma Bridge

Gemma, who works at Leeds Beckett University, has been writing for over 10 years and loves to share what's going on in and around Leeds. She is also an international athlete, artist and the creator of Leeds Food Guide. You can find her on Instagram at @GLB_racewalk or @Leeds_FoodGuide

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