Where to Eat : RESTORAN THE BIRD
More than birds served here
Restoran The Bird
5 Jalan 3/62D
Medan Putra Business Centre
Bandar Manjalara Kepong
Business Hours: Daily, lunch (10.30am-2.30pm); dinner (5.30pm-11pm). Closed on Wednesdays.
The bird is an auspicious animal for the Chinese as it brings happiness and freedom.
Based on this, restaurant owner Desmond Liew and his partners decided on the bird to be the centre of their business concept.
Owners Desmond, Jimmy Liew and James Leong named their restaurant after a 10-foot bird-shaped congkak (a traditional Malay board game) belonging to Desmond.
To complement the name, the owners also introduced three menus named Early Bird, Evening Bird and Late Bird.
The dishes in these menus however are not bird-based. They are much more diverse, covering many a Malaysian favourite.
Restoran The Bird, however, specialises on serving a fusion of Malay, Thai, Nyonya and Chinese cuisines.
The Early and Late Bird menus comprise snacks such Roti Bakar, satay, noodles and rice dishes like Steamed Seafood Rice in Pot, Chicken Porridge, Curry Mutton with Rice and Assam Fish with Rice among others.
The Evening Bird menu lists the a la carte selections.
While the appetisers see small servings of Fried Sotong, Grilled Kembong, Pandan Chicken and Marmite Chicken Wings, the main dishes are separated into Chicken, Beef, Shrimp, Lala and Fish and the side dishes under Egg, Tofu and Vegetables.
Jimmy, who is chief chef, is pretty innovative in creating interesting dishes.
One dish in particular is the Thai Black Pepper Chicken Wings, which is actually just a snack. He learnt the recipe from a friend when they were working in a restaurant in New Zealand.
The only difference in their recipes is that Jimmy's version has deep-fried chicken wings while his friend prefers the barbecue version.
Jimmy, who also started the D n J Nasi Lemak outlet before he went to New York, said the wings are first marinated with black pepper, coriander seeds and mustards before they are deep-fried.
Some of the recipes are akin to Western cooking style but use homegrown ingredients.
Bird's eye chilli, curry leaves and curry powder form the main ingredients in the Butter King Fish recipe.
Butter and milk are added to give the deep-fried garoupa its fragrant and creamy taste and texture.
A Thai-inspired dish is the Thai Basil Leaf Shrimp, which has a thick and spicy homemade sauce that uses galangal and chilli with the basil, giving the dish its herbal aroma and flavour.
Jimmy has not forgotten to add to the menu his famous Nasi Lemak Chicken Curry made popular at D n J.
The dish is served on a woven tray lined with banana leaves.
Another irresistible must is the Sarawak Laksa with its thick and spicy gravy.
The paste, says Jimmy, is flown in regularly from Sarawak.
“We don't just cook the gravy with the paste. Instead, we add seafood paste with galangal to improve its taste,” he says.
With Desmond being an actor as well, it is not surprising to find the outlet's décor artistically inclined.
It’s attention-grabbing fuchsia exterior is enhanced by a sunny yellow interior and grass green floor.
Though the colours may appear too strong for some, they do wonders in highlighting the antique cookery tools used for décorating.
Among the décorations are photographs of Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, James Dean and Frank Sinatra.
On the ceiling, birds' cages converted into creative lamps add warmth to the place.
With all the details given to the interior, one can only agree that Restoran The Bird speaks of the owners' passion for all things unique.