We read about Subak on Masak-masak’s website, and decided to go hunt for this ‘highland’ dining restaurant, for ourselves.
Subak’s architecture is inspired by the highland, Balinese styled rice terrace irrigation system and you can immediately feel the calm, serene vibe of the place when the only sounds you hear are the gurgling of water and the hum of nature.
It took some effort getting here (but we had a great navigator so we didn’t get lost.. not once!) but if you are unsure of the Kampung Sungai Penchala area, kindly refer to the map at the end of this blog.
The Blue Coracao is the house specialty. Mocktails, of course but still incredibly refreshing and tangy.
Though we are sitting outdoors, the place is airy and cooling even in the heat of day. Looking up, we noticed that the roofing was some sort of organized, dried leave weave. Asking the waiter if it was the normal attap leaf, he said no, it was in fact, dried lalang which the owner had brought all the way back from Indonesia. Heat/bug/rain treated and Fire-proof, it is a more expensive, classy, durable alternative to the common attap coconut leaves. It also lets in a lot of cool air and breeze. Lovely!
We were recommended the following starters by our friendly waiter. As a matter of fact, we were recommended all the dishes you will see below.
Ibu Yati’s gado gado is essentially vegetable salad in a crispy popiah skin bowl, served with a bumbu peanut sauce. Oh my word! This peanut sauce was amazing.. neither too sweet nor over pulverized, it had the most nutty taste and gritty texture imaginable. I drank the whole damn bowl.
The Pak Ajelan’s Balinese Style Chicken “Soto” was fantastic as well. We are normally use to the less thick version but this chicken consommé served with cubes of compressed rice, vegetables, shredded chicken, potato etc, was the thickest broth I have ever tried. It tasted almost like it had been enriched with santan – that’s how rich it was. Delicious.
Next up was this strange looking kebab. The guy said there was no skewer for this kebab of sea scallops, tiger prawns and fish pieces. How weird.. first time I have ever eaten a stickless kebab. (Wait a minute, they did not say shish kebab though, did they?)
This dish had a strong prevailing taste of garlic, ginger, spring onion and a long lingering after taste of teriyaki marinade. I loved the baby potatoes that came with it as it tempered the sweet notes of the teriyaki most effectively.
The lamb shank served on a bed of mashed up sweet potato was good. Not the best I have had – the meat was tender enough but I wish it had more cartiligous parts to it. The Masala marinade was a nice touch, lending the tenderized meat an exotic, spice infused aroma.
I could not possibly pass up the only chance I had of ‘alcohol’ that day in a halal restaurant, so I picked the Tapai. Oh, that stinky, cloying vapour of the Tapai hits my nose the minute the rice touches my palate… Yes! I really do enjoy a good Tapai! I was more than happy to have that rice, all on its own, but the ice-cream that came with it, went nicely as well.
The Es Teler, some sort of version of the Thai Tap Tim Grob perhaps, was an assortment of fruits served in chilled coconut milk. This was a great refreshing dessert and of special note was the inclusion of avocado in the mix. Apparently avocado is a complete meal in itself, as it contains all the major food groups in its silky, plump, little yellow and green body.
Well it looks then, like I’ve had TWO delicious meals today, in one sitting. Good for me.
All in all, a memorable, off the beaten track, dining experience for us. For PJ folk, it’s a real bonus, not having to traipse all the way to Ampang for ‘forest’ dining. All that’s lacking in this place is a spa… We will be back!
Jalan Penchala Indah
Bukit Lanjan, KL.
(Look here for a MAP!)
Tel No: 603 772 99030