Cuisine: Malaysian

The artists behind the grey pictures and colourful murals on Kuali’s walls provide a peek into the rural area around Kuala Lumpur and the brightly lit urban capital city of today. A peek is never enough, but you will be convinced by the dollop of spicy sambal dropped into the peanut sauce accompanying kajang satay, skewered charcoal-grilled beef fillets darkened in the right spots $11. No illustration at Kuali reveals Malaysia quite like the smoky nasi goreng with belacan $14 tossed with copious amounts of that small yet powerful condiment, fried onions. Baked cassava served with coconut icecream $8 can be the mushy finish to your fiery sambal-icious experience. Expect to get intimate with Malaysia because the real artists at Kuali are without doubt the chefs in its kitchen.

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Cuisine: Malaysian,Indian

The elephant-headed deity Ganesha is known as the Remover of Obstacles;  if the obstacle in front of you is a grumbling stomach, this unpretentious Indian eatery will take care of it. A recent makeover means the room is now a more welcoming and spacious place to eat, but who cares about the aesthetics — we’re here to try the food. The simple and well-thought-out menu features traditional dishes from the length and breadth of India, along with a few innovative touches. Softshell crab $14 is a standout entree, while succulent slow-cooked lamb shanks $18 or goat in pickling spice $18 will put an end to your stomach’s complaints. Housemade cardamom and pistachio-flavoured kulfi from $5 for dessert confirm this place is more than your average suburban Indian.


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Cuisine: Malaysian,Indian,Seafood,Japanese

Taiki means “big tree” in Japanese and the idea behind this place, conceived by owner/chef Yoshiki Fukonaga, is that it would become the tree under which friends and family would enjoy a meal. It certainly feels familial: clean, cosy and decorated with Japanese artworks on the walls and banners hanging from the ceiling. The menu combines traditional and modern Japanese cuisine with an emphasis, of course, on sushi and sashimi. Share courses with tablemates to get the most out of it. Begin light with yakigaki, a plate of faultlessly fresh oysters with housemade anchovy butter $36.80 (a dozen) and crispy, salty and tender tempura calamari $11.80. Main courses could see the appearance of wagyu beef served on a sizzling plate $39.80 or Taiki salad of crabmeat with oranges, avocado and soy dressing $24.80. This big tree offers big taste.

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