Sunday, 18 May 2008

Last night at Awana

Image care of London Eating web site, somewhere we use as a rough gage of shall we, shan't we go there.

We love a good nosh in central London and like to try somewhere new in the centre with good food and service every few months. As we couldn't get a table in Crazy Bear ,or Chicago rib shack , ( major nostalgia) , we opted for Awana instead with some friends. I quite liked the atmosphere ; low ceilings , dark chocolate fabric walls and warm oaky woods. Although some feel its a bit stark and paired down for Malaysian tastes, having been to Kaula Lumpor , I think Malaysians seem to favour this minimal feel.
The hostess seemed a little impatiently huffed at He the mans going to the bathroom at the point of taking us to the table. We were walked through the whole restaurant and taken to a table nearest the kitchen door and complained , within minutes we were moved to one right in the thick of things and we all calmed down!
The service was quite attentive and helpful , as the menu is enormous and we needed some guided navigation. On completing the order we felt a little like we had been up-sold , (as our friend phrased), more dishes to us than was required.
Anyway enough interior design , onto the food. Firstly us girls had our cocktails , "martini style " : their famed blooming hibiscus and a framboise ninja , which were gone in minutes if not seconds! For appetisers we started with a sharing plate called ; campuran pinggan ; lamb satay, which was melt in the mouth, spring rolls, very crispy, scallops in a garlicky spicy bread crumb, a flavour I just wanted to keep eating & spicy battered chicken wings. On top of all this in a little teeny bowl , which I was so wishing there was more of , was theeee most moreish salad of pomelo and green mango. I so want this recipe with my addiction to salads . As that was only for 2 people , we added to it another satay of chicken and roti canai (flat bread) with red curry sauce to dip , I could have eaten ladle fulls of this stuff.
For the mains we all ordered a dish we liked, making sure we could all share them, but due to mister over seller , we also had a 5th dish of lobster salad! So we had rendang daging , an all time fave made at home, which is also called village curry. A rather plain but beautifully cooked slice duck breast with a blow your head off pepper dipping sauce called itik panggang , an amazing rack of lamb in spices and flavours called kambing bakar rek, steamed ginger half a lobster, which was a bit disappointing and tasteless and the Malaysian take on prawn cocktail, which was meant to be lobster salad, but was definitely a crayfish cocktail . The side dishes were a chili baked vegetable mix , and a sambal spiced morning glory.
For desserts , we had a combination of fruit salads , he the mans chocolate mousse trio ( he has a choc mousse obession) and sorbets of Lychee, lemon grass and chili ,which definitely tasted savoury to me and the most amazing one made from the fruit Kalamansi, a totally new fruit to me, its sort of sweet and sour and very refreshing, one I definitely want to use to make my own sorbet having bought our new ice cream maker today, (more on that in another post!). It was all beautifully served on wooden blocks and glass rectangular dishes.
Overall it was a lovely meal , not outstanding considering the cost of the meal, but we enjoyed it none the less. I think we would go there again ,but there are many other Far Eastern restaurants I would rather try.

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