PETALING JAYA, Oct 18 — It's pretty brave of a newcomer to challenge an established name on their own turf.
Since Restoran Say Yes Cafe opened its doors at Damansara Uptown, comparisons have been made between their nasi lemak ayam goreng berempah and that of their famous neighbour's, Village Park Restaurant.
That got me curious and I decided to give it a try.
The cafe is located at the old Kedai Kopi Malaya spot, which is next to the Perodua showroom. If you notice their signboard, what actually is the first item is their pulut sambal rather than nasi lemak. In fact, they cite that as their specialty, hence I'll kick off with that.
Essentially, you have various dishes such as ayam rendang, daging rendang, sambal sotong and ayam goreng berempah paired with a choice of pulut or rice.
The pulut ayam rendang (RM10) is a pretty substantial meal with its bowl-sized portion of glutinous rice. The rich and creamy chicken paired perfectly with the soft glutinous rice.
I also liked how the pieces of chicken weren't overcooked. Even though you have a sambal on the side, you really didn't need it.
It's interesting to note that the sambal served with this dish is a little different as this one was watery and full of sliced onions. Taste wise, it was mildly spicy. You also get toasted peanuts but no ikan bills and half portion of hard boiled egg with cucumber.
For their nasi lemak, zoom in on the version paired with ayam goreng berempah (RM10). Your plate or takeaway will have a piece of fried chicken, rice cooked in coconut milk, sambal (packed separately), peanuts and ikan bilis, a half portion of hard boiled egg and cucumber.
The star on the plate is the fried chicken. It's perfectly fried until the meat is juicy inside with a thin crunchy crust. Even the shredded herbs that is deep fried is delicious. If you wish to add an extra piece of chicken, it's RM6.60.
So how about the rice and sambal, the two essentials for nasi lemak? I found the rice to be fragrant with coconut milk and pretty good. If I had to nitpick, it's still not as fragrant as the one served by Village Park which not only gets cooked with coconut milk but they add pandan leaves on the side of the basket to steam it in a wooden bucket. Even the texture of the rice grains is different as these ones are fatter..
Their sambal is also different as it has a very thick consistency. It's not too sweet and has an underlying spiciness. You get chunks of sliced onions and fried ikan bills in the sambal too.
I also sampled side portions of their sambal sotong (RM5.90) and beef rendang (RM5.90). The beef rendang is delicious with meat that breaks apart when you prod it with a fork. The sotong may have a nice texture but I felt it wasn't cooked enough in the sauce as the taste was quite flat when you ate it on its own.
If you want a lighter meal, they also offer toast or steamed bread served with half boiled eggs. You can also choose to pair it with croissants or a kopitiam bun.
For the drinks, zoom in on their Hainanese coffee. It's RM2.90 for a small portion or RM3.60 with ice. The coffee was rich and smooth with just the right amount of milk.
In a month's time, the cafe hopes to introduce chee cheong fun too.
For delivery, you can place your order at https://www.mrseasy.com/sayyescafe
Restoran Say Yes Cafe, 97, Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Utama (Uptown), Petaling Jaya. Tel: +6011-12246192. Open daily: 9.30am to 4.30pm. Facebook: @SAY-YES-Cafe-思源咖啡-101321869007750/