This was a review that I was contemplating doing after eating at Madam Kwan’s in Mid-Valley in KL sometime ago. So I decided to try the outlet here at Vivo City in Singapore.
I decided not to go so soon after they opened so that they would have time to iron out their opening kinks. Having eaten in KL and being aware of the exchange rate difference, I also wanted my review to be as objective as possible, and not be influenced by exchange rate differences.
I ordered another of their signature dishes which I know Madam Kwan’s is well-known for, i.e. nasi bojari. Service wise, the waiters and waitresses were very good. The shoddy service that was highlighted in some of the earlier reviews was not evident that night. But it was about 9pm on a weeknight, and the evening was not busy.
My friend ordered the penang assam laksa and they served the prawn paste separately here, which is the way it is supposed to be served. A plus point here.
The nasi bojari with the three flavours of rice (and colour). The chicken was tender and the skin was crispy. The different fragrances in the rice were evident. The prawn sambal was good as were the rendang bits. This is unique to Madam Kwan’s and I shall give credit where it is due.
Another view of the nasi bojari.
This is the Penang laksa. There was enough sardines and mint leaves in it. Good but for one complaint. For the longest time, I’ve only had this particular dish in small portions. The one that was served in the restaurant was huge. Usually I do not complain about serving portions. After all, larger is better, no? Well, no. In this case, because the gravy was so nice and thick and flavourful, this dish, I’ve decided, is best eaten in small portions so that there is no overkill. A smaller portion would have left one sufficiently contented instead of feeling that the dish was too large to finish.
Teh tarik that was too strong.
In conclusion, the food was good. We actually ordered one more dish but were very glad that they had run out of that dish. There was nothing else we wanted so we did not replace the dish with another and that was fortunate, as we would not have been able to finish everything. Price wise, we could have eaten nice penang assam laksa elsewhere for lesser. As for the bojari, that is a signature dish of Madam Kwan’s and I have not found it anywhere else unless clones appear overnight.
So if one is craving for Malaysian food and does not mind spending more for larger portions of food, this place will give you hearty portions (you should see the size of their otah) for the price one pays. Apart from the assam laksa which I felt was too large a portion and correspondingly, too expensive a price, the price of the nasi bojari was in line with the location and the type of restaurant that Madam Kwan’s is, in Singapore.
I reread my old review of Madam Kwan’s in KL and I have to say that between the two outlets, the food in the outlet in KL seemed simpler. It did not need to try so hard to prove anything as it was already proven. The outlet in Singapore has a certain reputation to live up to. The food has to be as good as the food in KL, at the very least, and on top of that it has to hold its own against neighbouring restaurants and their mouth-watering menus.
Madam Kwan’s at Vivo City serves a wider variety of drinks including alcohol which helps to position the restaurant as a serious sit-down eating place offering a Malaysian dining experience and not just one serving high-priced hawkerfare.
Madam Kwan’s, 1 Harbourfront Walk, Vivo City, #01-152 – 155, Singapore 098585. Tel: 6271 9989.