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Birthday at Songket

It was my brother-in-law's birthday today, and last night, we joined him and my in-laws for dinner. Anita picked the place and she came across a Malay restaurant along Jalan Yap Kwan Seng called Restoran Songket. It had a snazzy website, and Anita was quickly drawn to it. Made our reservation and got there early just in case the heaven's opened and traffic became mad. And it was a revelation.

Nestled quietly behind a bigger mall - can't recall the name of it, but where Tomy Roma's restaurant was located - one had to pay attention to the turn. If you were to miss it, then one might get stuck in the traffic on turning back. Any how, it was well sign-posted and we got there the first time. Parking was ample, although the lighting around the car park was rather dim. I did not see any security guard posted there, but I assumed that there were.

There were couple of parts to the restaurant. The open area and a more conventional in-door dining near the bar. There was also a private room, but you would miss one of the main attraction to the restaurant - the dance show.

We were seated at the terrace, a nice airy covered area, right along the dance show area. The waiters there were very personable and attentive. The menu were straight forward, and they gave us clue as to the portion. The waiters seemed to know the menu items intimately as they described them pretty well. I was impressed. Our orders were complicated but all the items arrived even though we did not see the waiter taking any note to the order.

Then, there was a cultural show. We were not talking about a 5 minutes do by some amateurs here. These were proper dancers, and their set lasted 45 minutes - going through the routine of Malay, Indian and Chinese dances - complete with interactions with the audience, ending with photo op should you wished to join. If you have a foreign visitors coming to visit and you were looking for some authentic local food, with a bona fide cultural show in a great ambiance, you could not be wrong.

Let's talk bout the food. The starters were disappointing. I had some tauhu sumbat and otak-otak. Pretty average. But the same cannot be said about the main dishes and soup. They were very good. Not the best - but it won't embarrass your foreign guest if you brought them there. The best dish I had that night was adam pedas. The oxtail soup was rather too mild - but I was sure you could ask for a spicy one should you wished for as the staffs there were so attentive.

The staff found out that it was my brother-in-law's birthday, but we couldn't find the time to get him a cake. The staff soon sorted that out with a complimentary slice. Well played the manager!

We were greeted by the manager and the chef on the way out after the meal. I must say that I was impressed with the service, and would definitely bring a foreign visitor should I need to show one around. I was sure that it would be a memorable evening for them. A word of caution for the Moslem readers, as although eh food served there was Halal, the restaurant also ran a bar, and served wine. They assured me that the dishes were separated though, and I have no doubt that they do.

The price was also very reasonable - I was the one paying the bill. The bottom line was, I would definitely be coming back to the restaurant.

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