How about a Stinkini to shake up and stir the sedate KL cocktail and food pairing scene? The SPG by Bijan team has picked up the mixology gauntlet and boldly infused our pickled petai (stinkbeans) with martini and dry vermouth to wet the brave soul’s whistle. A tipple to knock your socks off and just the drink to introduce your foreign friends to, in time for Visit Malaysia Year 2020.
Inspired by the (in)famous Sarong Party Girl (SPG) – Malaysian and Singaporean lasses who prefer to date and nab an expat partner/husband – SPG by Bijan is a literal take on their soirées or sarong parties. Evocative of a playful love child, the bar cum restaurant exudes new-age creativity, marrying typical Malaysian elements and ingredients with regional Indonesian, Chinese and Indian influences.
Located in a bungalow adjacent to Bijan, SPG flaunts vibrant, alluring walls of peacock blue, fuchsia and green, accentuated with retro vent blocks, and Insta-worthy floral batik murals.
The shaded terrace lounge beckons invitingly with an eclectic mix of rattan and cane, modern and esoteric furniture in lush jewel tones. Complementing it is an ornate Peranakan tiled bar. A private room with similarly articulated décor and elegant setting for more exclusive dining and celebratory affairs is available.
Aside from the Stinkini, a plethora of inventive Asian-inspired signature cocktails such as Yellow Fever (gin, turmeric, honey and tonic water), Hit the Cocojito (white rum, lime, coconut water and mint) and Asam Pedas (tequila, triple sec and tamarind juice) is designed to match SPG’s creative cornucopia of bite-size snacks and hot-off-the-grill servings.
A fab example of the bodacious and tongue-in-cheek eats with flirty twists here is the Basic SPG set comprising Ah Ran Sini (Italian arancini transformed into deep-fried rice balls bearing our iconic nasi lemak flavours), Pais Barramundi (grilled barramundi parcel infused with turmeric, coconut, and Malaysian spices then wrapped in edible banana ‘leather’) and Grilled Calamari with Sambal Belacan.
Show-stoppers like Jackfruit Rendang Bao (young jackfruit cooked rendang-style, pulled and piled onto toasted mantou buns), Lidah & Sambal (succulent braised and seared ox tongue served with sambal hitam) and Roti Jala Tiffin (a triple tier tiffin of lacy pancakes with kaffir lime chicken curry, fish floss and anchovy sambal) roused effusive praises during the preview. We were simply bowled over by the sheer ingenuity of the different items; how such familiar and cherished eats can be dialled up to more sophisticated, cosmopolitan levels.
The mixology team hasn’t overlook the mocktail aspect either. Non-alcoholic drinkers can raise a glass to Bluepea Tonic – a concoction of honey and lemon topped with blue peaflower syrup and Kedondong Kampung – a salty, sour and tangy blend of umbra, calamansi and sour plum.
SPG’s house-curated sambals: Sambal Hitam (black), Sambal Hijau (green), and Sambal Merah (red) are pivotal in amping up the sizzling appeal of its from-the-grill fare. Whether it’s Angus Oyster Blade, Lamb Loin, or Satay (Chicken and Beef), we highly recommend them as they’re cooked to order and absolutely scrumptious.
Equally notable are the ginger-soy sauce marinated Chicken Kicap Skewers and Duck Skewers (marinated duck leg meat grilled then served with green sambal). Meaty and superbly suffused with aromatic spices, they taste somewhat different from satay but no less sublime.
For a healthy spin, we suggest the exquisite Pan-seared Black Pomfret, served with a zingy coconut and galangal sauce. It’s a pairing made in gastronomic heaven with Sekinchan – tri-colour rice and quinoa with pulled chicken, Asian pesto, rice crackers, and crispy chicken skin.
The dessert department shines the spotlight on Pulut Mango Cake, a light confection of chilled mango mousse and coconut glutinous rice on a buttery biscuit base, topped with dices of fresh mangoes that promises satisfaction minus the calorie overload.
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Alternatively, go Bananas Over Bananas. A bonanza of banana components encompassing housemade banana ice cream and smoky caramelised bananas in a dehydrated banana cone to leave you ‘peeling’ good.
For reservations, please call SPG by Bijan, tel: 03 2022 3575. Address: No.3A Jalan Ceylon, Kuala Lumpur. Business hours: Open daily from 12 noon till 12 midnight.