The Malayan Council is a fairly new halal eatery that started operations in December 2015. Situated directly opposite the majestic Masjid Abdul Gafoor, The Malayan Council serves up Western dishes infused with the richness and spices of the Malayan cuisine.
The Malayan Council occupies both the ground shop and the shop on the third floor. The ground shop has both indoor and alfresco sitting, with a maximum sitting capacity of about 10-14 people. There are more seats on the third floor which is more spacious with a cosy sofa corner at the back.
This is my first time visiting a halal restaurant during the fasting month, and I had the privilege of having my girlfriend, Mariem, who is a Muslim, to explain some of the rules of the fasting month to me. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast every day from dawn to sunset and the day’s fast is broken with dates because dates are rich in minerals and energy.
Cheesy Kupang is one of the restaurant’s most popular and recommended starters. Huge mussels are sprinkled with herbs and baked in the oven, served with mozzarella cheese and lemon butter sauce. The mussels are fresh but I can barely taste the mozzarella cheese.
Salted Egg Softshell Crab and Mudcrab Linguine sound divine and it is unsurprisingly one of the most popular pasta dishes at The Malayan Council. The linguine pasta is a little under-cooked, but the salted egg sauce saves the dish with its signature grainy texture and fragrance. The shredded mudcrab itself is pretty tasteless but it’s good when eaten together with the pasta. The two halved deep-fried soft-shell crab adds a touch of luxury to the dish.
I was a little worried when I saw “Chili Padi” but the staff assured me that it is not overly spicy and Smoked Duck Chili Padi turned out to be quite alright. This is a dry pasta without much sauce but the slightly-undercooked pasta is coated with arugula and Lemak chilli padi sauce which tastes very similar to curry. The smoked duck is marinated in unagi sauce and they are really very well done. This is a good choice if you want something with a little kick but not too spicy.
According to Mariem, the difference between the “real” ondeh–ondeh cake lies in the gula Melaka. The “real” ondeh–ondeh cake uses gula Melaka bits while the “fake” ondeh–ondeh cake uses gula Melaka syrup. The Classic Ondeh-Ondeh Cake served at The Malayan Council is apparently the “real” version because I can definitely taste the crunch of the gula Melaka between the layers of moist pandan cake and coconut chantilly cream. Served with coconut drizzle, this traditional cake will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Besides the Ondeh-Ondeh Cake, the Durian Pengat Cake is another one of the hottest-selling desserts at The Malayan Council and I see it on almost every table. It is not as sweet as the Ondeh-Ondeh Cake, but the moist vanilla cake layered with Mao Shan Wang durian (a variety of durian that is known for its superior meat) is absolutely the best cake I have ever eaten. Topped with durian pengat and glazed with gula Melaka syrup, it is not as heavy as I imagined it to be and I finished the whole slice by myself, relishing every bite of this amazing cake.
Besides the usual Coffee, Infusion Tea and Fizzy Old Style Soda, The Malayan Council also offers something a little different – Fresh Fruit Coolers. We’ve got Lychee Mint Cooler and Mango Mint Cooler here. These babies are sweet and cooling, perfect for Singapore’s humid weather.
I like how The Malayan Council has managed to effortlessly infuse Malayan cooking and spices into classic Western dishes and give these dishes a new lease of life. The desserts are to-die-for and prices are affordable. This place can get pretty packed especially during the Ramadan month so it’s advisable to make a reservation to avoid disappointment.
The Malayan Council
Address: 22 Dunlop Street
Opening Hours: Daily 11.30am – 11 pm