Nestled in a cosy cul-de-sac and surrounded by skyscrapers, Manja is a welcome refuge amidst Kuala Lumpur’s crazy traffic. It’s located along Lorong Raja Chulan; its pretty facade unmistakable and easy to spot.
Wooden tables and high chairs are set out right in front of the restaurant for guests to relax with a drink or two in the calm al-fresco space. The greenery around this little haven forms a perfect backdrop to chill-out before dinner.
The noise of the city and crazy traffic of Jalan Raja Chulan miraculously fades out when I step into the warm comfort of the restaurant. It’s like entering another realm, a sanctuary that soothes any weary spirit. Cosy lighting bathes the interior, casting a golden glow on the red velvet seating and rustic brick walls. Old-world colonial charm permeates every corner of Manja and a sense of sweet nostalgia lingers in the air. Besides the main dining space, there’s also a private room with a sky window where the KL Tower is perfectly silhouetted like a magnificent glittering sabre.
As its name suggests: Manja is to pamper and that’s exactly what chef/owner Navin Karu has in mind. The repertoire of dishes curated by Navin are inspired by his childhood memories which he has given creative modern twists. Most ingredients are sourced locally from sustainable supplies – for example, local river prawns and line-caught yellowfin tuna and wild white sea prawns from the sea off East Malaysia (Borneo).
Every dish placed on my table is a delight to the eyes and palate. Flavours are fresh and clean – Navin’s creative touch is evident in the marriage of ingredients, flavours and presentation. Have a look…
Borneo Coconut Tuna (RM36) – sashimi-grade line-caught yellowfin tuna on top of grated coconut tartar, local flavours of kaffir lime, crushed cashews and served with handmade tapioca chips.
Creole Prawns Guacamole (RM38) – handmade cumin-spiced guacamole complement diced wild sea prawns grilled with a Creole paprika lime marinade, eaten with house-made fluffy mantou.
Palate Cleanser before the mains are served
Ten Cha Fish with Lobster Butter Soba (market price) – grilled seasonal catch in ginger palm marination, with ten cha green tea glaze. By the side is a bundle of organic soba cooked in house-made lobster butter with juicy morsels of river lobster meat, topped with sturgeon caviar!
Lemon Butter Scallops & Saffron Snapper Ravioli (RM88) – delicate handmade ravioli filled with local red snapper in a rich saffron sauce perfumed with curry leaves with large succulent lemon butter scallops.
Chipotle Jerk Pepper Chicken (RM88) – organic boneless chicken thigh charred on charcoal grill in a sauce of roasted chipotle peppers and pureed Kalamata olives. The ensemble is balanced with caramelized pineapple cubes, chili smoked eggplant and pinenut salsa.
Desserts are a must here. Ideas and flavours are mainly inspired from local favourites and typical of Manja’s style, all given a luxe twist!
Old Malaya Teatime (RM36) – banana coconut fritters made from locally sourced organic Rastali bananas and sprinkled with salted kaya caramel. If that’s not rich enough, there’s gorgeously-aromatic house-churned Teh Tarik ice-cream by the side.
Kopi Peng & Kahlua (RM29) – charcoal roasted coffee local ice-cream served with candied cashews and kahlua. It’s perfect, especially for coffee lovers.
For that special date or if you just want to be pampered with some good food in a charming colonial atmosphere with a bit of nostalgia thrown in, check out Manja.
MANJA Kuala Lumpur
No.6 Lorong Raja Chulan
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Monday-Thursday & Sunday
12.00pm – 12.00am
Friday & Saturday
12.00pm – 1.00am