Most of us have been on holiday and come back missing the exotic tastes of our foreign travels. Whether it’s paella from Spain, street food from India or a juicy American hamburger, most of what our taste buds crave is available in London – albeit to varying degrees of quality. However, when John Vaughan went on holiday to Malaysia, he was so absorbed by his experience that he decided to create a little part of the far-Eastern country in London.
Walk into the restaurant and it’s almost impossible not to be completely overwhelmed by the intense aroma of spices that emerge from the open kitchen. If you weren’t hungry before you entered, you’ll be drooling by the time you get to your table. The venue has a smart Asian feel, with plenty of Far Eastern ornaments and chunky timber making up the décor.
So onto the food. Unlike the endless options available in so many Asian restaurants, 54 opts for a short and easy to understand menu. Diners have the option of a 7-course tasting menu for a reasonable £25/head, although we decided on the a la carte.
Starters of Cucur Badak (Prawns in sweet potato & coconut) provided an interesting combination of textures and flavours, whilst Chicken Satay were slightly over-done but delivered a lovely blend of spices. Mains of Lamb shank rendang and Marinated beef in turmeric coconut sauce & chilli were both nicely cooked and flavoursome, but truth be told, the spicing was probably a little too big and punchy. Essential ordering for a meal here are the fresh Roti’s, which are crisp, well layered and perfect for mopping up the lovely sauces. To finish, we avoided the Malaysian desserts and went straight for their delicious freshly made ice creams, including particularly delicious ginger and pistachio varieties.
Cuisine type: Malaysian
Dinner for two (excluding drinks): £50
54 Farringdon Road
London, EC1R 3BL
Tel: 020 7336 0603