Suka, Sanderson Hotel

We’ve both been craving roti canai over the past few days.  I suggested Chinatown for a late lunch this afternoon, but the West End was closed for traffic-free shopping this weekend.  We found a parking space not too far from Oxford Circus, and I suggested lunch at Suka at the Sanderson Hotel.  We enquired at reception if we needed a booking today, and the receptionist said to head right in as it was rather quiet being a Sunday.  We certainly had no problems scoring a table.  We had the whole place to ourselves while the conservatory was buzzing with afternoon tea revellers.

The menu at Suka is Malaysian.  Suka means ‘like’ in Malay.  As in, I like you, I like cats.   The menu has the usual nasi goreng, char kuey teow, laksa favourites typically found in a Malaysian restaurant but the menu isn’t extensive.  The laksa is around £10, which is about £3 more than what you’d expect to pay in a Malaysian cafe in Chinatown.  There was also a set lunch/early dinner option available from around midday to 6.45pm.  Nasi Lemak plus 2 options for £19 or plus 3 options for £23.  We decided to stick with 2 options to begin with.  Mine was with roti and dhal, and sotong goreng (fried squid).  Hubby also opted for roti and dhal, and beef rendang.  We couldn’t wait to tuck on the roti.

While waiting for our food, we were served a complimentary lemongrass tea each and some condiments to go with our food.  The condiments were fried peanuts and anchovies, pickles (acar), sambal and coconut relish.  Hubby didn’t care too much for the tea.  He said it reminded him of ‘Lockets’ (cough drops).

The roti was the first dish to be served.

 As you can see, it wasn’t roti canai.  It was our mistake, we just assumed roti in a Malaysian restaurant would be roti canai.  The roti unfortunately was too dense and heavy.  The dhal was tasty, and I really hoped that the Nasi Lemak, sotong goreng and beef rendang wouldn’t disappoint.

The Nasi Lemak came with rice wrapped in a banana leaf, half a boiled egg, cucumber, peanuts, anchovies, tempeh and sambal sauce.

Then they brought out the rendang and sotong goreng and we knew right then that neither of us was going home hungry.

While the Nasi Lemak didn’t bowl me over – the rice wasn’t didn’t really have a strong coconut flavour and the sambal was inoffensive. the the star of the show was the fried squid.  It was deep fried, with a very light batter, extremely crispy and dressed lightly with a sweet sauce (I’m guessing tamarind plus dark soy?).  OMG I could have eaten this dish on its own.  Hubby also enjoyed his beef rendang (I only had a little taste of the gravy and it was delicious) and said the portions were generous.   At this stage, it didn’t matter that the rice wasn’t ‘lemak‘ enough or the roti was a wrong call.  The beef and squid brought it all together for us.

Our waitress was very attentive but then we lost her to the afternoon tea crowd.  She did come back eventually to clear our table and to take our dessert order which we declined.  We opted for a coffee for Hubby and an Earl Grey for me.

The bill came to just under £60 which included a discretionary 15% gratuity, which I found hard to stomach.  I know we could have amended the gratuity to 10%, but you’re talking £2 to £3 here and we decided to leave it as it was.

Would we come back again? Yes.  I won’t order the Nasi Lemak or Roti, but would definitely try dishes from the ala carte menu.  It makes a nice change from the Chinatown offerings. The price reflects this, but I think it’s worth paying.
Suka on Urbanspoon

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