where to eat in KLCC

Mama San, KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Words: Monica Larrieu  Photos: Monica Tindall

I originally came across Mama San in Suria KLCC through a close friend who, like me, lives within walking distance of the mall and who wanted to share with me her surprising find in the unlikeliest of places. It is hard to believe that a restaurant like this is located in a mall, albeit an upper-end one, but then again we are in Kuala Lumpur, a place where things can sometimes be down-right random.

where to eat in KLCC
Mama San KL

Taking in a meal at Mama San is a virtual culinary voyage through South East Asia. It is evident that its creator, Chef Will Meyrick, a street food enthusiast, has exhaustively traveled the region and researched traditional recipes. Looking at its menu is akin to flipping through the pages of a passport and seeing the stamps from Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and even India. Much like its sister restaurants in Bali and Hong Kong, it successfully brings together some of the best dishes in the region, but sadly, omits the famous suckling pig offered at the other sister outlets. Despite this, partaking in a meal here is a pan-regional treat, unrivaled by any other restaurant in the vast mall, and, perhaps, maybe even in the KLCC area.

Once you enter its threshold, Mama San evokes another era, combining the nostalgia of a long-gone, colonial-era Asia, replete with black and white photographs, with modern-day industrial touches, like the hanging hurricane lamps scattered throughout the establishment. The most stirring feature in the restaurant seems to be one of the few colorful elements in the restaurant – the stunning mural of an elegant Mama San, looking downwards and demurely overseeing all of her patrons.


We started with a generous helping of Crispy Sotong (fried calamari) served with a chilli jam, ginger flower (aka torch ginger), fried kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass, doused in a honey sauce (RM 32). Its flavors tantalized the palate with its citrusy zing and ended up being a delightful departure from the archetypal fried calamari.

best restaurants in KLCC
Crispy Sotong

Main Dishes

This was followed by a succulent Dengdeng Balado, a caramelized short rib beef, marinated with some magical manna, and topped with kaffir lime leaves, chilis and lemon basil (RM 55). This dish is an innovative take on the traditional Sumatran dish which is usually prepared with thin slices of beef and less toppings.

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Dengdeng Balado

We were then treated to the Kari Udang Nenas (RM 38), a Mama San rendition of a traditional Baba Nyonya dish. This blissful seafood red curry is doused in coconut milk and simmered in the incomparable aroma of lemongrass and kaffir lime. Floating in the gorgeous stew are generously-sized prawns and pineapple chunks. This dish is my favorite on the menu and, I am embarrassed to say, the one I order time and time again, despite the ample variety offered at Mama San.

best restaurants in KLCC
Kari Udang Nenas

As if this was not enough, our attentions (and tastebuds) then turned to the Tandoori Paneer topped with red onions, red peppers, kashori methi (fenugreek), cumin leaves, black salt, ginger and garlic, and served with a kachumber (cucumber) masala (RM 35). This dish came off their dedicated Vegetarian Menu, a truly unique and refreshing find in a non-vegetarian restaurant.

best restaurants in KLCC
Tandoori Paneer


Topping off the dining experience, the desserts we sampled were playful and indulgent. By far our favorite, the steamed Nutella Pak Boi Buns (RM 18) took our breath away. Served in a rustic bamboo steamer basket, the buns are to be pulled apart and dipped into an affogato of vanilla ice cream and Kintamani espresso concoction, mixed on the spot. Following this was the sweet condensed milk ice cream with shredded young coconut, crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, toasted coconut, and sweet corn, a very surprising ingredient in a dessert (RM 18).

best restaurants in KLCC
Nutella Pak Boi Buns
best restaurants in KLCC
Nutella Pak Boi Buns
best restaurants in KLCC
Condensed Milk Ice Cream

Signature Cocktails

To accompany our tasting, we were served three very different cocktails from Mama San’s Signature Cocktail menu that specializes in twisting international classics with Asian infusions. The Lychee Tiffin Punch (RM 28) was quaintly presented to us in a rustic metal tiffin-for-two box, from which to drink the delicious potion made up of vodka, lychee, strawberry, mint, vanilla, orange, lemon and lime. We also tried the Coconut Mojito, which was a tropical twist on the classic, consisting of rum, coconut water, syrup, mint, and citric essences (RM 32).  Equally refreshing was the Coconut Passion Fruit Pineapple Daiquiri, a heavily tropicalized version of the classic and surprisingly light despite the many fruit juices involved (RM 28).

best restaurants in KLCC
Lychee Tiffin Punch
best restaurants in KLCC
Coconut Mojito
best restaurants in KLCC
Coconut Passion Fruit Pineapple Daiquiri,

Reasons to visit: Crispy Sotong; Kari Udang; Tandoori Paneer; Nutella Pak Boi Buns; Lychee Tiffin Punch; and the convenience of a popular mall setting if you also need to get some shopping done or want to watch a movie afterwards.

Mama San Kuala Lumpur
Suria KLCC, Park and Fountain entrance
+6019 787 5810

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  1. Good Grief! Or “Holy Jumpin’ Josephats: or however you spell the last word!
    That mural behind the bar – I do think that could be a painting of that scheming Wallis Simpson from her Shanghai days in the Colonial era!
    Hmmmmmmm – Please get El Caning Cordobes Jnr. to do some sleuthing – that will keep him busy and out of mischief. He can play the part of Sherlock Holmes???????

    Certainly is located in a prime position – just near that large KL Central Park with lakes in it. Nice place for a stroll after dining and wining.
    The Andalusian steed would have to remain in his stable – no galloping around that park, I should think??
    The food looks very tempting except that calamari – No way Hosa for me.
    El Colin Cordobes

    • Mmm… I wonder if the name/ picture connotation was intentional.
      Yep, great location.
      And… please… what have I told you about giving Jr. ideas?!

  2. Interesting name. I was expecting a Japanese place. Food looks good.

  3. Goodness! What is with restaurant naming in KL nowadays?!

    You know, mama san is a crude way to call a “madam”. Female pimp… I hope the owner knows what he is doing with giving his restaurant this name. :/

    • CL ( RealGunners)

      It is the Wallis Simpson factor ( Baltimore, USA)- you know the one who thought she’d be Queen (Consort) to Edward and live in Buck House!! What a scheming creature she was.
      I have to confess, like you, I knew the meaning of “MAMA SAN”. ha ha.

    • I suppose it’s even juicier if you create a bit of a scandal – more interest, more visits. It might be a clever ploy. 😉

  4. Why did they serve the lychee punch in tiffin?

  5. I’ve walked past this place many a times but have not stepped in as I fear the prices will be “posh” too! ;D But I’m intrigued to try the Crispy Sotong with lots of kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass shreds…I’m sure it’d be an explosion of flavours.

    • The positioning of this spot must certainly cost an arm and a leg in rent – nice views though. They will have happy hour deals once the CNY celebrations are over so that might be a way to check them out before committing to an entire meal.

  6. need to convince some colleagues to join me there!

    • Great setting for a group of colleagues KY.

    • Yes, do! If you are going during peak weekday lunch hours, be sure to make a reservation. They also have a lovely outdoor seating area, facing the fountain and KLCC park!

  7. Just what is needed in that location with such a bland choice of restaurants! Did you happen to see anything kid-friendly on the menu?

    • Hmmmm, I did do a lot of looking around and saw some simple noodle dishes served with what looked like duck slices. On another occasion, I have had lovely pad thai tha could be served without chili powder. I thought of taking my kids and letting them feast on desserts for a change (especially the nutella steamed buns!). Hope you make it out there!

  8. Looks interesting and i like that painting on the wall……it’s different.
    Food looks delicious.

  9. He he… I quite like their name thou!
    When are you gonna open another stored and call it Papa San,
    specialising PAn-PAcific food? 😉

  10. this needs to go in my to eat list.

  11. I like that painting on the wall…….The food looks delicious, too 🙂

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