Where to eat in Kuala Lumpur

Mama San KLCC Menu & Review, Modern Malaysian

Mama San KLCC

Words: Monica Tindall   Photos: Rich Callahan

When Mama San KLCC first opened in Kuala Lumpur in 2015, it was akin to taking a virtual culinary voyage through South East Asia. Four years on, the menu continues to reflect pages of a passport with stamps from Indonesia, Thailand, China and even parts of Europe but has evolved to find firm grounding in its host country, Malaysia.

Where to eat in Kuala Lumpur
Mama San KLCC

Mama San KLCC

Once you enter its threshold, Mama San KLCC evokes another era. It combines the nostalgia of a long-gone, colonial Asia, replete with black and white photographs, with industrial touches, such as the hanging hurricane lamps scattered throughout the establishment. The most stirring feature in the restaurant, however, is the stunning mural of an elegant Mama San, looking downwards and demurely overseeing all of her patrons.

Mama San KLCC Menu

The menu at Mama San KLCC is diverse. Beginning with a light breakfast, the offerings proceed later in the day to sharing plates and single serves, to afternoon tea to cocktails and supper.

Drinks

We quench our thirsts on this unusually warm afternoon with Watermelon Juice (RM 21) and a Coconut (RM 21). There’s nothing like tropical fruit to satisfy in the tropics, and both of these fresh beverages are served well-chilled.

Mama San KLCC Restaurant
Watermelon Juice and a Coconut

Also worthy of a look-in are the craft cocktails at Mama San KLCC. Refashioning the classics, both the Gin Passion Mule (RM 26) and Chilli Lime Margarita (RM 26) stimulate the palate with some local influence in ingredients. The former is much appreciated with its tangy passionfruit component, while the latter adds just the right amount of kick to a traditional Margarita.

Mama San KLCC Restaurant
Gin Passion Mule and Chilli Lime Margarita

Starters

Mama San KLCC’s menu provides both sharing plates and individual serves. Dining in a group today, we deem the sharing dishes the best way to enjoy a meal here and launch with salad and soup.

Pomelo Salad (RM35) makes good use of a locally grown fruit with the companions of shallots, coconut and roasted chilli paste. The juicy fruit pulp does particularly well in this climate with its bursts of mini liquid explosions. The coconut and spice serve to balance each other with the cream tempering the heat.

Where to eat in Kuala Lumpur
Pomelo Salad

Chicken Soup (RM37) with coconut milk, lemongrass and fresh herbs is an easy crowd-pleaser. The ingredients are chunky. The dark meat of the chicken has loads of flavour, and the fresh herbs bring a pleasant moreishness to every spoon. I’m not particularly fond of the abundance of raw white onion in the broth, but that is easily avoidable. Rich, on the other hand, is keen on the onion. In the end, it’s down to personal taste.

Mama San KLCC Restaurant
Chicken Soup

Mains for Sharing

While Mama San KLCC does list a variety of individual dishes, we think sharing plates and a group of friends allow you to get the most of what the kitchen has to offer. We request a few significant items across the menu and soak up every drop of the remains with Garlic Naan (RM13).

The namesake of the restaurant, Mama San Fish Curry (RM75), must be ordered don’t you think? It comes with okra, tomato and tamarind and has that seductive sourness in the finish that I am ever-so-enamoured with. The Thai Panang Beef (RM67) is also a saucy little number. Red curry paste is rich with coconut milk. It’s not overly spicy but ends with a beautiful tang as a result of the inclusion of kaffir and lime. Balancing out our protein trio with poultry is the Butter Chicken (RM47). The tomato and cashew nut gravy is enhanced by kasoori (dried fenugreek leaves). It’s another fantastic preparation. Lastly, Stir-fried Water Spinach (RM28) with garlic adds some green to our mains. Superb!

Mama San KLCC Restaurant
Mama San Fish Curry
Mama San KLCC Restaurant
Thai Panang Beef
Mama San KLCC Restaurant
Butter Chicken
Mama San KLCC Restaurant
Stir-fried Water Spinach

The Famous Cake Bar

The Mama San KLCC menu says, “It’s tradition” to wander over to the Long Cake Bar after a meal. It would be rude not to follow the custom in your host’s home, right? So, wander, we do. Our amble brings us back a generous slice of Caramel Macadamia Cheesecake (RM18) and another of Carrot Cake (RM17). The first is rich, dense and incredibly creamy. Sweet caramelized nuts break up its velveteen texture with an attractive crunch. The second is also superbly moist. Decadent with a liberal crown of cream cheese and seeds, this recipe would make any home cook proud.

Where to eat in Kuala Lumpur
Caramel Macadamia Cheesecake & Espresso Ginger Martini
Mama San KLCC Restaurant
Carrot Cake & Teh Tarik

More Drinks

Rich ends with a local Teh Tarik (RM14), a new item on the menu, which pairs well with the carrot cake. I end with an Espresso Ginger Martini (RM31), which does okay with the cheesecake, but really is enough all on its own. The caffeine is spiked with the zestiness of ginger and a delectable chocolate truffle sides it on a wooden board. If you enjoy a good bitter finish, I highly recommend this as a fine conclusion.

Mama San KLCC Review

The views are fab. The location is convenient. The food is tasty, and the cocktails go down a dream. There’s nothing to dislike about Mama San KLCC. It’s a great spot to take visitors to KL or just meet up with a group of friends, enjoying some sharing plates and a cocktail or three.

Reasons to visit Mama San KLCC: feast or graze, there are several items to suit many preferences; full-flavoured South East Asian inspired food; contemporary plating; convenient location; nice views of the park and water feature viewed from alfresco patio; drink a fresh coconut or Gin Passion Mule; eat Chicken Soup, Butter Chicken and don’t miss a slice of Carrot Cake; end the meal with an Espresso Ginger Martini.

Mama San KLCC
Suria KLCC, Lot G-46, Ground Floor
Park & Fountain Entrance
Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur City Centre,
50088 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
www.facebook.com/MamaSanKL
+6 019 787 5810

Mama San KLCC Opening Hours
Monday to Friday: 8 am – 11 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8 am – 12 midnight

Find more contemporary Malaysian dining experiences here.

Love food with a local twist? Why not try out these bars serving creative cocktails with a good splash of local? Here, here and here.

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21 Comments

  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.
    Cheers
    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.
      Colin

    • 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 🙂

  12. What a delicious medley of entrees captured here! That mural really makes a great impact.

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