Words: Monica Tindall
Photos: Rich Callahan
The vibrant setting of Shelley Yu’s in Bangsar is guaranteed to put a splash of cheer in anyone’s day. The cosy restaurant and bar have a covered patio cooled by ceiling fans, a long bar stretching inside the dining area, and booths covered with deep blue upholstery. Tropical flowers and birds are painted in a striking mural the length of an entire wall, and Peranakan tiles and rattan stools give an extra touch of the south-east.
Shelley Yu’s Menu
Food and drink are inspired by Nyonya heritage, and just as culture encourages, a meal and beverage are best enjoyed with family and friends.
We quench thirsts with two of Shelley Yu’s own cocktails, KLCC (RM 45) and Rozelle Spritz (RM 45). The first zhooshes up the classic Clover Club with the addition of kaffir lime. Gin founds the drink and raspberries, Grenadine, lemon and egg white add fruity sweet and sour. The local spin on the Italian Aperol Spritz is gifted an even deeper hue with rozelle syrup bolstering Aperol, lime, coriander, soda and prosecco. It’s just as fresh, but a tad sweeter than what our Roman friends might prepare.
Bartender, Tasdid Chowdhury, tells that the menu has 15 original cocktails and they make 17 syrups all in-house. We also learn that the gin collection is much larger than the five the list suggests. In fact, they have 21 labels on the shelf! When pressed to reveal his flavour of the moment, Tasdid goes for Williams GB Extra Dry (RM 40). The suggested garnish of sliced lime and a lime twist works especially well with the power of this spirit.
The bar might be the first attention grabber for many, but to last an entire evening, you must have food. Luckily Shelley Yu’s has a compilation of Nyonya recipes that pledge to line the stomach and conveniently stave off hunger to enable another drink order to go ahead.
Rusuk Masak Kicap (RM 60) comes recommended by the waitstaff. This beef slow-cooked in soy and spices has great flavour. It has missed the sweet spot though to be fall-off-the-bone tender. I know many who like to chew their meat a few times before swallowing, however. Consequently, if you’re one of them, this dish could be for you.
We back up the beef with some greens and are happy with the simplicity of Kangkong Garlic (RM 20) and Hong Kong Kailan Bawang Putih (RM 24). Both the water spinach and the Chinese broccoli are stir-fried with garlic and oyster sauce.
Nasi Goreng comes with either chicken or seafood and can be portioned as small (RM 20) or large (RM 30). Pictured below is a small serving accompanied by sambal belacan (very good, not overly fishy or pungent, but nicely round with a strong kick) and acar (spicy pickled vegetables), which are also well-balanced with a sweetness taking the edge off their sharpness.
Lastly, and in light of the Peranakan theme, we think an order of Nyonya Laksa (RM 26) appropriate. It’s a hearty bowl and teeming with ingredients. The rich, thick broth has a spice that slowly develops, but just as it reaches its peak, coconut cream tempers it. Vermicelli noodles, prawns, fish balls, boiled egg and shredded cucumber, fill the bowl.
To conclude a meal at Shelley Yu’s, there are two sweet classics, Cendol (RM 16) and Sago Mangga (RM 18). Both are super in their cooling properties on a hot day. The shaved ice tradition comes with coconut milk, palm sugar and green cendol jellies. The sago pudding is covered with coconut milk and gula Melaka. Shredded mango provides relief from the creaminess.
Shelley Yu’s Happy Hours
Ladies Night is Wednesday and women receive free cocktails between 10 pm and midnight. Happy hours at Shelley Yu’s run daily from 12 noon until 7 pm with wine by the glass priced at RM 25, beer from RM 15, selected cocktails RM 25, and Beefeater G&Ts only RM15. Gin Days, Sundays and Thursdays, see all the gin on the shelf for a 10% discount.
49 Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar
59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+6 03 2201 4139
Shelley Yu’s Opening Hours
Daily 12 noon – late
Lunch 11 – 3 pm
Dinner 6 pm – late