“Hi there, we are Bart and Hirman and we run the new Kuala Lumpur Cafe in Headingley. We offer authentic Malaysian food in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. The Cafe is a small bistro, quite hidden, and can be found in Bennett Road. The décor inside is simple yet cosy and we aim to make you feel like you are at home away from home. We are the first truly Malaysian restaurant in Leeds.”
Hirman was born and raised in the small town of Tapah in Malaysia and it is his passion for cooking as well as eagerness to share it with friends and others that is the inspiration behind Kuala Lumpur Café. “My mom is very famous for her rendang curry and I learnt my cooking from her. I followed her to the market picking up turmeric, lemongrass and collecting other ingredients from the back garden.” Though busy with his lecturing job in Malaysia, he was the weekend chef for the family and friends. Bart is from Krakow in Poland, has travelled to Malaysia on numerous occasions and loves the culinary experience every time he is there.
“There is nothing that Malaysians love more than their food. Our motto ‘Malaysian truly Asian Food’ is because Malaysian food is a combination of different Asian flavours, mainly due to its diverse community of Malay, Chinese and Indian residents. The main item on our menu is the ‘Nasi Lemak’ which is Malaysia’s favourite dish. It is aromatic coconut rice served with chili sambal, cucumber, fried anchovies, egg and peanut, accompanied by few traditional Malaysian curries. In addition to our usual menu, we also offer time-limited specials so please keep an eye out for these. Most of our dishes are available as a vegetarian/vegan option.”
“We do not hold an alcohol licence, therefore our customers are welcome to bring their own bottle along at no corkage fee. When it comes to soft drinks, we serve a couple of Malaysian classics. Sirap Bandung is a rose syrup mixed with evaporated milk and water served cold and is a very refreshing drink. Teh Tarik is a Malaysian sweet milky tea made with condensed milk, evaporated milk and water. It can be served hot – perfect to finish off your meal - or cold.”
So why Headingley? “We’ve been living in Leeds for nearly a decade now and our friends were asking us to open an authentic Malaysian place here. As we had managed to save up some money, we decided to give it a go, especially since it’s been our lifetime dream to have our own little bistro. The first location that came to our mind was Headingley as we both used to study at the local campus of Leeds Beckett University. We knew that the demographics of this area would just fit our business perfectly - local residents, many of whom had travelled or even lived in South East Asia and know this type of food, a quite large Malaysian/Indonesian/Singaporean community in Hyde Park which is just a stone’s throw away, university students who like to try different things, and a vegan/vegetarian audience. It all made our choice of location obvious.”
“We also stand for equality and diversity so everybody is welcome to come, enjoy great food, have a good time and be themselves. Selamet datang ke (welcome), come along and let us take you to a Kampong (Malaysian village)! ”