ZHENG Chelsea 8/10
VALUE FOR MONEY: 7/10
VENUE & ATMOSPHERE: 8/10
NOTE: ALL MEAT IS HALAL (certificate is available. No pork served). Alcohol served on site.
Sometimes eating out can lose its novelty, especially if it’s something you do all the time. When my birthday came around, I wanted to go somewhere we wouldn’t usually pick or travel to. When I saw Zheng served up authentic Malaysian cuisine in the heart of Chelsea (and was bougier than your average restaurant), I was anything but subtle when it came to telling ShakerFries where I wanted to visit.
A short walk from South Ken station, this little gem was easy enough to find. We had a reservation and so our table was ready upon arrival. The interior at Zheng is chic, sharp and sophisticated. I was surprised not to see any muslims dining there given that the food served is entirely halal (no pork in sight) with certificates hanging towards the entrance of the restaurant. Given my love of Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine, it didn’t take me long to dig out the dishes I wanted to try from the menu.
For drinks I ordered a fresh watermelon juice. For starters we went for prawn dim sum and chicken satay with peanut sauce, and for mains we opted for the Rendang beef curry and the ‘Godmother chilli chicken’ with coconut rice. The food arrived in record time which was a good job as I was starving!
The chicken satay included 4 chicken sticks in a portion. The chicken was juicy and tender, and was chargrilled so had a lovely smokey taste. The dim sum was piping hot and tasty too with 4 dumplings in a portion (I kind of wish I ordered more).
The mains were equally appetising. The Rendang is one of Shakerfries’s favourite Malaysian dishes. This dish had just the right amount of spice and was incredibly fragrant, boasting of flavours such as lemongrass and coconut. Although the portion was a little small, the dish itself was quite filling as they were rather generous with the amount of beef chunks in a portion. The chicken was a tad more spicy, but was still well within the manageable spice levels for us. Plus, I had my refreshing and fresh watermelon juice to extinguish the spice! Again, the chicken was juicy and flavoursome, stir fried in chilli oil and peppercorns. I do wish there was more of a sauce in this dish as this would have complemented the coconut rice a bit better, but overall I really enjoyed the flavours that came through both these dishes, and would certainly say they were very much authentic!
I decided to order one of my favourite Malaysian desserts to finish: sago gula melaka (sago pudding with palm sugar). This was the most perfect way to round off the meal for sure! I loved the texture of the chewy pearl sago that is drenched in combination of sweet gula melaka (palm sugar) and fragrant santan (coconut milk). In fact, I feel pretty inspired to go away and try to make this myself as I’ve read it’s really easy.
Overall, we really enjoyed our experience at Zheng Chelsea. The setting and service was fantastic and I can’t fault the kindness of the staff who even brought me a complimentary cupcake for my birthday! 🙂 From what we were told, despite being halal, Zheng is currently relatively untapped by the Muslim market, which is a shame because their food is beautifully authentic. The food is pricey, but worth it. I understand that their higher prices mean that this is the kind of place you would visit for more of a special occasion, but it’s definitely a place to try if you want to try something new, refreshing and authentic!