[Pork-free] Black is the new gold. Arang Restaurant in Kapas Heights, Bangsar is a wonderful new addition to the dining scene in the affluent neighborhood.
Founded by Executive Chef Nurliyana who left her corporate job to pursue her passion for cooking, Arang is an amalgamation of her experiences and training in kitchens around the world.
Find dishes here inspired by her Javanese heritage melded with French techniques and Japanese influences to tantalise the senses.
Arang Restaurant in Bangsar
Nurliyana is supported by her sister, Nur Syazana who manages the front of house; and chef de cuisine Lal Chhuang Pui.
The space here is comfortable with the U-shaped bar counter (or more aptly, A-shaped when it is inverted) as the centerpiece of the restaurant.
The bar not only offers a peek into the bustling kitchen but also functions as a communal table where conversations (and drinks) can flow freely throughout the night.
We sat at the al fresco balcony area on a cool 24-degree breezy Saturday evening and enjoyed having the section to ourselves very much.
Fanned by the flames of Arang
Arang espouses food that is gut-friendly with a focus on organically-sourced ingredients, and charcoal grill as a cooking method (Arang means charcoal in Malay).
We like that the menu here is short and taut.
For starters, there’s the Corn Ribs (RM9) – organic cob grilled with kombu butter and topped with Parmigiano, and Chicken Wings + Drumettes (RM15) cooked with smoked Sichuan Kaffir Salt.
For mains, there is the quintessential Nasi Lemak (RM38), but dressed up in blue from the addition of Bunga Telang (blue pea flower). The coconut-infused rice is served with Soy Kantan organic chicken and a herb-infused broth.
Also, find Smoked Bebek (RM35) here and Pizza (RM35) topped with duck Prosciutto and paprika chicken sausage.
Since our visit a few weeks ago, Arang has tweaked its menu ever so slightly – so do check out their website here for the latest iteration.
We also found the prices here to be very reasonable for the display of creativity. We were served generous portions for each dish ordered.
Starting it right with focaccia and corn
Our night started well with complimentary appetisers in the form of focaccia bread, toasted soy nori peanuts, and fried anchovies.
The focaccia bread was beautifully toasted with a rich fragrance from vinegar and olive oil, but our favourite was the toasted peanuts which had a nice tangy kick from the fermented soy sauce, and umami from the seaweed and sesame seeds.
The Corn Ribs (RM9) was a decent starter – nicely grilled on charcoal with umami from the kombu butter and Parmigiano.
Blue Nasi Lemak
We ordered the Blue Nasi Lemak (RM38) as we were intrigued by its description of its accompanying soy kantan organic chicken and broth (Ming loves bunga kantan anything!).
With its blue-colored hue, the rice was more than visually appealing as it was richly-infused with coconut milk (santan).
The chicken leg, which came with its literal presentation of the leg and all, was grilled perfectly to tenderness with the juices kept intact, and a nice sweet glaze on the skin.
The accompanying sambal packed a punch, and the ginger paste was nice as it tasted similar to the ones served with Hainanese chicken rice.
Finally, we washed down each bite with a sip of the aromatic broth which had interesting notes of garlic, bay leaves, coriander, and carrots.
Don’t call me, bebek
As the name implies, the Smoked Bebek (RM35) takes more inspiration from the Javanese roots, as the duck is served with urap salad (Javanese steamed vegetables served with grated coconut), soy jus, and sambal matah.
We had to send back our first serving of smoked duck breast as we found it to be rather under-cooked (read: rubbery) and under-seasoned. It was probably a bad batch, but the kitchen was kind enough to cook a new portion for us (that we did not request).
The second serving – however, was excellent!
The duck meat was superbly flavourful and tender with spices that reminded us a bit of percik marinade. With its earthy notes, the urap was perfect to contrast the richness of the duck.
We also enjoyed the sambal matah (raw sambal) tremendously as the piquant, acidic, spicy notes went well with the duck (and even the soy kantan chicken, as a matter of fact).
Coconut Yoghurt Ice-Cream
To finish the night, we ordered the Coconut Yogurt Ice-Cream (RM13) – which was a bit of a misnomer as no cream was used for the dessert.
Ming was excited to try this as she can’t take too much dairy. While the dessert was rich in coconut flavour with a nice lick of acidity from the lemon mint granita, she found this quite disappointing as it was rock-solid hard.
We tried desperately to break the ice (literally) – with our teeth and spoons – but failed to do so and had to once again send this back to the kitchen to request for them to break them down into bite-sized chunks.
We have rather mixed feelings about our dinner here. On one hand, we really enjoyed the melding of flavours and ingredients in the dishes – which we found to be quite differentiated from other offerings in the Klang Valley. We definitely recommended the Nasi Lemak and Smoked Bebek.
We also find the prices here to be very reasonable when you consider the portion, and quality of ingredients used.
On the other hand, they definitely have some kinks to iron out (they are less than a month old after all), but nothing that can’t be resolved easily. In any case, we hope to return one day to try Arang’s other offerings.
Address: Kapas Height Condominium, 3, Jalan Kapas, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
Hours: 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10pm (Mon-Sat)
12pm-3m, 5pm-9pm (Sun and Public Holiday)
Phone: 019-947 0078
Follow us on Instagram
Follow us on Instagram for the latest food adventures and recipes.