Sambal House in City Square Mall in Johor Bahru is part an emerging trend in JB, where young entrepreneurs open contemporary eateries serving their favourite traditional foods, often with their parents or grandparents' recipes. This exciting development deserves our support as it brings buzz to the Johor food scene while helping preserve Johor's culinary heritage.
Sambal House in City Square is owned Alia, who is in her early twenties. The recipes are from Alia's mother who hails from Negri Sembilan.
The neat and simple interior of Sambal House designed by Alia, who is an architect by training, has a hip red and black theme.
As the name of the restaurant so boldly states, the signature of Sambal House is their.... sambal, of course.
The sambals at Sambal House are made with fresh chilies with the seeds removed. The sambals are thus strong on flavours yet mild on spiciness. I found the sambals at Sambal House very easy to enjoy and very appetising.
This sambal udang was so tasty. The sambal was mildly spicy with that nice and mild flavour of chilies, spices, anchovies and prawns.
The prawns were fresh, the flesh sweet, still bouncy and the shells were soft. I ate the whole prawns with shell on, leaving only the heads and tails. The sambal udang went very well with the steamed white rice. RM6.50 a set.
I also tried Sambal House's Nasi Goreng Ayam set. The fried and flatten chicken in the Nasi Goreng Ayam set was quite dry.
The fried chicken was delicious when eaten together with Sambal House's signature sambal with plenty of anchovies.
The fried chicken and sambal went perfectly with the fried rice. The rice grains were flavourful, dry and separate. Alia, the lady boss, mentioned that this is her mum's recipe and her personal favourite.
Smothered underneath that thick blanket of grainy sambal was an ayam rendang chicken thigh. This was part of the Nasi Putih Ayam Rendang set at RM8.50. Again, it was the sambal that set Sambal House's ayam rendang apart.
The mildly spicy chicken curry with pleasant coconut and lemon grass flavours.
This Ayam Goreng was on its way to another customer and I couldn't resist taking a quick picture of it as it was so beautifully done.
Besides sambal dishes, Sambal House offers a range of traditional Malay desserts. This Tejung Pelita was soft, just a bit thicker than soft boiled eggs. Made with pandan and coconut, this popular dessert was sweet and smooth. RM1.20 a piece, served chilled.
Tapai, a sweet and sour traditional dessert made by fermenting glutinous rice. A popular traditional dessert that sells like hot cakes at RM1.00 a piece.
For those craving for fresh sour Kedongdong Asam juice (known as Balonglong in Singapore), it's available here at Sambal House at RM4.50.
After I finished my lunch, I realised that Sambal House has a dish known as Sambal Udang Petai. I must come back for this as it has sambal, prawns and petai, all three of my favourite food ingredients. Another dish that I want to come back again to try is their Sambal Toast.
Restaurant name: Sambal House
Address: Level 2, City Square Mall. Shop lot is next to the overhead bridge across Jalan Wong Ah Fook, and the Marrybrown outlet.
Hours: 11:00am to 10:00pm
Date visited: 7 Feb 2013
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