When my colleagues from the regional office visited us in KL, we wanted them to experience the local food. Madam Kwan’s would automatically be the best choice, but since they have visited that the night before, we brought them to Serai @ Life Centre, Jalan Sultan Ismail instead.
I ordered the Nasi Lemak (RM 16) that comes with ayam goreng berempah, prawn sambal and traditional condiments such as peanuts and ikan bilis served with aromatic coconut rice.
To be honest, I was quite disappointed with Serai’s nasi lemak. While visually it did look appetizing, it was far from the completely satisfying, delicious mark as it is lacking in many areas.
To start is the ayam goreng berempah. What I love about this fried chicken is that it is very crispy and beautifully browned on the outside while on the inside, it is still very juicy and tender. However, the seasonings on the chicken were a bit mild and hence, the chicken tasted quite bland without the help of the prawn sambal.
The nicely seasoned prawn sambal tasted good. This sweet and mild sambal is more to a tomato-based sauce. I felt the prawn sambal did a tremendous job in saving the nasi lemak as it is the only thing that made the dish less dry. Unfortunately, the sambal was just too little – two spoons of it and you can barely see any left. Imagine how hard I had to ration the sauce so that it is enough to get though the meal.
Then, there is the ikan bilis, which was indeed very crispy but lacking that nice salty fragrance.
To drink, I had the Serai Blended (RM 10.50), which is a lychee ice-blended drink infused with lemongrass extract. Somehow, the drink was not as good as expected because the lychee and the lemongrass flavour didn't combine very well. I suspect it was because the lychee didn't stand out much, making it tasted more like a lemongrass drink rather than a lychee and lemongrass drink.
While the experience was not very satisfying, it is still a nice place to introduce local food to foreigners as the flavours are milder and easily accepted by others who are not accustomed to our intense local flavours. Besides that, the environment is pretty cosy and less crowded, making a good place for a business meal.
G-06, Life Centre
20, Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur