The Handbook
The Handbook

Last week The Handbook stepped out of the torrential rain on Berners Street and into the slightly surreal world of Sanderson. We walked through the dazzlingly white Long Bar, past the magical court yard and into Suka – the Malaysian restaurant, the majority of the restaurant is long communal trestle tables but we were in a corner which was cut off by a black drape, wing- back black leather chairs circled  a black table dotted with candles. It’s wonderfully secluded whilst still being part of the restaurant, and it felt rather like we were in a club about to start playing poker.

The Malaysian street food menu is made up of smaller dishes and main courses, they advise getting three plates each and sides, so we got stuck in to ordering a small feast and dug in taking a little bit of this and a little bit of that from each plate.

A mountain of Sotong Goreng (deep fried crispy squid, coriander, ginger & green peppercorn) was first to arrive, perfectly crisp and devilishly moreish, we were told it was the most popular dish and we could see why.  Chicken satay was next, unfortunately the chicken was quite dry and a little tough, luckily the sauce was creamy and nutty enough to remedy this.

The Nasi Goreng (stir-fried rice, prawns, squid, egg & chilli) was rather like a DIY egg fried rice, we were presented with a dome of rice filled with prawns and squid and topped with a fried egg which you had to mush and mix into the rice – it was absolutely delicious.

Masak Lemak Ruhani (Yellow coconut curry with pumpkin, bamboo shoots and birds eye chillies) was a generous helping of creamy curry with a just a bit of a kick and was perfect when combined with the coconut rice and for dipping the squid, prawn crackers and almost everything else into!

Popiah – or traditional Malaysian spring rolls, were crisp and flaky and not at all greasy, they were absolutely bursting with vegetables, served simply with sweet chili sauce. We finished off with Char Sui, Kai Lan  (Roast BBQ pork belly with soy, honey, hoisin and stir fried Asian green) which was a little disappointing, the flavours didn’t come through at all – it was particularly bland and the pork was very fatty, even for pork belly.

However it was the pudding that stole our hearts – not your typical Malaysian cuisine, we opted for pecan pie with salted caramel ice cream, as it had been recommended to us and we were glad it was as it was superb! The pecan pie was sweet and nutty with a smooth caramel sauce and crumbly pastry and the salted caramel ice cream was rich and was the right balance of salty and sweet.

We finished with an elderflower and pear Bellini and a Love and Rocket cocktail (which we highly recommend). The waiters were very friendly and apart from a couple of long waits between drinks we couldn’t fault the service.   

If you are after a fantastic atmosphere and great Malaysian sharing cuisine then get to Suka