Thursday, July 23, 2015

Big Baba @ Taman Desa

When Uncle Wee cooks, the sounds & smells that surface from his kitchen feel like home. "Sekejap, ya," followed swiftly by "Panas! Panas!" as a steaming-hot bowl of aromatic pongteh chicken is carried out to the customer's table at this new Nyonya restaurant that tries to transport the flavour of Malacca to KL's Taman Desa neighbourhood.

Eating at this atmospheric venue does evoke a sense of my southern hometown, in a touristic fashion, thanks to decorative flourishes meant to convey the rich cultural charm of Peranakan heritage. There's nostalgia in the air, with Nat King Cole singing through the speakers. But there's also a ring of authenticity behind the aesthetics - Uncle Wee, now in his mid-60s, was born & bred in Tengkera in Malacca, raised by a mother who was a cook & taught her recipes to him & his 11 siblings.

This is the food of Uncle Wee's family - he cooks here every weekday, lunch & dinner, helping out his sister's son who owns Big Baba. Everything is made fresh - in Uncle Wee's words, for the chicken pongteh (RM26+), "itu jam masak, itu jam kena makan. Kalau tak de, dia semua kembang, ubi kentang kembang."

The menu isn't exceptionally extensive, but it hits many essentials. "Kita baru, jadi tak berani bikin banyak-banyak barang," says Uncle Wee. You'll find otak-otak (RM12+), telur cincalok (RM15+), terung goreng (RM12+) & udang masak lemak nanas (RM35+), capably prepared & enjoyably tasty, alongside other highlights like itik tim, kari dabael, rendang daging lembu, sambal petai sotong & ikan asam pedas. Portions seem suitable for two to three people; a meal here may exceed RM30 per person, particularly if you order prawns, but there are lunch sets that cost a more budget-friendly RM12.90-RM18.90 each.

Big Baba
34, Jalan 2/109E, Desa Business Park, Taman Bukit Desa, Off Old Klang Road, Kuala Lumpur.
Open Mon-Fri, 11am-3pm, 6pm-9pm. Currently closed on weekends. Tel: 03-7987-7755

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18 comments:

  1. A very interesting and pleasant, bright colour scheme! I love it when places are not afraid to use colour! The dishes look very nice, too!

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    1. Linda: i do like the splash of colours too, and they're quite soothing! :)

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  2. This is one place I gotta check out - love the rustic decor... and loveeeee Nyonya food as well!

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    1. Baby Sumo: yaa, i think this might be the only full-fledged Nyonya restaurant so far in taman desa (there's also a nyonya vegetarian restaurant nearby, if i recall correctly) :)

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  3. Wee? Hmmm...not related to me, I'm sure. Baba nyonya...count me in! Drooling! Drooling!!! Hope to check out this place sometime.

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    1. Suituapui: i think you might enjoy the food here! it does have a home-cooked feel :)

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  4. Uncle... Wee? I hope not the one we know LOL

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    1. Ken: could be a distant relation! :D

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  5. Give me a big bowl of rice please~~ LOL

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    1. Choi Yen: heheh, a small bowl for me! :)

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  6. This place must be very new....even the wall décor is still wrapped up in plastic! Closed on weekends? Hmmm...

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    1. Contact.ewew: ya, it was pretty new when we visited :) and yeah, uncle wee is the only actual cook here for now, so he takes a rest on saturdays and sundays :)

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  7. OOhh we just had peranakan food here in Sydney last week too! Dishes looked really familiar.. ahh love the pongteh with rice!

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    1. Iamthewitch: i can't resist pongteh ... i do always order it when i see it! :D

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  8. Hooray! Another new restaurant here, hehe.

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    1. CK: hopefully you like it, since you're very familiar with Malaccan/Peranakan/Nyonya food too! :)

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  9. Must go soon. they announced it on FB a while ago.. but til now I cant seem to get my axx to Taman Desa. LOL

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    1. Rebecca: from taman tun to taman desa not that far! heheh :)

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