Riverboat represents a promise fulfilled: Its Malaysian founder Louis once vowed to his Thai wife Prinyanut that they would someday run their own restaurant that specialises in the cuisine of her homeland. Now scarcely half a year old, Riverboat has swiftly earned a reputation in Taman Desa & beyond for honest cooking that strives to do justice to Prinyanut's heritage.
This is one of those eateries where it's hard to go wrong with whatever you order, but there are several crowd favourites - the BBQ pork neck (RM14.90) is deservedly among them, juicy & flavoursome, the sort of snack that demands to be munched merrily & polished off the plate. You'll also find irreproachable interpretations of cherished classics like the tangy, fresh-tasting 'som tum' papaya salad (RM9.90) & savoury, fragrant 'krapow moo' fried minced pork with basil leaves (RM14.90).
Contrary to some beliefs, boat noodles are far from played out in KL - you can still chance upon enjoyable takes on the recipe; Riverboat's rendition is relatively more nuanced than the norm, with delicate subtleties brimming in each beautifully painted bowl. The portion is reasonable value - RM2 for pork, RM2.50 for beef, with a choice of braised or fresh sliced meat for both.
Louis & Prinayut consider this their signature offering: A whole tilapia that's salt-crusted & carefully char-grilled to order for half an hour - its flesh, completely moist & lightly accented with undercurrents of lemongrass & kaffir lime leaves, is consumed in a cabbage-lettuce wrap with vermicelli & a trio of sauces that contribute fiery spark & piquant zest. RM38 for a serving to share.
If you're ready to brave further heat, Riverboat's range of tom yum goong should hit the spot - the one with seafood comes with plenty of prawns, fish, squid & clams in a nicely balanced broth that remains true to Riverboat's forte of fashioning flavours that sing, not shout (RM22.90 for small). Prefer a creamier, richer concoction? Ask for the 'kaeng som' (RM24.90), a gently sweet-sour tamarind curry with prawns & omelette slices that had us compulsively slurping up each steaming-hot spoonful.
It helps to have a mango & sticky rice dessert & Thai tea round out a spicy lunch. Many thanks to Riverboat for having us here - we're happy to report that Riverboat is one of our recommended restaurants on the Eat Drink KL mobile app. Enjoy a 6 percent discount off your bill when you use the app here, any day, any time. Riverboat closes on alternate Wednesdays.
23 Plaza Danau Desa 2, Jalan 3/109F, Off Jalan Klang Lama, Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur
Open 11am-10pm, closed alternate Wednesdays. Tel: 011-2629-2779
This restaurant is available for bookings under TABLEAPP, which enables customers to make instant reservations at Malaysia's top restaurants, while saving time and money in the process. Reserve your table at this restaurant by clicking here.
The Eat Drink KL mobile app is now available, connecting restaurants & customers to promote a positive spirit of community.
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