MALAYSIANS are generally not too particular about ambience when they eat out; what is more important is that the food must be good and cheap.
At the Highway Café in Taman Putra Indah, Serdang Raya, diners will get to enjoy a wide variety of local and foreign dishes in a pleasant environment, without having to burn a hole in their pocket.
Highway Café was established in 1997, the Year of the Ox. Today, it is a popular eatery in the Seri Kembangan area and the only one serving authentic Western and local home-made favourites.
The restaurant offers a charming dining experience with its warm service and cosy ambience, complemented by piped-in music of the 80s. It is little wonder the Highway Café pulls in the crowd, even from as far as Klang and Sungai Long.
Of course, its central location in the well-known Sin Heap Lee Business Centre in Seri Kembangan is another reason why it is a favourite eating place for diners of all races.
But, the place has its own attractions, too – although it is sparsely decorated, it is given a touch of class by an ox statue at the doorway, welcoming diners into the cool interior – definitely a welcome prospect during the current hot spell.
“We have created a setting for a richer atmosphere, with seating arrangements for a small family of four, a bigger group of six or eight, and a dining corner with sofa seating,” restaurant manager Lai Chin Chong said.
“There is something for every one who patronises our restaurant, and our menu list is one of its kind. Among the regulars, we are known as the ‘first-of-its-kind Western’,” Lai added.
Indeed, diners unfamiliar with the outlet would be surprised by the extensive range of Western delights on offer, ranging from appetisers and soups to main courses as well as light snacks in the a la carte menu. There is also a fair variety of set menus.
According to chefs John Lim and Hong, the café has become known for several signature dishes over the years. These dishes comprise both Western and local delights.
Among the Western offerings are Grilled Lamb Chop, Sizzling Chicken Portuguese, Ribeye Steak, Highway Tenderloin Sizzling Steak, Phoenix Neptune Combo, Grilled Mushroom Chicken and Baked Lobster.
Meanwhile, the local favourites include Nasi Lemak, special homemade Curry Fish Head, and the chef’s own recipe of Nasi Bonjari, Special Cantonese Noodles with Tiger Prawns, and Penang Styled Fried Kuey Teow with Chicken Sausage and Ikan Bilis.
Prices range from RM11.90 for the Highway Chicken Chop, a fried piece of breaded chicken meat served with French fries and vegetables straight from the charbroiler, to set menus from RM55.90 to RM89.90 in the Western corner.
Malaysian delights are priced as low as RM7.90 for a plate of fried rice served with chicken, prawns and vegetables, with the most expensive item being the Curry Fish Head, at RM63 for a big serving.
According to Lim, the most popular items on the menu are steak and lamb. Both the beef and the lamb are imported from Australia.
Lim suggested that I try the Nasi Bonjari, served with spicy deep-fried drumstick, sambal prawns and beef rendang or chicken curry, egg, cucumber and tomato; the Cantonese Special Noodles with two tiger prawns, each weighing about 100gm; Grilled Lamb Chop, a triple cut of lamb loin served with vegetables and French fries.
I must confess that I found them quite irresistible and indulged more than I should have, and as a consequence, I had to forgo dessert and the Highway Café range of sharkfin and mushroom soup.
HIGHWAY CAFE SDN BHD, 6-8, Jalan SR 8/3, Taman Putra Indah, Serdang Raya, 43300 Seri Kembangan (Tel: 03-8943 1479). Business Hours: 11.30am-midnight (Monday to Friday); 11.30am-12.30am (Saturday and Sunday).
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.