Roa by Jovian Mandagie @ Shah Alam

October 14, 2014

Manado cooking is set to make its mark in Malaysia, thanks to this red-hot new restaurant that specialises in fiery fare from the capital city of Indonesia's North Sulawesi province.

Roa by Jovian Mandagie in Shah Alam is the first F&B enterprise by popular fashion designer Jovian Mandagie, whose family's roots stretch back to Manado. This is a restaurant with a reassuringly personal touch in everything from the food to the keepsakes that form part of the shaded alfresco setting.

 Worth heading all the way to Shah Alam for? If you're a fan of every sort of Southeast Asian gastronomic tradition, then yes; the food here is distinctive, pretty rich with herbs & spices; as a bonus, the restaurant's manager, Hasnidah, is wonderfully warm & helpful, enabling customers to enjoy their time here.

 Many of these are recipes that Mandagie's grandmother once served at a shop in Jakarta; fish is a big deal at Roa - which means garfish - with numerous dishes dedicated to finny fare, from 'cakalang saos,' smoked skipjack tuna vibrantly cooked with a sambal of chillies, shallots & garlic (this serving costs slightly south of RM10) ...

 ... to 'mie cakalang' (RM8.50), comprising noodles with fish & fried spring onions ...

 ... to 'sup asam' that's tangy with tomatoes & lime, a clear broth made complete with meaty chunks of fish ...

 ... to 'ikan bakar,' tender & prepared to order, served whole on the plate ...

 ... to the restaurant's namesake garfish, fried in morsels with rice & 'ayam rica-rica,' another spicy creation cooked with coconut oil & lemongrass (RM10 for this plate).

Don't skip the 'ayam tuturuga,' a savoury-sourish coconut milk curry with chicken & creamy potatoes.

 Vegetables are not an afterthought here; we like the kangkung & other 'rica rado' varieties stir-fried with sweet corn ...

 ... to pleasurably soft eggplant with fluffy egg (note though, Roa's food is for folks who don't fear obvious oil on their plates).

 Old-school 'kuih' to wrap up a memorable meal - 'kukus kelapa' (coconut tart) & glutinous rice filled with fish flakes.

 Papaya & lemongrass beverages to help us cool down; 'es teler' mixed fruit beverages are available too.

 We enjoyed Roa by Jovian Mandagie, especially since we're all in favour of wider culinary diversity - while Sundanese & Minangkabau cooking might be more familiar in Malaysia, Manadonese fare deserves to take its place alongside its peers.

 Roa by Jovian Mandagie is open daily, 8am through midnight - the most convenient business hours imaginable.

Roa by Jovian Mandagie
1A, Jalan Kristal K/7K, Section 7, Shah Alam

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