In the midst of the current craze of over-the-top food presentations, funky interiors and all things hipster, one sometimes forget that eating out, above all else, is essentially about the food – no frills, no nonsense, just simple real good taste to be enjoyed by oneself or with good company. That basic principle has never been lost with Lila Wadi, Kula Cakes and Krim by Kula Cakes, all considered as top notch eateries in Kuantan that have been winning the hearts of connoisseurs and common diners alike.
The song by Gardiner Sisters was playing on the stereo when my friend and I stepped into the dim-lit restaurant. But despite the slow acoustic music in the background, the place was bustling. People were flooding the eatery non-stop that we hesitated for a moment on whether we could even secure a table that night. Then Faiz came along, a young server who swiftly showed us to our seats, handed the menu with brief explanation on the best-sellers and before we knew it, the food was already served in front of us. “The service is immediate; I can’t remember when was the last time I had food prepared this quick in a restaurant,” I heard my friend said.
You’ll think that with the service so quick, the food somehow would be tasteless. But, it didn’t. Lila Wadi’s New York Cheese Burger (RM16.90) with a tender smoky patty was indeed delicious, but it was the flavour-packed Swedish meatballs (RM15.90) that truly won us over, which we thought could make IKEA run for its money. Lila Wadi has been serving delectable Pan-Asian and Western meals to locals and travellers alike for over five years, including the likes of Siti Nurhaliza, Johor and Pahang royal families, the state’s celebrated football team and high-profile politicians.
Even though it has been receiving such impressive list of clientele, the restaurant’s décor – clean and uncluttered, with elements of rusticity and industry – remains unassuming. Patrons are able to see the frangipani trees planted around the restaurant, which flower gives name to the restaurant (Lila Wadi means frangipani in Thai). When dining here, do try Lila Wadi’s signature offerings such as Lamb Supreme BBQ Steamboat (RM20.90 per person), Seafood Supreme BBQ Steamboat (RM21.90), Thai Chicken Wings (RM11.90), Pandan Cooler (RM4.90) and Iced Ginger Lemon Tea (RM4.90), besides those mentioned earlier. Make sure to save some space in your tummy for Lila Wadi’s famous Mango Cheese Cake (RM7) to complete the experience.
Lila Wadi Restaurant
A637 Lorong Selamat 21
Jalan Teluk Sisek, 25000 Kuantan, Pahang
T: +6 012 6644 054
Open: Tuesdays to Sundays from 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Kula Cakes by Lila Wadi
Kula Cakes is a low key corner cafe serving decadent desserts that melt your heart and get people with the likes of Siti Nurhaliza and Elfira Loy talking. It has several tables with benches set in a beautiful open air courtyard ensconced between two buildings should diners want to eat in. The mango cheese cake is clearly the favourite, with its golden colour and tropical flavour from pureed fresh mango on light and soft cream cheese layer. But if mango-flavoured desserts are not your cup of tea, then try out the other treats that will satisfy your sweet tooth such as peanut butter pie (RM9.90), Toblerone cheese cake (RM9.90) and my personal favourite, pavlova (RM7) with its crispy-shelled marshmallow meringue and billowing cream-and-berries topping.
Service is quick, friendly and professional. Take note that the cafe becomes packed during weekends, thus plan your trip wisely. Come at night to enjoy dining in the courtyard (if the weather permits) which is decorated like a hidden garden.
Kula Cakes by Lila Wadi
A96, Jalan Besar
25000 Kuantan, Pahang
T: +6 017 971 1396
Open: Tuesdays to Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Krim by Kula Cakes
Ice cream always sounds good, especially during hot weather that we all face these days. During our trip to Kuantan, we were lucky because we were right on time for the launch of a new artisanal ice cream parlour called Krim, under the same group that brings you Lila Wadi and Kula Cakes.
The parlour rotates its ice cream flavours which we find creative and fun such as teh Thai (Thai tea), Thai coconut, goreng pisang (banana fritter), gula nipah strawberry (strawberry with palm sugar) and mango cheese cake (of course), along with the classics like chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. All flavours come with cones (RM6.90 per scoop), chocolate chip cookies (RM10.90) or brownies (RM10.90). Also, do not miss savouring the shop’s sinfully delightful milkshake (RM11.90).
Krim by Kula Cakes
B-272, Jalan Beserah
T: +6 019 318 6817
Open: Tuesdays to Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.