Saturday, 16 February 2013

KL Canolog, Malaysian Cafe, Roath, Cardiff review



Whenever anywhere new opens on Wellfield Road that isn’t a café, charity shop or purveyor of knickknacks, it’s a cause for celebration.

Ok, I concede that KL Canolog is a café. However, the Malaysian food and drink they’re serving makes for a far more interesting lunch than a tuna melt and cinnamon lattefrappechino from the Caffe Costabucks opposite.


KL Canolog’s menu is stuffed with food that I want to eat. It made it rather difficult ordering lunch on my tod without Mrs G accompanying me to pilfer food from.  Chicken laksa, satay skewers, mee goreng, chicken curry pie and a chicken rendang wrap will all have to wait for another day.


To start, I ordered roti canai (£3.80). 2 crisp, elastic, buttery layered pancakes were served with an aromatic curry leaf and mustard seed flecked dhal.


Next up, the nasi lemak with chicken rendang (£6.80) was a plate-full of goodies. Tender chicken in a fairly dry, spice-packed sauce was served with fluffy, coconut infused rice, crispy & fishy dried anchovies, crunchy peanuts, sweet & spicy chilli sambal, half a cold boiled egg and slices of cleansing cucumber. Every mouthful offered up a combination of different textures, flavours and temperatures.


For dessert, I thought I’d put KL Canolog’s teatime credentials to the test with some tea and cake. Despite the draw of the coconut rose cake and lemongrass & kafir lime cake, I plumped for the screwpine leaf (pandan) cake (£2.50) as it sounded the oddest. It turned out it wasn’t strange all - the pandan lent a milky, vanilla sweetness to the butter icing sat atop a slice of pretty decent sponge.


I washed it down with a comfortingly sweet & milky cup of teh tarik (£2.10). It tasted like chai without the spice.


KL Canolog is a welcome addition to Wellfield Road. The serene atmosphere, interesting menu, short wait for food and novel Asian deli section all make this my kind of place. 

The details: 

Address - Unit 5 The Globe Centre, Wellfield Road, CF24 3PE Roath, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Telephone - 07506 591900
KL Canolog on Urbanspoon

27 comments:

  1. If you are ever near Swansea then it's probably worth trying out Garuda at some stage. They've got a website, tiny place it is.

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    1. @JL - It looks charming from the website - really homely. I've got so many restaurants I'd like to visit in Swansea but I never get round to visiting.

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  2. I was all excited about this place a few weeks ago. Went in and was not greeted/served/noticed for about 10 mins... walked out again...

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    1. Went in a second time last weekend and have to say - - - it was amazing!!!! Loved the food and the service was good. Hope it will be consistent this way.

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  3. When we went in there, we were really excited to try new food, but all we got was reheated food accompanied by a loud 'ping', just so we were extra sure of its provenance. Really disappointing.

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    1. @anonymous - In a cafe environment I'm not sure it would be possible to cook a fresh curry from scratch for each order. For instance, a dhal would take over an hour to prepare. I think plenty of places use microwaves to reheat dishes such as this - it's just less common to actually hear the ping of a microwave.

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    2. yeah but everything is precooked and then bung in microwave,nothing fresh except for salad,may has well buy microwave meals at supermarkets for a quid.......

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    3. Hi anonymous (above),
      I am Bakh, the owner at KL Canolog. Yes, some things are definitely pre-cooked because some dishes take over an hour to cook so we can't let our customers wait that long as that would just be unacceptable. But as some have said here, it is common for cafes (or even restaurants) to do this, but the only thing is you dont hear the ping of the microwave at those places as they do not have an open kitchen (and café has one and we are not embarrassed by it). There are chicken rendang ready made paste in a jar or indian jalfrezzi or thai green curry for about a quid or two at the supermarket, that's true.

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  4. Had chicken rendang curry there last week, with chai tea. Boyd had roti. Great service, lovely food, they even stayed open longer so we could finish eating (they close at 3 on a Sunday, we walked in at 245). Highly recommend it and would def go again. Hope it's going to stick around.

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    1. @anonymous - Glad you enjoyed it!

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    2. indeedy!!! hope it's going to succeed.... I have to say that I very much enjoyed sitting in there and observing people walking past. It's a great location and has that cosyness to it. Tucked away kind of thing but still able to watch the busy Wellfield Rd.

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  5. You HAVE to visit The Crispy Duck on Whitchurch Road! Wow, one of the best oriental places out there :)

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    1. @anonymous - It's very much on my to visit list!

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  6. ANOTHER 'WELL DONE' TO THE RESTAURANT OWNERS! I've since introduced several friends to KL Canolog and they're all loving it (:
    Looking forward to many more visits.
    It's my favourite Cardiff Restaurant now !!!

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    1. @franziskajones - Thanks for the comment. Really looking forward to paying KL Canolog another visit soon.

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  7. Wonderful food at this restaurant and very good service. Highly recommended!

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  8. I normally agree with Gourmet Gorro and he has a fantastic blog which I have been quietly following since I came to Cardiff. However, as a malaysian, I can tell you KL Canolog is no where near authentic. The teh tarik taste like powder baby milk. This is not the taste you get back home. The nasi lemak is mircowaved!!! NOT FRESH FOOD, guys. There is no proper kitchen on site. The chicken rendang is stale. I would definitely not recommend this place. There is definitely better and more authentic malaysian restaurants/cafe in Cardiff than KL Canalog which Gourmet Gorro has reviewed before.

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    1. Hello Anonymous (above),
      I am the owner of KL Canolog and cannot believe what you have just written. It is mind boggling and I am uncertain of what your intentions are. We are a café, and our kitchen is an open kitchen and we do not pretend we have a full on large restaurant kitchen. I have been cooking Malay food for the last 23 years, for my Malay family and friends. We are very proud of our Malay cooking and heritage and especially now that we are able to serve it from such a modest size café kitchen. Your comments above is a truly mind boggling. I have had the same regular repeat Malaysian customers who come in every week specifically for the nasi lemak and chicken rendang (and they order that one without fail everytime), and have also received very good feedback from Malay customers in particular to the dish that you have commented on above (also the nasi lemak and chicken rendang). I find that It is very very common indeed for Malaysians to be overly and eagerly critical of Malaysian food when they find a Malaysian café/restaurant but your comment is a great mystery ie. how you came to that conclusion. I do not know what your intensions are but would very much like you to come again and maybe we can discuss the merits of true Malay cooking and give you a tour of our modest kitchen from a closer range.
      Bakh.

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  9. Anonymous, I think without find out about the cafe myself, I will trust your words and opinion!

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    1. Hi Anonymous,
      Please come and try our food and decide for yourself. please also read my reply to the person who commented before you above ( I am assuming that you are not both the same person). Hope to see you : ) Terima kasih & Diolch!
      Regards,
      Bakh.

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  10. Btw, just hope this place is not going to give a bad impression about Malaysian foods!!

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    1. Hi Anonymous (above),
      I can assure you that giving Malaysian food a good impression is as important to us as surviving as a business. We are proud of our Malay and Malaysian heritage and our cooking, and would rather close shop than give Malaysian food a bad name.
      Kind Regards,
      Bakh (owner at KL Canolog)

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  11. Only been there once after reading good reviews online-ordered their famous nasi lemak rendang. I'm a malaysian who loves authentic malaysian food but is generally accepting of lower standards oversees if they generally resemble the food back home. What I got served was shreds of microwaved chicken with few drops of rendang sauce (maybe most of them have evaporated in the microwave) which made the whole thing really dry. My friend (who is Welsh) went with his family few days later to try their food and made the same comment about the bad quality of the microwaved food they serve and I regret not letting them know of my horrible experience at this place sooner. I don't understand how anyone can say this is good food. Even in malaysia it is not uncommon to have pre-cooked sauces/curries/rice in a large pot but they are still fresh.

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  12. I think the owner should acknowledge that there has been quite a lot of comments about the microwaved food and that people are expecting fresh good food for the price they pay, rather than being defensive and evasive about it if they want to improve their standard. I have no doubt that they are capable of making authentic malaysian food but rendang without sauce and chicken that doesn't look like chicken is not how I like my chicken rendang. My advice is take on board the criticisms and work on them.

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  13. I am a Malaysian and am very concerned about the quality of the food served. I tell my friends that we Malaysians are known to be 'foodies' who travel hours for a great meal. So imagine my embarrassment when we had to eat old microwaved meals. .. kl canolog... Don't kill that goose or else you'll start losing your golden eggs!

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  14. Hi there fellow Malaysians,
    Thanks for the useful constructive comments. Our sincere apologies to you and your friends. We will improve on those points raised about the chicken rendang, and are glad you brought this to our attention. Just to avoid any confusion to others that might be reading this, our chicken rendang (is it really famous?) is cooked in a pot and not microwaved cook, but due to the physical constraints of our kitchen, we cannot constantly keep it heated up on the stove (otherwise we would have to have 8 stoves constantly turned on slow fire all at the same time for all the different dishes), so the chicken rendang for example is put in the microwave momentarily to heat it up before serving. None of our food are microwaved cooked, some are just heated up in the microwave prior to serving. Sorry, I just wanted to get that clear so there is no doubt to readers (not meant as a defensive comment). Our soup is served from the pot, our chicken satay is done on the grill, Our rice (nasi lemak) is cooked and served from the rice cooker, and the Nasi Goreng & Mee Goreng are served straight after frying in the wok, etc. So, I hope people do not get the wrong impression that our food is microwaved cooked. We actually do not normally reply to comments here (as I feel it isn't that appropriate for us to use gourmet gorro's blog as a forum for café owner's to response to comments), but a much earlier comment (11th oct) I felt warranted a reply from us (our earlier reply on 20th Oct). Thanks all.
    Kind regards from KL Canolog.

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  15. If malaysians want to eat proper malaysian foods, then go buy flight ticket and go home. Acknowledge the fact that british customers have different taste buds than yours. I think your foods serve well for both groups. The only remark is your service is a bit slow. We had to wait for almost an hour for chicken satay and nasi lemak with teh tarik!

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