Dancing Fish @ Bangsar Shopping Centre

Waltzing its way to the affluent neighbourhood at Bangsar, Dancing Fish is a contemporary Malay-Indo restaurant that offers a fine selection of West Javanese and Malay cuisine. Despite its playful sounding name, Dancing Fish put forth a serious note when it comes to their menu with dishes that are done in the traditional way to reproduce the exact flavours of its origin. “The culinary offerings from the west coast of Indonesia are influenced by the Dutch, Chinese, Indian and their own local people as the region was once a popular trading route for spices in the olden days. Hence, Indonesian dishes boast a rich cultural heritage akin to our Baba Nyonya cuisine,” Joshua Teoh, co-owner of Dancing Fish explained.

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Being a self-confessed foodie, he fell in love with Indonesian food especially those that are found in Bali and Bandung. Joshua informed that the people from the west coast of Indonesia are very passionate with their art and culture. “They emphasise on simplicity and adhere to fundamental principles. Even their cooking is done in a rudimentary manner. For example, if they want to grill a meat they will use charcoal to bring out the flavour,” he added.

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The popular Emping with Sambal Terasi (RM 5.00) was made using an Indonesian native nut called Melinjo where the seeds are grounded into flour before being deep fried as crackers. Taste wise, it has a nice nutty and bitterness flavour from the mixture of the nut and skin that were pounded together. The dipping sauce known as Sambal Terasi was mildly spicy and has an addictive taste that goes very well with the crackers.

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Dancing Fish’s Mix Grill Platter (RM 38.00) comprising of a bountiful mixture of calamari and chicken satay were grilled using charcoal, similar to how they are prepared in Indonesia. “Ingredients wise, we do not add MSG to our sauce. Instead, we use a lot of basic ingredients such as garlic, onions, galangal to give flavours to our dishes,” Joshua explained.

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The chicken satay has a good amount of charred finish on its surface while the innards were easily chewed as the restaurant uses chicken thigh instead of breast meat to yield a more tenderised texture.

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The grilled calamari was also flavourful as grilling the squid with charcoal intensified its flavour while the black sauce that was used for marination resulted in having a pleasant sweet and smokey flavour.

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The accompanied Black Sauce with Sambal has playful characteristics of sweetness and spiciness while the Peanut Sauce is different from our local version with a mild level of spiciness.

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A combination of mini star fruits with herbs and spices, the Belimbing Ikan Masin rounded off the entire platter using a different type of sambal thus making it spicier with a sweet and sour finish.

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Dancing Fish’s Pucuk Paku Kerabu (RM 12.90) was another highlight with its nice tangy flavoured sauce cooked with young fern leaves, herbs, onions chili and lime juice.

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Taking its cue from the famous Legong dance, the signature Dancing Fish (RM 40.90) was an eye-catching dish where the freshwater Nila fish was presented on a square plate in its most graceful stance. To ensure freshness, the restaurant has two large tanks to keep the fishes alive only to be deep-fried once customers placed an order.

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Joshua is also steadfast with the sizes of the Nila fishes. “Every fish must adhere to a specific measurement as I prefer all my servings to be standardised” he said.

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For those who are unfamiliar with this dish, a good way to enjoy the dancing fish is to eat the meat and bones together. Every bite was quickly met with a satisfying crunch reverberating in mouth. While the fish itself has ample taste, dipping the meat into the Sambal Terasi with Kicap gave the flavour more depth. Texture wise, the restaurant ought to be commended for skilfully frying the fish without leaving an oily surface.

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While fermented durian paste may be off-putting for some, the Gulai Tempoyak Prawns (RM 61.00) was surprisingly light with a blend of turmeric, coconut milk and spices slow-cooked with freshwater prawns and fermented durian paste. The creamy-like texture sauce has a slight bit of sourish taste which according to Joshua was intentionally put together in such a way to balance off the sweetness of the durian flavour so that customers do not feel queasy after consuming the sauce.

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The Green & Red Chilies Beef Ribs (RM 59.90) is yet another crowd puller at Dancing Fish with lusciously grilled Australian short ribs marinated with aromatic herbs and sauce. While the black sauce that was used for the ribs looked deceptively similar to the grilled calamari, the ingredients, according to Joshua are supposedly different.

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The caramelised texture on the meat was rich and delectable while the meat was assuringly moist and tender. The accompanied homemade red and green chilies sambal sauces gave an extra kick to the flavour of the ribs with a varying degree of spiciness in between them.

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Bebek Goreng Bali (RM 29.00 – half duck / RM 52.90 – full duck) was marinated with a special blend of Balinese herbs and spices for 24 hours before deep frying till the skin turns crispy. Although the dish came came with chili sauce, the meat itself was flavourful enough to be eaten on its own.

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Customers can choose either Nasi Putih Wangi  (RM 3.00) or Nasi Kuning Berempah (RM 4.00) to eat the dishes together with rice; a perfect compliment for the rich flavour that these dishes offer.

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Dancing Fish’s sweet offerings were an absolute delight. Kicking off with the Dancing Fish Trio (RM 9.90), a combination of lemongrass jelly with sour plum burst and tropical fruit Gelato and Cendol (RM 6.50) with its rich tasting palm sugar, both desserts were praiseworthy enough to end the meal on a high note.

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The fact that Dancing Fish has been voted as the top 20 restaurant in CNN Travel is a good indication of how good their Indo-Malay cuisine are. While the biggest stumbling block for any restaurants is to bring back the authentic flavour from its origin back to our shores, Dancing Fish has undoubtedly triumph over the hurdle with flying colours. Highly recommended.

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Dancing Fish
Bangsar Shopping Centre
285, Jalan Maarof
3rd Floor Bangsar Shopping Centre
59000 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-2095 6663

Setia City Mall Outlet
Lot UG30, Setia City Mall
Bandar Setia Alam, Seksyen U13
40170 Shah Alam
Selangor Darul Ehsan

Tel: 03-3345 6881

Business Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. (daily)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DancingFishRestaurant/timeline

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