Malay food served in historial building

PHOTO: The Straits Times

Mamanda, the Malay restaurant beside the Malay Heritage Centre, is often overshadowed by the nasi padang eateries in the area, which offer good - and cheaper - food.

But those who do not mind paying more will be rewarded with a nicer ambience and more refined cooking.

The restaurant is housed in a historical building that used to be the home of the Bendahara, who was second only to the Sultan in rank in the old days.

The dining room and kitchen occupy the ground floor, while the upper floor is reserved for special functions.

If you're visiting the restaurant for the first time, a good option is to order the Nasi Ambeng ($44 for two people, right). It comes on a large platter, with a mound of rice in the centre surrounded by various dishes, such as beef rendang, fried beef lung, chicken curry, sambal prawns, sambal goreng, fried salted fish and vegetables.

It is a good sampling of the restaurant's cooking and some dishes - such as the chicken and salted fish - are pretty good. I find the rendang rather dry and tough though.

If you are big eaters, order an extra dish to supplement the meal. My dining companion and I pick the Sotong Sambal Nusantara ($13.90) and it turns out to be excellent. The squid is cooked just right, with a springy texture. And the sambal is delicious.

WHERE: Mamanda, 73 Sultan Gate

MRT: Nicoll Highway

OPEN: 11am to 10pm daily

TEL: 6396-6646

This article was first published on Feb 10, 2017. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.