Malaya Classic, Hurst Street

From the people behind Harborne favourite Henry Wong comes Malaya Classic in the Arcadian.

From the outside the restaurant looks a bit soulless – kerb appeal is not its strong point – but on the inside it’s a winner and that’s what counts, right? Bright, characterful, warm and welcoming, it’s a delight.

The menu’s large featuring Malaysian dishes alongside Chinese options. We opted for a mixture. A platter of starters to share included crunchy vegetable fritters delicious dunked in a hot chilli dip, chicken satay skewers with a top-notch peanut sauce, punchy rendang beef spring rolls and pandan fried chicken. Wrapped tightly and cooked in banana leaf, the chicken was incredibly succulent. £9.90 per person.


Nasi Lemak with chicken took us back to a trip to Langkawi where we ate something similar most days. Served on the bone, the chicken was superb with a generous helping of moreish perfectly spiced sauce, coconut rice, a fried egg, sambal chilli, peanuts, anchovies and pickled vegetables. The combination of heat with sweet coconut and sharp pickled veg was seriously good. The rice was marbled with something blue which was a bit off putting, but it tasted great. Sweet and sour chicken didn’t break the mould, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. It was really good and free from the cloying sauce that seems commonplace, it tasted fresh and delicately flavoured.


A bao bun with shredded duck and hoisin sauce was a surprise. We ordered it merely to sample rather than because we thought it’d blow our socks off, but it was brilliant. The soft pillowy bun was filled with gorgeous flavours and textures we didn’t expect. We’re planning another trip dedicated to working our way through the entire selection.

We were warned the food might take 15 to 20 minutes if we ordered from the ‘signature dishes’ part of the menu which felt like a good sign – everything we ate felt freshly and thoughtfully prepared. Obviously, that should be a given but it’s not always the case. We’d highly recommend.

MALAYA CLASSIC, 70 Hurst Street, Birmingham, B5 4TD. Tel: 0121 622 4559