With all the torrential rain, packed, rush-hour tubes, and the fact you can’t take a breath of fresh air without spending a tenner, the charm of living in London can wear thin. And on those days when we’re daydreaming of Terminal 3 while adding a SAD lamp to our basket, we need somewhere like Sudu. With friendly staff who greet you from behind the bar as you enter, romantic lighting, and fiery, intense Malaysian flavours, this place will remind you of the best things London has to offer.
Sandwiched between a dry cleaners and an always-busy off licence in Queen’s Park, this sleek spot is easily missable. The plain black frontage belies the calm oasis of hanging foliage and warm lighting inside. The wooden benches invite intimate catch-ups, and romantic date nights that start with across-the-table hand holding and end with aggressive hissing if they ask to split the last roti. The homely atmosphere will almost have you asking whether you should leave your shoes by the door. Especially when you find out the charming server is part of the owner’s family, after hearing the bartender ask her to “please sit down mum” for the third time. This is a comforting, familiar space where “of course you can take the corner table”, and “the usual” means a jug-of-water-to-hand-kind-of-spicy beef rendang.
There are all the usual suspects that you’d expect in a stand-up Malaysian restaurant, and Sudu does an excellent job of making hearty, satisfying versions of classics like nasi lemak with crispy fried chicken. Although we’d opt for the rich and tender rendang for the ultimate comfort dish. Malaysian-style chicken rice with succulent, honey-glazed meat and a warming side soup is something you won’t find everywhere—and even if you do, it won’t be as memorable as this one. Indonesian influences can be felt in the nasi goreng kampung, a spicy fried rice topped with a fried egg, that should 100% be on your table, and will probably feature in your rotation of monthly cravings.
You won’t come back to Sudu just for the top-notch food. And you won’t return just for the distressed walls and effortless romantic setting. You’ll be back for the cosy, neighbourhood energy that makes this restaurant the kind of place that makes us grateful to live in London. Even if we do arrive with a soaking umbrella in hand.
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Nicely charred and served with a sweet and sapid peanut dipping sauce that you should keep close to try with the other dishes too.
Roti Canai With Chicken Curry
A creamy curry sauce with tender pieces of chicken on the bone, and flaky, layered roti to soak it up with. If you only get one appetiser, make it this.
A plate of this spicy, rich, deeply comforting, slow-cooked beef is our favourite dish here. Hearty and satisfying enough to eat alone, but even better when scooped up with a roti or with a spoonful of coconut rice. Don’t miss this.
More soothing than that facial steamer you got off Amazon and used twice, this fried rice number is filled with prawns, anchovies, onions, and topped with a fried egg for good measure. The seafood dish to order.
If all our meals came with a steaming bowl of chicken soup on the side, we’d be OK with it. And the one that comes alongside this honey-glazed quarter chicken, that’s blackened on the outside and unbelievably tender on the inside, is very welcome.