In the hunt for halal Malaysian restaurants, we came across Hawker’s Kitchen in Kings Cross and, to say the least, it didn’t disappoint! Hawker’s Kitchen is a humble little spot situated on Caledonian Road offering Malaysian and South Indian cuisines. No Instagram or any other social media (they do have a simple website), and they’ve made their name in the local community entirely through their love and commitment for good food. I think you all know our love for Malaysian food, and we are thrilled to have discovered this little gem.
Hawker’s Kitchen: Kings Cross Local Gem
How do I know that Hawker’s Kitchen is a local gem for the area? Just look at how busy they are preparing bag after bag of takeaways. We visited twice across the same week (on a Tuesday and a Thursday), both times through our entire meal, we just see delivery orders flying in and out of the kitchen non-stop without a split-second of a breather. It’s actually almost impressive.
As you would expect for a simple no-fuss restaurant, it’s not a massive space at Hawker’s Kitchen and there’s no fancy decor whatsoever. It’s got this Malaysian Mamak-style eatery feel to it and you can see through the huge glass at the back of the restaurant with freshly made roti flying around and sizzling away.
The Food: what we ordered
The menu at Hawker’s Kitchen features Malaysian classics such as Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai, Nasi Goreng, etc. as well as some South Indian dishes like dosas and biryanis. All meats served are halal. No alcohol or pork is present at the restaurant.
Kway Toen Goreng (£8.99)
Let’s start off with the dish that truly wowed us – the Kway Toen Goreng, a.k.a Char Kway Teow. I genuinely don’t remember the last time I was impressed, or if I’ve ever been impressed, with any kind of stir-fried noodles in the UK. This Char Kway Teow from Hawker’s Kitchen has ticked every single box – from ‘wok-hei’ & texture to flavour & spice – it was a bull’s eye jackpot. We had it during both visits and the second time was just as impressive as the first. Expect spices to tingle and dance on your palate, with a little smoky and caramelised umami touch from the ‘wok-hei’. It was so good that I could totally convince myself being on holiday in Malaysia. You can choose from chicken, mixed vegetables, or prawns (+£1.50 extra) – we went with prawns for both times.
Curry Laksa (£9.49)
We’ve always loved a good curry laksa and this one from Hawker’s Kitchen had been a decent treat. It’s got a smooth creamy coconut-y broth and features a good kick of spice to it. Again, you can choose from chicken, mixed vegetables, or prawns (+£1.50 extra). In addition to the topping of your choice, the laksa is also loaded with boiled egg, tofu puffs, fish balls, and bean sprouts. It’s definitely made it to one of our top picks for best halal laksa in London!
Roti with Fish Curry (£8.99)
Seeing all the roti freshly made through the glass, it’s a no brainer to try out their curry + roti offerings. We’ve heard some good things about their fish curry so that’s our first pick. The fish curry did not disappoint and lived up to expectations. It features a tangy touch, which has been fantastic to open up the palate. The roti was pretty decent and paired nicely with the curry. Although nothing beats Normah’s in my opinion when it comes to Malaysian roti!
Roti with Chicken Curry (£7.99)
Then we also tried the chicken curry with roti. The chicken curry was very fragrant, but the flavours were not as robust as I would’ve liked. It’s more of a south Indian curry rather than Malaysian curry – just in case you were expecting the latter! The chicken chunks were generally cooked to a tender texture – not particularly succulent but decent nonetheless.
Chicken Masala Dosa (£6.99)
There are a few dosa options on the menu and we eventually decided on the chicken masala dosa. The dosa was huge, with a crispy sheet-thin texture and filled with spicy chicken and potatoes. It also comes with daal, coconut chutney, and an onion-tomato chutney. The daal, especially, was quite nice and paired well with the dosa. Soft and mushy, the potato filling was a delight and the chicken got quite a kick of spice that hits you after. It was, all in all, a decent dish, but would like a little bit more flavour on the dosa itself.
Lamb Biryani (£8.99)
The biryani was slightly lacklustre compared to the other dishes above. We felt that the lamb was missing gravy and the whole dish tasted a bit like reheated. The flavours lacked depth and were relatively mild. There isn’t much of the layered texture and flavours of biryani and the lamb meat was a bit dry as well. All in all, we thought this one was an underwhelming one, unfortunately.
Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings (£5.99)
We also tried out a couple of starter dishes, the first one being the Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings. These wings had been perfectly crispy and featured a light savoury touch of flavours. They were generally nice and made a great nibble. Personally though, I would’ve liked a bit more ‘oomph’ and kick from the coating. But that might just be me as my friends have thoroughly enjoyed it and rated it as one of the top dishes for the evening.
Salt & Pepper King Prawns (£8.99)
For the salt & pepper king prawns, the coating and garnishes, etc. are pretty much the same as the chicken wings above. But if I were to pick between the two, I had definitely enjoyed the chicken more than the prawns. The reason being, it was rather distinct to me that the prawns were just from a frozen source and the mild-flavoured coating was not able to really compensate for the flavour.
Spicy Fire Chicken (£7.99)
The Spicy Fire Chicken is essentially wok-tossed chilli chicken. We were warned that it’s really spicy but, funnily, we felt that other dishes have been spicier than this dish and the heat was really not so bad! Heat level aside, the spicy fire chicken was more just an okay dish. Whilst the chicken was generally tender, it wasn’t particularly juicy & succulent to taste. The spice was there but lacked robustness and missing a piquant touch to let the flavours dance. It was missing the ‘fire’ element promised from its name.
Teh Tarik (£2.49)
For drinks, we all went for the Teh Tarik. This Teh Tarik was ace and, again, hit the spot during both visits. It was really smooth and silky to taste, and featured a great balance of milky sweetness against the tea strength and flavour. With a nice little frothy touch, the Teh Tarik was rich but not too heavy to taste. Unanimously, we all loved it.
Gulab Jamun (£2.49)
Last but not least, we ordered Gulab Jamun for desserts. They come in two and are just served in a plastic takeaway box which, I have to say, isn’t the nicest way to serve a dine-in meal. Flavour-wise, it’s really syrupy – just a tad little bit too much in my opinion, and eating one piece had already filled my sweet tooth. It’s spongy to bite into and got an al dente touch to it. Overall, it’s not bad, but not stellar either.
Restaurant Review Summary
Summing up, we have definitely enjoyed our meals at Hawker’s Kitchen and are glad to have discovered this hidden gem. The Char Kway Teow has definitely been the main star and I would highly recommend it. Other dishes are generally great too with just a few dishes here and there that were deemed more average. Next time you’re around King’s Cross, make sure you pop by and enjoy a little Malaysian Mamak-style feast!
Hawker’s Kitchen is fully halal.
Tel: 020 7278 1111
Nearest station: Kings Cross