I jog past Queensway all the time and would pop by the oriental supermarket there every now and then. But I’ve never really taken any notice of Queensway Market. It was when Normah from Normah’s invited us over to review her food that I finally discovered the place. To be honest, I wasn’t at all impressed with the market itself but we’re ecstatic, to say the least, to have discovered this hidden gem inside it, i.e. the restaurant Normah’s Place, which has now become our absolute favourite in London!
Ever since that very first invitation, we’ve visited countless times and become regulars at the restaurant. Honestly, I don’t usually return to the same restaurant very often. The fact that we didn’t return just once but many many times just shows how much we genuinely love this place and speaks to its quality of food.
Normah’s Restaurant: The Definition of Hidden Gem
I actually got lost finding it the first time I was visiting the restaurant, so let me help you out here. Instead of a shiny restaurant shopfront, Normah’s is tucked hidden inside a rather unassuming location. Once you come out of the Queensway underground station, you’ll walk past the likes of Pret, Ceru Restaurant, and QUEENS Skate Dine Bowl. You’ll then find the entrance to Queensway Market. As you enter the market, walking past a juice stall and Triple Hot Spicy restaurant, simply turn left and head all the way to the end. Right at the end of the corner, you’ll find the small but cosy home-style space of Normah’s restaurant.
Expect an intimate space there, with simple interiors that somewhat resemble a mix between a local traditional Asian neighbourhood canteen and someone’s dining room. The biggest draw of the restaurant is the homeliness of the food. Normah Abd Hamid, founder & chef of the restaurant, has a strong passion for cooking and decided to share her love for her home food through this restaurant. A quote by Normah herself is hung right up on the restaurant wall – Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with complete devotion or not at all.” – which speaks volumes about her passion for food.
Yes, Normah’s restaurant is fully halal.
Roti Canai Beef Rendang (£9.89)
I’ve always loved Beef Rendang but felt it’s easily a hit-and-miss dish at restaurants. But this one was pretty darn spot on. The dish is naturally sweet from the coconut but also carries a mild hint of spice that dances delightfully on your palate. The beef itself is generally tender and simply delightful.
My favourite though was, for sure, the Roti, which was irresistibly flakey & buttery. It was so good and satisfying I couldn’t keep my hands off it at all! Every time I visit, I’d make sure to order extra – it’s undoubtedly the best you can find in London.
Curry Laksa (£13.90 for prawn / £13.50 for chicken)
Normah’s curry laksa totally stands out from the crowd with its uniquely rich and piquant flavours. The broth is thicker than other laksas you find at other Malaysian restaurants and it gives you a richly addictive tangy flavour with a kick of spice. You can choose from chicken or prawn options – I usually opt for the latter but I love both equally. Seafood connoisseurs would be delighted to know that the prawns come shell-on here! P.S. Let me share with you my little go-to tip: order extra Roti and dip it in the laksa broth – just trust me!
Crispy Chicken Wings (£7.99)
If you’re looking to order a side dish, you should definitely get your hands on these chicken wings. They are marinated with garlic paste and spices, yielding firecracking flavours with a good tingle of spice. Additionally, they are incredibly crispy – like you can literally hear the crunch at every bite. The meat is also super juicy & succulent and, all in all, an absolute delight to savour. If you don’t like munching through bones, grab the Crispy Chicken Bites which is boneless, think of it like popcorn chicken, and equally delicious!
Assam Pedas Seabass (£15.90)
This dish translates as “Sour Spicy” in Malay. In a nutshell, it’s a “curry fish” but it’s nothing like your regular curry! Instead, it’s got a distinct tangy & sour flavour, complemented with a mild hint of spice. Having a whole fish served on the table is already a feast for the eyes. It is served with a side of white rice, which goes well with the sauce. I enjoyed it a lot, though I wouldn’t say it’s my top favourite on the menu. Nonetheless, if you need more credentials, it is a highly praised dish by the Eater magazine!
Sambal Seabass (£15.80)
Here’s another showstopping dish with a whole seabass. The sambal seabass has absolutely stolen my heart with its super crispy exterior and lip-smackingly moreish sambal sauce. All the flavours go so harmoniously well with one another and it is just perfect to enjoy it with some steamed rice. Obviously, you do have to get a little messy with this one and watch out for small bones!
Moving onto drinks, we love to order a bandung almost every time we visit. It is essentially rose sirap bandung, i.e. rose syrup mixed with milk (evaporated milk + condensed milk), which explains the vibrant pink colour. Personally, we adore the strong milky touch from Normah’s bandung. The flavours are also a little richer and more concentrated than what you get from other places, in our opinion.
Teh Tarik (£3.99)
If you’re unfamiliar, Teh Tarik is basically Malaysian-style milk tea. The milk tea here at Normahs’s is silky to taste and it’s also quite rich. It’s naturally on the sweeter end due to the use of condensed milk with a lovely foamy top. I personally like the ones from Hawker’s Kitchen or Rasa Sayang a bit more but this one is definitely a decent one too. It can be served either cold or hot, and I have a slight preference for the latter.
Normah’s Place Restaurant Review Summary
Summing up, I couldn’t sing enough praises for Normah’s and I’d totally recommend you to visit if you are around the area. Actually, scrap that, do make that journey to Queensway to check out the restaurant. I haven’t had a single dish on the menu that I didn’t enjoy. And as I said at the beginning of the post, the fact the I actually go back to the restaurant so many times ever since just means how consistently good the food is. It’s particularly perfect if you’re a fellow Asian looking for a taste of home. Though even if you’re not Malaysian or Asian, Normah’s food is bound to send you a cosy homely sensation and it’s impossible to not fall in love.
Everything is halal at Normah’s