Nikka Kitchen & Lounge is the new café in town that promises a warm, friendly, atmosphere, good food and more importantly, a good time for all its patrons. Located along the bustling Jalan Maharajalela in Kuala Lumpur, Nikka finds itself tucked neatly in one of the ground floor premises of an office block facing the Merdeka 118 towering skyscraper. The Asean Food & Travel team was recently invited to a small gathering to preview the café before it officially opened its doors to the public on the 26th of January and were left very much impressed with what they saw.
The café exudes an intimate, cosy atmosphere as one enters. Evoking a feeling of closeness without veering into the constricting, the place feels like it was arranged with an emphasis on meaningful human connections in mind. Perfect for family gatherings or hearty reunions between old friends, Nikka Kitchen & Lounge feels personal, the ambience inviting expressions of warmth and nostalgic sentiments.
The décor is tasteful, with each wall sporting a different motif and visual texture to it. Diverse without being discordant, the variety of patterns used draw the eye from one wall to another. Sleek white and gold tables, subtle lighting, and soft pastel chairs complete the optical ensemble.
The well-curated menu presented a mix of tastefully executed casual café fare, sumptuous local delights, and bite-sized enjoyments. First up on the selection of dishes prepared for the evening were the Mexican Party Wings (4pcs RM15.80). A delicately balanced mélange of sweet, sour, and spicy, the wings were of sizeable proportions – an ideal platter for sharing and a good way to start things off.
Next up on the day’s menu were the Fried Samosas (6pcs RM8.00). The samosas consisted of a crisp outer shell that broke lightly upon biting, giving way to a soft and mildly curried filling that seemed to immediately warm the insides. There was no time to dwell on the delightfully savoury flavours of the samosas though as the Signature Korean Boxing Chicken (6pcs RM18.00) arrived just shortly after. Where the Mexican Party Wings toyed playfully with different flavours, the Signature Korean Boxing Chicken was comparatively more straightforward in its approach. Bite-sized and wrapped in foil by the bone, this dish made its entrance with an immediately noticeable piquancy. Spicy without quite delving into eye-watering territory, the Signature Korean Boxing Chicken is a dish that’ll satisfy both those looking for a bit of kick and the less capsaicin-inclined.
With the starters out of the way, it was time to dive into the main courses. First up was the Spaghetti Chicken Bolognese (RM15.80) – a café classic that because of its ubiquity, simply has to be exceptionally done to be at all notable. Nikka manages to pull off just that though with their iteration managing to stand out to the Asean Food & Travel team for its gentle texture and flavourful tomato influence. The Spaghetti Seafood Carbonara (RM15.80) while coming with a generous serving of prawns and squid, was noted by several diners as being perhaps a touch too creamy and rich. The dutiful chefs behind the day’s menu took note of this and you can be sure they’ll make the required adjustments to elevate this dish to its highest potential in no time.
The Mee Mamak Special rounded off the main courses to taste and did ever so well to cap off a wonderful evening. If you thought that this dish doesn’t get any better than at your go-to mamak, Nikka’s version might just be the right thing to swing your opinion the other way. Satisfyingly moist and pleasantly comforting, this is a dish that feels at once familiar and yet different, different in a way that makes it clear upon the first bite that this is a dish prepared to the exacting standards of the café. A nutty affogato was a welcome way to cleanse the palate after the day’s offerings.
All in all, the team enjoyed a pleasant evening with festivities throughout amply lubricated by buckets of bottled beer, your choices in that regard being Tiger (5 bottles / 330ml) (RM59.80), Heineken (3 bottles / 330ml) (RM49.80), or Guinness (4 bottles / 325ml) (RM56.80). For those who chose not to partake, they contented themselves with the variety of specialty coffee options expertly prepared by the resident barista.
The verdict: Promising good food at reasonable prices and an easy-going ambience, Nikka Kitchen & Lounge has all the ingredients necessary to establish itself as a lively mainstay of the area for years to come.