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Ahmad Shirali Shuib
Malaysian cuisine at Suka, the restaurant at Sanderson hotel in London
Article added on March 18, 2012
A dinner at Suka, the Malaysian cuisine restaurant at Sanderson
Tested by R&L on March 15, 2012

For our dinner, the casual Malaysian restaurant at
Sanderson was full with trendy, younger people, as was the hotel's famous Long Bar. The meals were prepared by the Malaysian sous-chef Ahmad Shirali Shuib; the English head-chef was traveling. We were eating outside in the courtyard, kept warm by radiant heaters.

started with a glass of Laurent Perrier Rosé Brut and a Sanderson classic cocktail: Black Bison, with vodka, blackberries fresh limes and brown sugar.

A lemongrass ice tea with palm sugar was offered by s
ous-chef Ahmad Shirali Shuib, prepared the way his mother would do it for him. Three sauces to accompany our dishes were served, including a chili coconut. a carrot chili and cucumber sauce and a chili shrimp paste. In addition, peanuts and dried anchovies were put on the table.

We enjoyed a Tofu Goreng with soy beans and spinach, Kai Lan steamed Chinese Broccoli with sesame and Shiitake mushrooms as well as a Sotong Goreng with crispy squid, coriander, ginger and green peppercorn.

Vegetable spring rolls (Popiah) were next, together with a sauce to spice them up. A chicken Satay, a Malaysian flatbred with an Indian lentil Dal, known as Roti Suka in Malaysia, were also served. All simple but honest dishes.

The wine list was divided in a customer friendly way. For instance some white wines were listed under “Crisp and Fresh” and some red wines under “Rich and Velvety”.

Beef braised in coconut milk with turmeric and lemongrass are known as Rendang Daging. It was one of the heavier dishes. The vegetarian courses consisted of a vegetable Nasi Goreng and Sayur Loden, a Malaysian vegetable curry. Keep it simple remained the principle.

It was followed by Bee Hoon Goreng, stir fried rice noodles with baby vegetables, bean sprouts and a dark sweet soy sauce. The meat dish was a Char Sui Kai-Zan, pork belly with soy beans, showing the Chinese influence in Malaysian cuisine. As a side dish, we were offered coconut rice.

The highlight was Ikan Bakar, a sea bass from Scotland baked the Thai way in a banana leaf, garnished with a papaya salad with shrimps. The fish was perfectly most, cooked to the point just with a bit of garlic-onion and lime to squeeze on it if so desired. Simple but brilliant!

Desserts are not a Malaysian tradition. You would normally have some fresh fruit at the end of the meal. At Suka, they offer in addition berries with white chocolate sauce, lime tuile and a lime and ginger sorbet. A pineapple and basil sorbet as well as a pink grapefruit and rosemary sorbet with for different types of fruit and four jellies ended our dessert.

Kitchen philosophy at Suka restaurant

Suka (Malay for Like) offers authentic Malaysian street food. Most local ingredients are imported from Malaysia, but come also from Thailand, Spain Israel, Kenya and the UK.

The range of Malaysian food at Suka is large and includes seafood, beef, lamb, pork, tofu, noodles, rice, chilies and Malaysian vegetables.

Sous-chef Ahmad Shirali Shuib, who is of Malaysian descent, outlined both his menu and his country's food history to me. Malaysia's cuisine has been influenced by its colonizers, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British, as well as by its neighbors, Thailand and Indonesia. Since Malaysia has a strong ethnic Malay, Chinese and Indian population, these three cuisines have strongly influenced Malaysian food which, given all the above diversity, a kind of fusion.

Malaysian street food includes all influences and ethnicities. The generous use of spices is its main feature. Rice is served with most dishes. At Suka, garlic, lemon grass, ginger, shrimp paste
(Belacan), Turmeric, Tamarind, Shiitake mushrooms and coconut milk are main ingredients.

The main sections of the menu at Suka Restaurant are Satay, meat or seafood in the skewer, a traditional Malay food, Sup (soup), Laksa (noodles), Mee (noodles), Nasi (rice), Sayuran (vegetables), Kari (spicy curries), Daging (meat), Makanan Laut (seafood) and Jamuan Manis (Malaysian inspired desserts).

Sous-chef Ahmad Shirali Shuib told me that Suka is the first London restaurant to offer Malaysian street food. Suka restaurant dates back to 2007. Its head chef is the English Michael Hambury. It is however sous-chef
Ahmad Shirali Shuib who ensures the authenticity of the dishes.

Biography of chef Ahmad Shirali Shuib

Ahmad Shirali Shuib was born in Kedah in the North of Malaysia in 1970. He is the second child from three siblings of two primary school teachers. He got his first training as a chef from the culinary Damansara College in Selangor in Malaysia.

Ahmad Shirali Shuib had a passion about Malaysian street food and Asian fusion since he was a teenager. With working parents, he received pocket money to buy food from Malaysia's street vendors.

He told me that his mother was the most influential person in his career. She let him experiment at home with the food he had bought in the streets.

His first professional job as commis de cuisine was at the Penang Shangri-La Rasa Sayang, where he worked in the international fine dining restaurant from December 1990 to March 1991. His following positions as commis were at Niyom Thai Restaurant, Regency Port Dickson Hotel & Resort and the Malaysian Banquet Kitchen at the Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

From July 1994 to February 1996, Ahmad Shirali Shuib worked as sous-chef at the fine dining restaurant of the Sheraton Utama Hotel in Brunei Darusalam, where they prepared Asian fusion.

From September 1997 to April 1999, he worked as senior chef de partie a the Hilton Kuala Lumpur, where they cooked innovative French cuisine. From April 1999 to April 2000, he was senior chef de partie at Portica fine dining restaurant at Hilton Manchester Airport, where they offered international cuisine, with him being responsible for the Asian touch.

From May to October 2000, he made a stage at Hilton Melbourne on the Park, just opposite of what was at the time the world's third largest stadium, catering to very large crowds.

From October 2000 to March 2001, he was chef de partie at the Jumairah International Hotel in the United Arab Emirates, where they prepared international cuisine. From February 2002 to March 2003, he was chef de partie at the brasserie-like Lagoon restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton Doha in Qatar.

From March 2003 to January 2004, he worked as specialty chef for Asian fusion at the Sheraton Abu Dhabi Resort & Towers in the United Arab Emirates.

From July 2004 to September 2010, he was sous-chef at The Waldorf Hilton in Aldwych, London, taking care of the banqueting. From September 2010 to August 2011 he worked as sous-chef at Busaba Eathai, a Thai restaurant in London.

In August 2011 finally, Ahmad Shirali Shuib arrived as sous-chef at Suka Restaurant at Sanderson Hotel on 50 Berner Street, London W1T 3NG.

Books about Malaysian cuisine at,

View of the Courtyard, part of which is reserved for Suka Restaurant. Photos © Sanderson hotel London / Morgans Hotel Group.

A view of Suka restaurant. The lamps were designed by Tom Dixon. Photos © Sanderson hotel London / Morgans Hotel Group.
Books about Malaysian cuisine at,

Chef de cuisine Ahmad Shirali Shuib. Photos © Sanderson hotel London / Morgans Hotel Group.

A view of Suka restaurant. Photos © Sanderson hotel London / Morgans Hotel Group.

Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
English Politics History Art Film Music Lifestyle Travel
Français Politique Histoire Arts Film Musique Artdevivre Voyages

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© Copyright  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.