Country Kitchen is a diner that does not visibly stand out in the crowd; from its modest signage and unassuming adornment to its tightly nestled location amongst row of lacklustre shops in Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
Yet, there is something about the family-run restaurant that has kept a steadily increasing crowd coming back for more since its opening in September last year.
It could be their distinctive Muslim Chinese halal cuisine, or it could be their almost 90 types of dishes on offer. Many customers claimed that it was the undisturbed almost home-like dining experience.
“While it’s great that we have received encouraging response from our customers, we can’t exactly say that there is one specific reason for them to keep coming back here,” said Country Kitchen owner-cum-chef Zuraina Abdul Rahman.
“Perhaps it’s because we are like one big family here and we treat our customers as part of us as well. It’s more like a place of family and friends rather than just another restaurant,” she reasoned adding that her children and customers have also been actively promoting the outlet via social media platforms.
Family is evidently at the heart of the business. With her husband Zulkefly Mohd Sidek helping out with the business management aspects, son-in-law supervising the operations and her three children chipping in regularly, Zuraina is able to focus on the kitchen and the food.
While she was always passionate about food, opening a food and beverage business was not something she had planned for during the early part of her career. The Business Marketing graduate was involved in the engineering and construction industry for almost 30 years before embarking on a different path in 2008.
Prior to opening Country Kitchen, the 56-year-old came together with three other business partners to run a restaurant business located in Taman Melati, Kuala Lumpur for around three years.
“That was a good learning experience for me as it helped further sharpened my business management skills and in handling customer’s requirements. Most important of all, it gave me the confidence to venture out on my own,” recalled Zuraina.
While the Perak-born entrepreneur contemplated and finally settled with Taman Tun Dr Ismail as the location of her first outlet – she resided in the area for more than 15 years – Zuraina was very clear on what she would be serving at her outlet.
“I love Chinese-styled food as it is diverse in taste, fast to cook and always freshly cooked. That is why I knew Country Kitchen would be focusing on Muslim Chinese cuisine and we know that based on our visit around the country and abroad, that there is a growing demand for such dishes,” she said.
The cosy restaurant, which is able to comfortably seat 75 people, features around 90 dishes. Amongst the restaurant’s signature dishes include dry butter prawn, fried crispy beef, siakap CK special, salted egg sotong, tomyam seafood, terung salted egg and crab meat taufu.
A definite must-try is the tomyam seafood as unlike many Thai food outlets’ overly spicy or sour broth, the soup here offers the balanced companion to other dishes on the table with its lighter flavour.
Overall, the menu spread from its steamed to stir fried dishes display a heavy touch of Cantonese-styled cuisine; balanced flavours and not greasy. For those who prefer a lighter meal or short of time, its ala carte menu includes nasi goreng special, kuew teow Penang special, Cantonese yee mee and bihun Singapore.
True to its concept of a casual and cosy outlet, Country Kitchen – opens daily from 11 am to 11 pm – also offers a good avenue for friends and business colleagues to catch up during late evenings and after dinner hours. Priced from RM3 (plate) to RM24 (container), its appetising array of home-made cookies, snacks and desserts including chocolate cookies, pineapple jam tarts, banana fritters, curry puffs, ice-cream goreng, cucur udang and caramel pudding are the perfect finger food.
“We want our customers to feel at home here; from the taste of our food to our service. With friends and families being so busy, we want them to be able to come together here to enjoy good food and each other’s companionship,” said Zuraina, while revealing that they are planning for expansion of their current premises as well as opening of another outlet in three years’ time.
Locate Country Kitchen at 32, Jalan Datuk Sulaiman, TTDI, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tel: 03-77336409/019-7786409.