Although it’s already 2009, in as little as 5 years ago, charging more than RM5 for food is considered a suicide move for businesses here in Banting. That didn’t stop an entrepreneur from starting a premium restaurant – Sayang Manis (“Sayang” means affection and “Manis” means sweet in Bahasa Malaysia) – back in the 1990’s, and I remember my few visits there as a child. The ambience was terrific as it was cosy. Because it was situated on the upper floors of a typical Malaysian shoplot, it has unparalleled privacy and a sense of exclusivity. It soon became a popular spot for young couples to have dates there. In around 2000, they decided to change the location to a new row of shops and repositioned it as a family restaurant. I still remember my friends and I used to frequent that place after we had our tuitions at a nearby institution. The owner of the restaurant even asked us for our opinions regarding new signature dishes, which are still available today. Make no mistake, if you want to open a restaurant or cafe selling western food in Banting, this is the most formidable competitor, and you will lose.
While not exactly original, this is one of their signature dishes, Chicken Chop with Black Pepper Sauce. My friends and I once gave lots of comments about how it can be improved, and this is the end result. It’s selling very well until today. While I was enjoying my meal, two separate families came in, and there were 5 orders of this Chicken Chop. This dish costs RM11.90, which is great value for money. The meat is pan-grilled, and the sauce is not too spicy. The potato “wedges” are crispy outside and very tender inside, and the side dishes are very edible. Even the broccoli, sweetcorn and carrots are freshly boiled.
For your information, this restaurant is frequented by local government officials during lunch breaks. It is certified halal and insider-information (Majlis Daerah Kuala Langat) confirms that there shouldn’t be any “was-was”.
Sayang Manis offers quality food at a reasonable price. I see no reason why you should visit the newly opened Secret Recipe (which charges a premium), when I daresay Sayang Manis offers BETTER FOOD. The food preparation section can be seen by customers, and the kitchen is very clean. Even the washroom feels a little high-end. If you want to have a reunion or a party, you can book the even more exquisite section upstairs for the occasion. Plus, a decade-strong track record is a statement by itself. Sayang Manis also has a branch at Kota Kemuning, called “Tropical Secret” overlooking a lake and from what I’ve heard, has an open air tropical ambience to it. I certainly look forward to bringing my friends there for a visit.
PROs: Quality, affordable food; Family-oriented; Clean kitchen and washrooms; Superb service; Strong track record.
CONs: No music (BRING BACK THE JUKEBOX!!!); Or could just put a speaker set with an iPod chained to it.