This review is brought to you in part by SugarBun.

SugarBun, Sarawak’s enduringly successful fast food franchise, with scores of offshoots across Borneo, has finally resurfaced in peninsular Malaysia, launching in Menara Hap Seng.

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Expect many of SugarBun’s best-known ‘Borneo Asian’ staples, plus new recipes for KL, where the theme tilts toward a food court-style premises, with each stall promising specific signatures.

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Begin with the broasted chicken, prepared through a combination of pressure cooking and deep-frying – it looks and tastes like fried chicken, notably less greasy than the fast-food norm, but still totally tender and tasty. RM4 per piece, RM11.50 for three pieces, RM19.50 for five pieces, or RM12 for a platter of two pieces with SugarBun’s savoury rice (laced with raisins and morsels of chicken sausage) and house-made pickles.

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You can also have the chicken in a ‘kano’ sauce – flavoured with lemongrass, garlic, onions and spices – that partners pretty much perfectly with the meat (RM15 for a two-piece kano chicken platter with rice).

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Fish plays a starring role too, with tilapia and mackerel brought from Sarawak and giant grouper from Sabah. Tilapia is served as an ‘Eco Fish Meal’ (RM20), with the flesh tasting less ‘muddy’ than expected, reputedly as a result of having been bred in clear running water – the fish has a terrific texture, crisp-skinned and moist-fleshed.

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The Borneo mackerel (RM18 for four pieces) is also good, its guts removed before it was blast-frozen, to keep it fresh-tasting. Our favourite: Giant grouper mee hoon soup (RM33 for a bowl that two can share), with lots of smooth chunks of grouper (king of the Borneo seas) in a lovely, sweet broth.

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Cattle call: Sabah premium beef ball mee hoon soup with Lahad Datu chilli sauce (RM23; the fairly gamy meatballs are hand-kneaded using female buffalo meat, while the thin noodles boast a nice bite) and nasi lemak with oxtail (RM19; respectable, but not the star of SugarBun’s show.)

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Other delights

Plenty of other possible orders, from Sarawak laksa to claypot assam fish to a satisfying ais kacang (RM6) made with gula apong (nipah palm sugar) and crunchy Sabah seaweed. Many thanks to SugarBun for having us.

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Location & Details

SugarBun Restaurant KL

Level 1, Menara Hap Seng, Jalan P Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur.

Mon-Fri, 730am-8pm (lunch menu starts 11am), Sat, 10am-2pm

Find: View SugarBun’s directory here