UPDATE: Harum Manis at Paradigm Mall is now permanently closed. Other locations include DPulze Shopping Centre and MesaMall
The mantra that they want to hammer home is that Harum Manis is a “truly Indonesian food chain.” This small corner lot restaurant in Paradigm Mall serves up Indonesian style comfort food like fried chicken, grilled fish, and more exotic options like oxtail and fried lungs.
The food at Harum Manis is mostly meat sets that come with rice, vegetables, half a hard-boiled egg and sambal. For an extra RM1.50, you can swap to green chilli rice (nasi sambal hijau), spicy rice (nasi sambal pedas) or coconut rice (nasi uduk). That corn soup that keeps showing up on every page did not come with either of our sets, and it doesn’t even seem to be an option on the menu. There are two noodle dishes at the back and a small handful of dessert options.
Ordering is done on a piece of paper that lists every single menu item, and you simply mark off which meal and drinks you want. Don’t forget to fill in alternatives, such as rice type or hot/cold for drinks.
There was nothing extraordinary about our drinks, the Iced Lemon Tea (RM3.80) and the Bandung Sago (RM4.50). Mark enjoyed the strong tea taste in his iced lemon. I did feel like my bandung sago tasted a bit watered down though.
The Ayam Penyet Set (RM13.50) is what you’d expect. For a casual chain such as this, it was a little surprising to see that the chicken was well-cooked. It still retained some juices and wasn’t dry at all. One thing that put us off was that the menu advertised that the sets come with tempeh, but what arrived instead actually turned out to be tofu. The “sambal” was watery chilli and not the chunky sambal that the menu picture suggested.
The Ayam Bakar Padang Set (RM14.50) is an exact copy of the set above except that the chicken was grilled. It separated effortlessly from the bone and was smothered in flavourful rendang with a dark brown ribbon of sweet sauce that tasted similar to hoisin. This sauce was pretty spicy, not at uncomfortable levels, but I was panting quite a bit. The egg, just like the one in the ayam penyet set, was unevenly cooked. The vegetables, tofu and chilli were nothing special.
We won’t be back here. The food just felt very functional and not worth coming back for. We were also annoyed that absolutely no mention was made of the substitutions we got. I know you should never expect the food to look like the menu picture, but the server could have at least told us if something was going to be different than advertised. From the food to the ambience, Harum Manis just doesn’t stand out from any of the other dozens of places where you can get an ayam penyet.
Price for 2 Pax: RM40.30
Ayam Penyet Set: RM13.50
Ayam Bakar Padang Set: RM14.50
Iced Lemon Tea: RM3.80
Bandung Sago: RM4.50
5% Service: RM1.83
6% SST: RM2.18