Lemak Malaysian Delights the Palate in Scarsdale

Jeevan Pullan’s latest venture, his eighth in Westchester/Fairfield, is a 19-seat Malaysian eatery faithful to its origin cuisine and relatively inexpensive.

Adept at ushering spice, flavor, and culinary diversity to Westchester’s food and beverage scene, restaurateur and global-eats enthusiast Jeevan Pullan (VEGA, Hartsdale; TAKO, Yonkers and Harrison; NH44, Hartsdale; Jaipore Xpress, Briarcliff Manor/ Ridgefield) noticed something missing: Malaysian cuisine.

Traditional Malaysian fabrics, plateware, and bamboo make for an inviting and cozy interior
Traditional Malaysian fabrics, plateware, and bamboo make for an inviting and cozy interior

Determined to remedy that, Pullan transformed a former deli in downtown Scarsdale into LEMAK Malaysian, which opened in January. “Lemak means ‘coconut cream’ and coconut is a staple of Malaysian cooking,” he says. Other quintessential ingredients have been hard to come by, so Chef Balaraman Swaminathan (who helmed eateries in his native Malaysia but has been cooking in the US for two decades) relies on care packages from his relatives.

Nasi lemak, oft considered the national dish of Malaysia, consists of coconut rice, sambal, hard-boiled egg, cucumber, and stewed beef (an optional add-on)
Nasi lemak, oft considered the national dish of Malaysia, consists of coconut rice, sambal, hard-boiled egg, cucumber, and stewed beef (an optional add-on).

Pullan strives to “keep it simple” while proffering an array of authentic small plates paired with stir-fried rice and noodle dishes, and curry-like stews. Fresh mango salad or a soup of featherlight house-made wontons lead into mountainous nasi lemak, a delicacy of coconut rice, aromatic herbs, zippy sambal sauce, hard-boiled egg, cucumber, and chicken, beef, or shrimp. Coconut-milk porridge, sweet, shaved ice, or frothy teh tarik (pulled tea) are meal-ending musts.

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The mango salad with cilantro, onion, sambal, mint, and lemon is tangy with a hint of spiciness.
The mango salad with cilantro, onion, sambal, mint, and lemon is tangy with a hint of spiciness.

With fewer than 20 seats, LEMAK is intimate, but the décor is as vibrant as the food. Lush Malaysian fabrics, hung dishware, and bamboo play off a stunning accent wall that serves as a bold, new flavor of eye-candy from every angle.

The ABC dessert is shaved ice topped with flavored syrup and evaporated milk.
The ABC dessert is shaved ice topped with flavored syrup and evaporated milk.

LEMAK Malaysian
62 Garth Rd, Scarsdale; 914.574.5280; lemakmalaysian.com

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