The front of Little Hutong is dominated by a neon-lit sign, but the entry is just a wall of wooden panelling. It looks like an exclusive nightclub, or a hideout for a syndicate of underground architects. The panelled facade shifts like the folds of an accordion to reveal an ornate alley of bar stools and timber tables.
The design comes from Aliza Teo, Little Hutong’s manager and an ex-architect, who opened the restaurant with her husband, Robert Fong. They wanted to reflect the street-style eating culture of Beijing and South East Asia. The menu is dominated by regular Malaysian street staples but also includes Asian-fusion inventions.
There’s a sweet rendang with buttery roti; a nasi lemak with thick homemade sambal; and a kway teow. Teo and Fong are quick to recommend the cheh hoo, a textural mash of fried tofu, sweet potato gravy, crunchy sesame seeds, yam bean, jelly fish shards, cucumber and crushed peanuts.
The other half of the menu, which can be ordered tapas style or as mains, is Japanese-inspired Asian fusion. There are little canapé-style discs of tuna or Hokkaido scallops with Japanese mayo, nori and quivering bonito flakes. The reimagined sang choy bow with shredded crab, egg, peanuts, dried scallops and pine nuts is a winner.