Starting off with some history:
With international travel restricted at the moment, it is good to know that great international cuisine is just around the corner. A firm favourite of ours at New Linden is the Malaysia Hall Canteen. The canteen is known all around London - actually all over the UK for serving the BEST Malay food.
What many people do not know is that the history of the Malaysia Hall Canteen goes back almost 70 years ago - even before Malaysia got its independence from the United Kingdom.
Generations of Malaysians have been educated in Britain, and the first generation leaders of Malaysia were all British-educated. An endearing story we’ve heard is that when Tunku Abdul Rahman set to become Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, he first announced to the Malayan students in London that their country was about to become independent. They responded by carrying him onto their shoulders around the Malaysia Hall!
With such a rich history, it is not surprising that when the canteen announced its closure after 50 years, it was met with disappointment and protest. To the extent that it even made headline news in Malaysia and Singapore. In response to the public outcry, the Malaysian High Commission procured the former York Hotel site on Queensborough Terrace and spent £5 million to refurbish the building. Thus, the new Malaysia Hall Canteen was born - not going anywhere this time!
We were lucky enough to have run into Aunty (“Kak”) Ani one Saturday afternoon where she was naturally found (drumroll please) cooking! Kak Ani has been running the canteen for the past three years and has been on the Malaysian food scene since she arrived in the United Kingdom in 1987. Her family also operate Makan Cafe, a stalwart in the Portobello Market food scene.
Let’s start off by saying that the food is absolutely DELICIOUS. Having tried the nasi goreng, nasi goreng caribou, roti chanai and of course washing it all down with some signature Malaysian sweet tea (tai Tarik), we can honestly say that you won’t find anything more authentic around. The price is incredibly affordable for Central London, and Kak Ani mentioned that the spot is very popular amongst students and all office workers.
An additional note from the hotel: due to covid, non-Malaysians must enter with a Malaysian (1 Malaysian can bring 5 guests). If you are staying with us and fancy a takeaway please DM us on Instagram or leave us a FB post and we'll be happy to try to organise :)