We were glamping at Caravan Serai a few days ago and close to dinner time, we decided to drive out to explore a nearby restaurant, which signboard hubby happened to notice when we were driving in. It’s called Tanah Aina Azareena Restaurant and located just about a mile away from Caravan Serai. What was interesting about the signboard was that it also displayed Chinese characters, but it’s completely managed by the Malays. Very impressive place, I must concede.
The entrance next to the main road was unassuming, in that the restaurant was no where to be seen or it was just perfectly camouflaged by nature. For a moment, I thought we had driven into a private park. Well, the environment within the confines of the property was pristine and almost unspoiled by any developments. We drove about 100 metres in and only then could we see a glimpse of the building that housed the restaurant. After parking the car, we walked another 20 metres down a path which eventually led us to the restaurant.
Its double-storey wooden building was huge and quaint, situated right at the riverbank. There was no one else in the restaurant and we were politely greeted by the the waiters and waitresses who guided us to the table just next to the river (Sungai Keratong – yes, the same one that flowed through our campsite). After the heavy downpour, the water suddenly turned murky.
It was still drizzling then and words are simply insufficient to describe how soothing it was just listening to the rhythms of the falling rain and flowing river. It’s apparently well-known for steamboat but we chose to forgo that instead. We quickly had a look at the menu and placed our orders. Surprisingly, the items were reasonably priced.
While waiting, we managed to walk around and explore the restaurant and it’s surrounding. The kitchen was about 15 metres away and what piqued my interest was the trolley-on-rails, which purpose was to transport food from the kitchen over to the restaurant. Amazing, isn’t it?
There was also a narrow wooden bridge across the river connecting the restaurant to the opposite riverbank where a few small wooden dining huts were situated.
It didn’t take long for our steamed tilapia fish with asam (tamarind) sauce and fried kangkong (water spinach) belacan to arrive with a small bucket of rice. Its fresh tilapia fish is reared in mountain streams. The food was awesome and its taste was further amplified with the splendid ambience. We slowly enjoyed the food and moment without even realising that two hours had passed. Finally, we settled the bill which amounted to RM62 (US$15.50) and headed back to Caravan Serai. Seriously, I have no qualms recommending this restaurant to anyone who happens to be in Bentong.
Tanah Aina Azareena Restaurant is located at Lot 4753, Jalan Tras, 28700 Bentong. For reservation: +6016 962 5335.
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