Kedai Makan has already experienced intimacy with its loving and loyal customers. In the restaurant’s new full-size home, Kevin Burzell and Alysson Wilson are experiencing another happy affair — but, this time, with proper boundaries.
“We closed off the kitchen,” Wilson tells CHS of the overhaul of the Bellevue Ave restaurant space where Kedai Makan is now resident. “Kevin wanted that — just to focus on what he’s doing. We’ve had the open experience already.”
The much-loved E Olive Way Malaysian walk-up has completed its version of the classic Capitol Hill move and is now open around the block in the former home of La Bete and Spaghetti Western.
As turned on as you might be to experience Kedai Makan in its new sit-down world, feel free to give it time — the first two nights have been slammed and Monday night, too, is expected to be busy as fans from the 2013-born walk-up version of Kedai have been in a hurry to try out the new, more focused restaurant. Besides, they’re not going anywhere.
Wilson said the couple’s love for travel that inspired Kedai Makan in the first place is being set aside for the time being.
“We definitely will travel again,” Wilson said. “It’s on hold for now. We just need to buckle down and focus. Once we get everything the way we want it. Travel is the way we got into this.”
In July, CHS reported on the plans for Burzell and Wilson to take over the Bellevue Ave restaurant space and move into a full-fledged kitchen after years behind the walk-up counter or under tents at farmers markets. Another Capitol Hill counter, by the way, is also planning a same-block upgrade as Little Uncle is preparing to open Big Uncle on E Madison.
The menu now has appetizers — stuffed Malaysian breads or papadum — and sweets — how about a coconut shake? — to join the noodle and fried rice dishes. The new, matured Kedai Makan also features booze — cocktails mixed with Malaysian flavors and exotic shots “infused with traditional Chinese herbs.”
Kedai’s former E Olive Way home adjacent Montana, in the meantime, is being readied to feature a new offering to satisfy nightlife eaters. Tortas Condesa with “Mexico City style tortas” will open “soon” on E Olive Way. In the meantime, you can get a sneak preview of Monica Dimas’s take on tortas at the Neon Taco window inside Broadway’s Nacho Borracho.
The walk-up hasn’t been completely forgotten inside the new Kedai Makan. Wilson said the space’s new colors were chosen to reflect the old takeout. Photographs from past travel in Asia decorate the walls. But other larger elements of a buildout weren’t necessary. “We already knew we were dealing with a good space with good bones,” Wilson said.
Kedai Makan is located at 1802 Bellevue Ave and is open Mondays and Wednesday through Sunday from 5 PM to 11 PM, closed Tuesdays. Lunch or late night hours could follow depending on demand (prediction: there will be demand). You can learn more at kedaimakansea.com.