Eastern Flavours – Western Technique: Makan Tabao from HK

Logo gold text and design on bright red background reading Makan Tabao HK - Eastern Flavours - Western Technique

In prior years Deliveroo may not have been where one would naturally have gone for fine food, but since the pandemic and attendant closures many venues have entrepreneurially reached beyond their usual platforms to keep their ovens burning, and to continue delighting us with their food.

From this Wednesday 13th January one of our favourites, Harborne Kitchen (HK), will start to offer a new exciting delivery – Makan Tabao, eastern flavours with a western technique. HK’s Head Chef Tom Wells spent 6 years in Singapore and, inspired by his time living there, he has been busy working with Sous Chef Dave and Chef Owner Jamie Desogus developing the Makan Tabao concept. Why the name, you ask? They tell us that Makan is a traditional Singaporean greeting that also translates as ‘eat’, and Tabao translates as takeaway.

We were lucky to get a sneak peak, and taste, of the Makan Tabao offering (yes a freebie before they opened to the public, see our reciprocity promise here). Of course coming from the HK stable it’s a refined and quality centric offering – no MSG and E-number colouring here. The menu is compact but has something for everyone from vegan to committed carnivore, with starters from £6 and mains from £8.

Two cardboard takeaway containers one with chicken skewer the other with pork ribs

For starters we had the chicken yakatori with ponzu and sesame, and the smoked pork ribs with red miso and preserved plum. The chicken was succulent, with a barbecue flavour, garnished with sesame seeds, and served with a tangy ponzu sauce with nutty sesame oil. The pork ribs were lightly smoked and the preserved plum and miso dressing was sweet and fruity.

Round ramen takeaway container showing noodles, boiled egg, seaweed, slices of pork belly and spring onion

The Pork Belly ramen is a meal on its own without needing sides, starters, or dessert (not that it stopped us). The pork was tender with the fat rendered down, an unctuous joy. The noodles were perfectly cooked and the broth full to the brim with umami, with a runny boiled egg adding its rich yolk, and spring onion a punch of freshness. We also had the Malaysian beef rendang. The beef was falling-apart soft, with a good heat, and packed with fragrant spices.

Takeaway carton showing white turnip pieces dressed with slices of almond red crushed Szechuan peppers and chopped chives

As a side dish we had the salt-baked turnip with almond and Szechuan pepper. Turnip isn’t usually a go-to side for me but here they were elevated with fragrant Szechuan peppercorns, rubies on the alabaster turnips. I could happily have eaten just the turnips for a main meal. We also had a generous portion of delicious egg-fried rice, nothing like the burned greasy offerings that so often are offered up by late-night takeout joints.

Two small round takeaway containers one with white sago pudding topped with passion fruit the other lime cheesecake topped with ginger crumb. Pots on Makan Tabao gold logo on red.

For thorough research, we obviously tried the desserts. The sago pudding was creamy with strong coconut and notes of vanilla, and topped with a sharp tropical hit of fresh passionfruit. The lime cheesecake was lip-puckeringly tart with a delicious sweet crumb. A fine end to a fine meal.

For those of you missing restaurant trips, Makan Tabao is a great home alternative – this isn’t just takeaway South / East Asian food, it’s excellent quality that you’d be happy having served to you in any restaurant.

Makan Tabao officially launches on Wednesday 13th January. It will be available to order click and collect or delivery via Deliveroo between 5 – 9.30pm Wednesday to Saturday.

Find them here:


About outinbrum

Find out where to eat, drink, and be merry in Brum.
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