Returning to Simply Mel's for more delicious dinners. Earlier entry: July 18.
Simply Mel's has finally unveiled its full menu, featuring about 50 recipes to sample. Kids might enjoy the "macaroni boats" _ doughy delights topped with curry-spiced minced chicken. It's not potatoes & it's not quite pasta either, but it's a real pleasure.
Epuk-epuk, a Cristang cross between Malay curry puffs & Nyonya pai tee (top hats). Essentially shredded turnips, carrots, prawns & chicken wrapped in fluffy pastry. Faultlessly prepared, without a trace of excess grease.
Black is beautiful: succulent squid cooked in creamy, subtly spicy squid ink sambal.
Threadfin (ikan senangin) in a galangal-&-coconut curry with pineapples, an aromatic fish concoction with tropical fruit overtones. Reminiscent of "gulai" recipes.
Soy limang terung: pan-fried aubergines in dense soy sauce gravy sauteed with onions & topped with chopped chili, spring onions & coriander leaves.
Sambal ikan binagre. Firm & fleshy black pomfret (bawal hitam), deep-fried in a richly tangy, thickly vinegary sambal.
Prawn petai sambal, with plenty of not-terribly-stinky beans. Also wonderfully executed, with the petai retaining an almost juicy crunch. No overcooking here.
Freshly picked crab meat, prawns & minced chicken stuffed in crab shell. Tastes lovingly homemade; soft and fluffy, with diced carrots, onions & turnips for extra texture. And hurray for any crab recipe that doesn't force us to use our fingers to scrape for flesh.
Chicken sehbah. Super-succulent stuff, braised in a slightly sweet, mildly spicy sauce.
Beef ambiler kacang. A whopping amount of meat in pleasantly sourish curry with long beans (though that's one of our least favorite veggies, unfortunately).
Kembung rebus. Salted mackerel slathered in sambal. This one reminds me a lot of my own grandmother's cooking back in Malacca.
Sambal buah keluak, an intensely pungent recipe featuring Indonesian black nuts fried with chili, onions & garlic. A convenient way of enjoying buah keluak without having to dig its pitch-black, paste-like filling _ which some call "soft tar" _ out of the hard-shelled seeds.
Black pomfret, prepared "chuan chuan" style _ deep-fried & doused in a Nyonya tauchu sauce. Also reminiscent of my childhood, though each family has its own unique recipe for this.
Cincaluk omelet. Could be more powerfully flavorsome, but still a tasty treat.
Ox tongue semur. Tender, meaty slices, gently simmered in vinegar-based gravy and partnered with potatoes. A wholesome stew that really satisfies.
Stingray, marinated in a complex sambal with savory hints of kerisik (coconut butter), turmeric & garlic before being baked in banana leaves.
Durian santan. A seasonal dessert that would be lovely all year round.
More of the King of Fruits: The Last Polka ice cream, made with pure durian flesh.
Fresh-cut fruits, providing a light touch to round off heavy meals.
Simply Mel's now also serves booze. Many items here go well with beer.
And of course, everything is better with wine.
Asam boi juice & iced lemon tea, both marvelous thirst-quenchers.
1-1A, 1st Floor, The Sphere,
No. 1, Avenue 1, Bangsar South, Jalan Kerinchi, Kuala Lumpur.