Erawan enthusiasts, rejoice: The revered Thai restaurant embarks on its first spin-off this week - a casual soul-food cafe with a pork-heavy repertoire of Chef Korn Yodsuk's cherished family recipes that evoke memories of his childhood.
Tiffin's By Chef Korn is a hideout that's hard to find, on the third-floor mezzanine level of the Mid Valley mall's North Court (on the same side as Celebrity Fitness; take the escalator up from Daiso). It's tastefully outfitted, essentially what we'd expect of the architects of Kota Damansara's Erawan, with the eatery's namesake tiffin carriers occupying a place of pride near the entrance.
Tiffin's is currently more of a showcase for traditional favourites, sidestepping the revolutionary zeal & bravura inventiveness for which Erawan has become beloved (mercifully, this means that pre-ordering - a prerequisite at Erawan - is unneeded). This is a place for the humble pad thai, punchier in flavour than the norm, thanks to Chef Korn's own sauce blend.
Tiffin's offers mainly set meals - the seafood version of the pad thai costs RM23.80++ (the plain one's RM18.80++), accompanied by a three-tier tiffin carrier that conceals specials-of-the-day surprises. On our visit, we had juicy chicken wings, a salad & simple fruits. The tiffin carriers are a nice touch that'll potentially become this outlet's signature flourish.
Generations-old recipes are sprinkled across Tiffin's selection. Chef Korn credits the classic pork broth (RM18.80 with tiffin set) to his grandmother, who reputedly once cooked in the palace of Thailand's King Rama VII.
The beef noodles (RM23.90++ with a tiffin set) are also a recipe that Chef Korn first created at home; he never went to culinary school, but says he learned to cook from his father, mother & brother, who each passed on a specific gastronomic prowess to him - Dad relished spicy, herb-rich food, while Big Brother was a desserts fiend.
The broths come with another cute accompaniment - test tubes of fish sauce, vinegar, chilli & salt for DIY seasoning.
Pork's everywhere here, with several specialities bound to Thailand's north - Chiang Mai's crispy-puffy pork rind strips (RM3++) ...
... as well as 'laab moo' (RM19.80++), the Isan spicy 'salad' of minced pork with roasted crushed rice & kaffir lime leaves.
Grilled pork neck (RM16.80++), a prime example of the 'village-style dishes' that Chef Korn recalls savouring at street stalls while walking home from school & hopes to introduce to more Malaysians today.
Stewed pork knuckle with salted egg, preserved veggies & rice (RM19.80++ with a tiffin set) could also prove crowd-pleasing.
Tiffin's sweets selection is sweeping - the two of us only had stomach space for the house-made passion fruit ice cream (RM5.80++, a tangy perk-me-up), but there are also (take a deep breath) candied banana in coconut milk, black glutinous rice pudding with longan, yam & sweet potatoes in coconut milk, cendol with palm sugar syrup & more.
Thai milk coffee or tea & sala-flavoured syrup round out the beverage list. Tiffin's By Chef Korn is still a serene sanctuary for lunch right now, but it won't remain a secret for long - it's a unique addition to a sprawling mall that's often accused of being a wasteland for worthwhile F&B options.
Tiffin's by Chef Korn
Third Floor Mezzanine, North Court, Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur
This restaurant is available for bookings under TABLEAPP, which enables customers to make instant reservations at Malaysia's top restaurants, while saving time and money in the process. Reserve your table at this restaurant by clicking here.
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