It's exciting enough when friends open cafes and restaurants, but when close friends, who are food bloggers as well, open restaurants, WOW, that sets the bar wayyyy up high.... I can't imagine the stress they have to go through, knowing that all these food bloggers will be descending on you en masse. And not only is the friend a normal friend, (no offence to the rest), she's a CELEBRITY. Phwah.
Drum rolll......presenting SIMPLY MEL'S, at the SPHERE, Bangsar South. Easy parking, great ambience, excellent food, charming hostesses, you see, the set up is run by the Victor family. Aly's mum Mel, (Melba...like Dame Nellie) is the chef behind the fabulous cuisine. In order to preserve her Eurasian heritage and family traditions, she embarked on this mission to celebrate family recipes that have been passed down over 4 generations. In case you're wondering what genre of food we're talking about here, it's Portuguese Eurasian, similar to Peranakan, in some ways. And for those of you closer to schooling age, do you know what year this is? Well, yeah, 2011. What happened 500 years ago? That year that was seared into our minds like a branding iron? 1511?
These Portuguese flers were loading their ships, preparing to sail the vast seas, circumnavigate the Cape of Good Hope (Tanjung Harapan).....
Presenting Mrs Vasco De Gama and Mrs Alfonso De Alberqueuque...no la, joking only.
All the way from Aboo Dhabi Doo....
For starters, yummy crab cakes,
And Crispy Chicken Wings. It's screaming out for a beer. If you held it close enough to your ear, you'd hear them flapping, TIGERRRR, TIGGGERRR...
Kangkung Belacan. Now, this place is Anti Carbo's Nightmare, because all this food goes SOOOO well with rice.
Lemongrass Chicken. (and it's not just a whiff).
Assam Prawns. Actually my grandmother used to make something like this. A caramelized assamy sauce, imparting a hint of tang to the prawn.
Chuan Chuan Fish. Black pomfret in black bean sauce. I love this dish!
Devil Curry, I think which has since been renamed Logan's Curry. See Video Below.
Who knew condiments can be so pretty. I think the famous Nigel Skelchy is trying to get this named after himself, since all the other dishes have been bestowed names of Aly's good friends.
Black pulut dessert....
Gorgeous Glutinous Rice Colored by the Clitoria...slathered with homemade Kaya.
And my all time favourite, Sago Gula Melaka.
The gorgeous mural that adorn the place were apparently painted by fellow blogger's fiancee, Haze Long. Such talent that girl. Wonder how she fits all that brain into her slim head.
Unfortunately her madge, AWHIFFOFLEMONGRASS couldnt stay for the group pic, so we just had to photoshop her in.
PART 2 - The Food Review Session.
Now, I am jumping queue in my blogging backlog, because Simply Mel's has RAMADHAN buka puasa specials, and we're already halfway through RAMADHAN, so I thought I better do this quick. There are three sets, RM38++ for Serai Chicken, Kembung Rebus, Kangkong Belacan and Rice, and Sago Dessert,
RM48++ for Beef Curry Malayu, Kembung Rebus, Kacang Bendi Udang Kering & Rice, and Pulut Hitam, and
RM58++ for Pineapple Curry With Prawn, Kembung Rebus, Kacang Botol Sambal, & Pulut Hitam & Fruits for Dessert.
A hot date, to buka with? Glutinous rice, and ondeh ondeh. Sugar rush after a long day of fasting.
Actually, we were split into two groups for the sampling, one group had the buka puasa sets, while we had the alacarte.
Some ulams with sambal belacan.
Crab Stuffing. Such a labour of love. Peeling crab and serving them to someone is definitely a labour of love. Crab shells stuffed with fresh crabmeat, diced turnip, carrots, prawns and onions! Soooo good.
Chicken Seybah. Normally made with oink, but this chicken substitute is also very delicious. Traditionally served for festive occasions, because it goes well with plonk.
Mel's Malacca Laksa. Lovely thick curry gravy. I would have preferred yellow mee than meehoon though. Don't know if there's such an option.
Buah Keluak Curry. Ah, my favourite. The nuttiness of the Keluak Nut, a tough nut to crack, with the curry, simply divine. Jason, the supernutcracker, managed to crack the keluak with his bare hands. He the man.
Lemak Assam Prawn. Rice with this dish is a must.
Apparently this dish has been named Meena's Ketiak. Oops, Keluak. Grrr...
Sambal Kacang Botol.
Sambal Terung. A must for brinjal lovers.
OHHHHHHHHHHH, TONGUEEEEE!!!! Ox Tongue Semur. Mel simmers the tongue for hours until it is tender. I want this dish named after me. I love tongue. I must have tongue.
Eggs are always welcome.
The uncooked Keluak upclose. What does it look like?
Mel's Traditional Butter Cake and Chocolate Cake below. Very homemade, very comforting.
That there is a gorgeous antique pic of Mel as a baby, and below, ahem, Mel with you know who.
Somehow, I have this feeling that I am going to see a LOT more of Aunty Mel, AT Simply Mel's. Might as well start a buku tiga lima.
Unit 1-1A, 1st Floor, The Sphere,
No. 1, Avenue 1, Bangsar South,
No. 8 Jalan Kerinchi 59200 Kuala Lumpur
T: +6 03 224 14525