I remembered going to Sri Melaka in KL back in 1989, its original outlet (?) at Weld Building on Jalan Raja Chulan. The food was good, though not terribly wow-licious. I also found out that it closed down perhaps 10-15 years ago - I *don't* really visit KL that much in the intervening decades.
I went back to one of Sri Melaka's 3 existing outlets, this one's in Taman Tun Dr Ismail for lunch today. It was much, much better than I expected. What we tried:
- Started off with Melaka Curry Laksa: a substantial bowl of thick yellow noodles-thin rice noodles in curry chicken sauce, garnished with chicken [pieces, tofu puffs, aubergines, long beans, beansprouts and mint leaves. Good, though not great.
- Beef rendang: a Malay-style dry beef curry - slightly over-salted here. It didn't have the coriander scent I was looking for, nor the fresh turmeric leaves flavor. But the meat was tender from the long-stewing process. Another dish which was good, but less than memorable.
- "Sambal petai udang": a spicy stir-fry of bitterish but addictive "petai" stink-beans, large de-shelled prawns and onions, with strong strong chilli-tamarind spices. I LOVED this dish, and won't hesitate to return for this.
- "Kerabu mangga": a sweet-ultra-tangy-spicy mango salad.
- "Ikan Senangin Masak Gerang Assam": fresh threadfin simmered in a chilli-tamarind-spiked sauce, with okra, onions and red peppers. The fish was fresh and sweet-fleshed. The sauce was tangy and intoxicatingly delicious. My fave dish for this meal.
- "Otak-otak": steamed spicy fish mousse wrapped in coconut leaves. Unwrap one of those tamale-like parcels and you get a delicious mousse-like eggy, coconut-rich, spicy fish-flecked custard. Very good here but, again, rather over-salted.
- We ordered two desserts to share, and both involved shaved ice: the "Sago Gula Melaka which had sago pearls, coconut molasses and coconut creme; and the "Ais Kachang": shaved ice flavored with syrup and coconut molasses, and containing corn kernels, green "chendol" noodles, red beans and jelly bits. Both desserts were above average by KL standards.
Overall, a satisfying meal, more Malay than Peranakan-Nyonya that I'd expected. The clientele is 80% Malay-Muslim, so the food's pretty tailored towards their taste and preferences.
24 Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-7722 3801