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Restaurants & Bars

superb Malaysian food @ guest chef/oakland through 12 aug.

moto | Aug 3, 201210:43 PM     18

the chef is 'Shy' (Yi Xiong) Leong, presently an instructor at a local cooking school. [bio blurb and menu explicated on guest chef's web site. they're located at 5337 College Ave, a few blocks south of the Rockridge/Oakland BART]. he's offering nine dishes, with a dinner formula of four for $38. a la carte each dish is $9.

Chef Leong's cooking is refined, delicate, with concentrated flavors while avoiding excessive spicing, oil, or salt. as an amuse the chef served pieces of fresh pineapple and orange that he dressed with his own spice/herb extract that served as a light vinaigrette, a very light dusting of spice, and razor thin slices of lemongrass. the precise combination of flavours and textures was an excellent preface to the other courses. one of the standouts in the seven dishes we tried was the soup, listed as 'curried mutton'. without knowing that label, one might not think of it that way, because the broth was translucent and consumme - like, impressive depth and subtle heat around very tender, small chunks of lamb and carrot. similarly, what's described as pickled veg's on the menu are pickled so delicately that it could as well be called a lightly dressed salad, and what takes it to another level is the matrix of minced peanuts surrounding the veggies. the chef starts with toasting the peanuts, but the dressing and seasoning transform it into something much more like a grain. another stand out was his version of beef rendang. the only beef in my experience with a similar concentration of flavour, texture that was tender and firm at the same time, would be southwest 'carne seco' preparations (my sole encounter with it was in Tuscon, Az).

one of the ales from the house list, Sierra Nevada pale ale, was a perfect match with the food. the chef dished us extra tumeric-infused rice on request.

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