A very Thai Meat & Sea affair

A very Thai Meat & Sea affair

I tried to look nonchalant as Ginny rattled off the Thai dishes in the menu, in case I was the only ignoramus who didn’t know that Meat & Sea was a Thai restaurant. Turns out I wasn’t the only one taken by surprise as my fellow foodies and I initially expected a Western surf and turf joint, given the resto name.

What a the gastronomic delight this turned out to be. In fact, I’m almost reluctant to share about this place as it’s probably gonna get swamped once it’s discovered by the masses: the food is well above average, homestyle Thai dishes with a gamut of new and old world wines to choose from. Sure, you would definitely want to bring the family for a weekend meal here, but it’s also the kind of place that you would feel right at home, chilling with friends with a good bottle of wine and great Thai small bites.

The kitchen is the domain of chef Chutikan Parnphan from Kanchanaburi, fondly known as chef Amy who lends her own twist to the dishes, using 100% Thai ingredients procured from a small producer. Shy and reticent, she prefers to let her cooking do the talking, and it says heaps about her skills.

Take, for instance, her version of Tom Yam Talay (RM27/M), laden with prawns, squid and mussels and accentuated with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf and galangal, served in an individual pretty Le Creuset pot. (There are also larger sharing portions available.) If you were expecting a fiery spicy potion, then you might be disappointed as this has a more mellow flavour, a fine balance of the four spicy, sour, salty and sweet flavour notes. At the first slurp, your tongue is enticed to find out more; a different note is revealed with each sip. Rather than a sharp spicy soup that burns your insides as it goes down the tract, this version would be likened to a slow cruise down the Chao Phraya, urging you to take in the sights and sounds along the way. I really enjoyed this addictive broth.

Another personal favourite was the Red Curry Beef using Australian beef (RMRM27), no less. Again, this is not your traditional red massamam curry, but a complicated concoction of herbs and spices (some which I’ve never heard of before) carefully blended and cooked without santan. The taste cannot be defined with just one word as it is multi-layered and with every piece you eat, the more you appreciate this dish.

For starters we had Moo Ping (Pork Satay), Kor Moo Yang (Grilled Pork Neck), Som Tom Isan (Papaya Salad with baby crab) plus a sampling of the Khao Ka Moo (braised pork leg). You cannot go wrong with delish Pork Satay (RM18)- I can eat this any time, all day long; Som Tom Isan (RM16) is an acquired taste, leaving a strong stench of the sea in your mouth – Isan food fans will be happy as it’s not commonly found but it’s not for everyone; the grilled pork neck (RM18) and braised pork leg were tasty though I would have preferred some fat to lubricate the lean meat.

Not on the menu but specially churned out for us was the Deep fried sea bass in crispy perfection, with tons of condiments such as cashew nuts, chillies, cut lime, shallots, ginger and other stuff piled on. We finished every last morsel down to the crunchy fish head so that speaks tons for this fish. Other dishes we also tried were crab omelette, pad kra pao and veggie with pork. Needless to say, we had a lot of food!

Elevating the whole meal to another level was the pairing of Viognier and Alsace Riesling. Owner David Chew is ‘da man’ when it comes to wines, having years of experience as a restaurateur and wine bar owner. If he happens to be around when you’re dining there, make friends and ask him to suggest some good vino to go with your Thai meal.

Prices are reasonable – set lunches are available at RM19, and if you don’t see a particular dish you like in the menu, ask chef Amy, she might just whip it up for you (with ample notice, of course) – yeah, it’s that kind of a great, homey restaurant.

Add: 1, Plaza Prismaville, Jalan 19/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 012-800 4833