Isaan Thai food at Mera
Looks like Isaan Thai food is trending now as yet another resto jumps on the bandwagon. Formerly serving a fusion of South-East-Asian cuisine, Mera in Damansara Kim, P.Jaya now has an Isaan chef helming the kitchen, serving up more robust flavours and delivering taste notes that hover between extremes of spicy and sour.
Kicking off our review was a selection of Thai salads, with Crispy Catfish with mango and cashew (Yam Pa Dok Ko – RM48) holding court. Crispy, flakey, wispy, the battered fish dunked in the sour, spicy and sweet sauce was magic in the mouth. Young papaya salad (som tum/RM38), a typical Thai appetiser, dialed it up a notch with Isaan accents that made it extra spicy and sour. Made us cry but still, we wanted more!
A more protein-skewed option, Larb Moo, was spicy and salty, seasoned with fish sauce, chili flakes, lime juice and herbs. The minced pork salad, however, didn’t stand out as much as the chef probably thought to give our taste buds a break. Grilled Pork Salad (Moo Yang Nam Tok) picked up the pace – spicy and sour – with shallots, cilantro, lemongrass, mint, basil and crushed roasted rice nicely coming together in the mixture. Definitely appetite inducing!
Hot and sour Tom Sap (pork soup) was aromatic with sawtooth coriander, cilantro, lemongrass, dried chillies, onion and tomatoes. While it’s nowhere near the spice quotient of tom yum, I found this subtle version, refreshing, mellow and comforting.
Was so happy that Mera had Grilled Isaan sausages (Sa Kork Isaan/RM48), one of my fav street food snacks. The stuffing consists of fermented pork mince, glutinous rice, garlic and glass noodles. Unusual as far as sausages go, the slightly sour edge to the savoury sausage makes this quite special, though I felt this version a bit on the dry side.
Isaan-style grilled chicken, marinated with lemongrass and fish sauce, was tender and fragrant, and the accompanying sauce of lime juice, fish sauce, chilli flakes, palm sugar, chopped coriander and toasted rice elevated this dish further. Everyone’s fav Kor Moo Yang (barbecued pork neck) came in slim, elegant slices, nicely layered with fat, paired with a lovely sweet chilli and toasted rice dip. Kao Ka Moo (RM48), braised pork trotter with hardboiled egg, is what you need to come home to, after a long day at work or stressed out by unreasonable clients! Fatty, meaty, yet so comforting, the chunks of pork were balanced out with blanched greens, pickles and a house-made chilli dip. While the luscious steamed squid lightly dressed in lime, chilli and garlic, proved that simplicity allows a good dish to shine brightest.
My no carb rule was broken the minute the scrumptious lard fried rice made its entrance as the fluffy, egg-coated rice with hidden crackling bits cannot be ignored. For dessert, there was glutinous rice balls in sweetened coconut milk coloured by pandan juice and pumpkin purée (Bua Loy).
Currently, an a la carte menu is available at Mera. Diners have an option to get the chef’s table which features a curated menu priced from RM150++/pax.
Add: 6, Jalan SS20/10, Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. tel: 018-268 2333.
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