Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mum's Place: Selangorlicious Food Blogging Contest Entry

Just six more days to go to the closing date of the Selangorlicious Food Blogging contest! Run by Storm Studio and sponsored by Tourism Selangor and the Digi WWWow awards, it's a search to find the most interesting restaurants in Selangor, my home state. I read in awe of the other entries, there are some really fun places here. I of course had to put in my (first) entry so fingers crossed. Read about it on the Selangorlicious site or right here on Hungry Female...

Such a name inspires scenes of the home, a gracious elderly auntie at the door to welcome you, into a cosy and intimate space. The place we rocked up to was quite the opposite. Nestled in a row of shops in Damansara Perdana, the huge Malaysian flag hung outside was in vast contrast to the homey picture I’d painted in my head.

It was like eating in a massive Neo-Chinese furniture shop. Every table was sectioned from the next with heavy wooden screens, most articles still displaying their price tags. Pseudo antique signs were plastered all over the walls, with cheesy bartending messages like “10 Reasons a Beer is better than a Woman”. One section off the main dining area had what appeared to be pictures of high-standing public figures, all framed and hung up close to each other. The eclectic d├ęcor, had a kitsch-ness that seemed to grow on me.

The menu touted Portuguese-style food, which interpreted by Malaysians, couldn’t be farther from a classic bacalhao or feijoada. What we have today are the remnants of an old colonial time, when the Portuguese settled in Malaya, couldn’t find familiar ingredients, so resorted to meddling with the local offerings. I found the results resembling those of Straits Chinese more than anything else.

Perhaps the flagship dish, Portuguese Devil Chicken Curry, took influence from its Piri-Piri lineage. Properly tongue-burning, I could see some Mediterranean peaking through the juicy red peppers and chunky potato amidst paprika-tinged red sauce.

What really blew our heads off, was the Ikan Cencaru with Sambal Petai. From the peppery, bordering bitter, it was as if the fish had been cooked with nothing but crazed amounts of birds-eye chilies and five petai seeds. As the sniffles tickled my nose, I saw why the surly, nonplussed waiter had plonked down a box of tissues when we already had napkins on the table.

Fried aubergines, cut lengthways were beautifully done. Plump, sweet, caramelized pulp tore away easily from the shiny purple exterior. Stir-fried spinach, although standard fare, was still crunchy and cooked with good amounts of chopped garlic. The winning dish for me, were the otak-otak cubes. This classic fish paste is usually wrapped in small sections of banana leaves, and left on a grill to firm up. Our version had been formed into nuggets and fried, leaving a crispy skin to veil a moist curried fishy morsel that blissfully melted on the tongue. The accompanying Thai sauce – made of lime juice, sliced shallots, garlic and chili – was the perfect tangy foil.

I believe Mum’s is trying to sell some kind of domestic concept: buy the furniture, hang up lots of spooky photos of old relatives, enjoy the food and feel right at home. Not my Mum’s take on domestic bliss, but I would certainly come back for the curry, vegetables, otak-otak, and next time be tempted for a dessert.
Five dishes and two beers was circa RM120, and Mum’s Place is a halal restaurant.

Mum's Place
31-1, 33-1, 35-1 & 37-1 , Jalan PJU 8/5A
Damansara Perdana, 47820, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: +603-77278443, +603-77278449

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