Today, a little break from Sicilian pasta, cannoli and gelato to wax lyrical about the food from the land of my forefathers. I'm always, always craving authentic Malaysian food and so constantly gripe about how it's not easily available here in London (other than at my stalwart favourites C&R and Roti King). So when Viv of Vi Vian's Food Blog invited me to attend her Malaysian supperclub, I jumped at the chance.
So guys, Viv officially has the coolest apartment. It's got an amazing terrace view of the bastions of business over in Canary Wharf, incredibly high ceilings, and an industrial, airy feel left over from when the building used to be the largest dog food factory in the world (yep!) We gathered around the dining table to sip on coconut water and bubbly and get to know our fellow supperclub guests before being regaled with crunchy keropok crackers and chicken karipap.
I'm going to have to get Viv to give me the recipe for these karipap, because they were truly excellent - beautifully crumbly pastry and stuffed with meat. Sungguh sedaplah.
Next up was nasi lemak - coconut rice with beautifully salty ikan bilis (anchovies), boiled egg, peanuts and Viv's incredible home-made sambal. I knew that this stuff had hit a high note when my fellow Malaysian guest was impressed at the authenticity - so much so that we left the supperclub with a few jars in tow. On the side, pineapple acar and cabbage kerabu salads provided a welcome respite from all the meat and fish that features so heavily in Malaysian cuisine.
Loved the presentation of this spicy sotong sambal.
Slow-cooked beef rendang, my dad's favourite dish. He'd definitely have appreciated the depth of flavour behind this one.
Incredibly moreish chicken, deep-fried mamak style. Beautifully crispy. We're light years away from Chicken Cottage here!
After many, many helpings, we chatted about how we'd come to find out about the supperclub. A couple of the guests are known personally by Viv, having come across them in street food markets, while a couple of girls, lusting after Malaysian food, found the supperclub through the internet.
Viv working her magic on the kuih kodok - banana fritters!
Banana fritters are my favourite so I was more than happy to hang around watching Viv deep frying these babies. Such an incredible aroma.
And speaking of babies, this handsome little gentleman proved to be quite the distraction. He's honestly going to grow up to be quite the heart-stealer!
Along with the banana fritters, kuih dadar, a rolled Nyonya pancake flavoured with pandan (which gives it that distinctive green colour) and filled with grated coconut. My favourite!
Upside-down smiley face.
And finally, frothy, sweet teh tarik, the perfect way to round off an evening of eating and chatting. Teh tarik literally means 'pulled tea' in Malay and always makes me think of the tea-pouring badasses who make teh tarik their specialty in South-East Asia. Case in point.
A huge terima kasih to Viv and Jeremy for hosting us so tirelessly, providing excellent company as well as course after course of delicious food. I can easily understand how these two used to run a restaurant in Spain and hope that there'll soon be a new - and permanent - addition to the London food scene, at the very least so I'll have a steady supply of karipap (!)
We were lucky enough to dine as guests of Viv on this occasion, though all opinions remain my own.