What do you make of that name?
Can't fault you if something Thai popped into your mind. It is Thai for "raw fish" and the original restaurant was set up in Bangkok. However, pla dib doesn't exactly serve Thai cuisine - based on their philosophy of "freedom of food", its menu features a variety of Asian fusion items... namely marriages of Thai, Japanese and European cuisines. Besides KL, the other Asian city where you can find pla dib is Singapore.
pla dib is located at The Heritage Village out in Seri Kembangan, across The Mines Shopping Fair. When I got the invitation from Nigel and Anna Chew of VenusBuzz, I had no idea where this exactly is... but thank goodness DL, my partner in crime, knows that area like the back of his hand. So we arrived at pla dib in good time and were warmly welcomed by Anna and Sherlene of Bluwater Estate, the owner & operator of pla dib. While waiting for the others, we had ice cold Phuket beer, enjoying the fading rays as the sun set across the tranquil lake.
Once everyone had arrived, we were ushered into the dining area. Sherlene and the team had prepared a varied menu showcasing most of pla dib's specialities.
First to arrive at our table was the Salmon Labb (RM10). I have never been one who goes for raw fish, really... but pla dib's version intrigued me. The succulent pieces of raw salmon doused with shoyu & lime juice and sprinkled with chilli flakes & roasted rice were quite different from your regular sashimi eaten with plain old wasabe. Suffice to say, these morsels had none of the dreaded fishy taste as the acidic lime juice had kinda "cured" the rawness a bit and the shoyu, chilli flakes, mint leaves and roasted rice were perfect foils.
Single Sun Beef (RM15) - there was quite a debate over the name of this dish (as to why it's "single" sun) but I shall not repeat the rather lengthy details here ;-) The jerky-like beef had been sun-dried before being deep fried and then tossed with garlic flakes and basil leaves. I was told this is a good accompaniment to beer.
Raw Shrimp in Fish Sauce (RM15). Now normally I would shudder at the mention of both "raw" and "fish sauce" in one serving. Encouraged by the yumminess of Salmon Labb earlier, I was feeling kinda adventurous and took one bite of the medium-sized shrimp. That one bite escalated to a 2nd shrimp! DL totally agreed with me that the shrimps were so deliciously sweet which could only be attributed by their extreme freshness. By now I have almost been converted to a true-blue sashimi fan.
pla dib's platter of Mixed Four Raw Seafood (which was not in the menu yet) had chunks of salmon, tuna, shrimps and octopus served prettily on fresh greens and topped with a miso-paste dressing, garnished with mint leaves. The contrasting flavours and textures were a delight on our palate and I can now say that I do love sashimi, but only if they are served with Japanese and Thai accents such as these!
Soft Shell Crabs Salad (RM15) with Mayobe (mayonnaise + wasabe) dressing. I have yet to meet someone who doesn't like softshell crabs. Fried crunchy crustacean served with leafy greens, cherry tomatoes and a tangy, slightly fiery dressing - what's there not to like?
With our appetites whetted, we were ready for their Pastas.
Black Spaghetti with Seafood (RM18) - this was my favourite pasta that night. Spaghetti done just right - al dente - the way I like it, succulent shrimps, tossed with olive oil and chilli flakes, this was a winner in my books.
Spinach Fettucini with Mentaiko (RM18). The mentaiko (codfish roe) gave the pasta a creamy touch while the seaweed shreds lent it that unmistakable Japanese influence - a tasty sample of Jap+Italian done right!
Creamy Capellini Angel Hair Pasta (RM18). Generally I do not fancy rich creamy sauces for my pasta, so this wasn't on the top of my list. The angel hair pasta was a tad overcooked - I prefer pasta al dente, with a bite in it. But if you fancy creamy pasta, try this.
On to the Main Courses...
Black Fried Rice (RM20)... when this very interesting dish was served, most of us were fascinated and a trifle reserved. Thai jasmine rice which had been infused with Spain-imported squid ink, fried with seafood chunks and what's that raw egg doing on top there?! We were told to quickly mix the raw egg into the hot rice. This was duly done and everyone dug in... and the immediate response was "Mmmm... sooo good!" Yes, this was clearly the superstar item that night and it is truly recommended (it's marked "recommended" on their menu too!)
Rainbow Trout in Lime Leaves (RM28). The New Zealand trout was served whole after being cooked in parchment paper. The kaffir lime leaves lent their fragrance to the gravy, which had seeped into the enoki and shiitake mushrooms. Squeeze some lemon juice over it and this goes well with steamed rice.
Grilled Lemongrass Chicken with Roasted Rice (RM20)... boneless pieces of chicken marinated with lemongrass and tumeric - very healthy. What I liked was the creative way of serving their roasted Thai jasmine rice - shaped into triangles, coated with egg and then grilled, thus creating a crunchy crust outside while the insides were soft and pillowy. Nice work.
For the Mains, the Trout and Grilled Chicken were as Thai as they could get!
Mashed Potatoes with Wasabi (RM8)... we all know how common & mundane mashed potatoes can be, right? Well, trust pla dib to jazz up theirs with wasabi and the result was so flattering. DL loved it so much that he promptly replicated it at home the very next day!
When in pla dib, if you have to order a pizza, then let it be the Smoked Salmon Pizza (RM30 for Regular, RM36 for Large).
Generous portions of sliced smoked salmon adorned the super-thin pizza pastry, on top of sprigs of rosemary and mozzarella cheese and topped with a semi-cooked runny egg. The pastry was so thin it's practically curling up at the edges. The secret to eating this is to eat it immediately! Otherwise, the runny egg and juices from the salmon will turn the thin pastry soggy and messy.
Thab Thim Krob (RM8) - now that's really Thai! Unadulterated coconut juice and milk had been frozen and then shaved to make this delectable Thai dessert... each spoonful tasted as creamy as the first, even if the ice has melted. My only complaint was that there was no jackfruit mixed in with the gummy chestnut cubes, but this was to the delight of Babe in the City_KL as she abhors jackfruit!
Their homemade Durian Gelato (RM8) is nothing but pure frozen creamy durian! Which I totally hearted! This item has not been included in their menu yet (at that point of time), so if you love durians, do remember to ask for this.
Drinks - don't forget their signature concoctions: Mint Soursop Blast and Pladib Art, both at RM9.50. The 1st one had soursop, mint leaves, pineapple juice, fresh lime and sugar syrup blended into one refreshing thirst quencher. The Pladib Art is a combination of peaches, pineapple juice, grenadine, yoghurt, fresh lime and sugar syrup. Of the two, I prefer Mint Soursop Blast - I like soursop, as simple as that.
The meal rounded off superbly with a piece of Nigel & Allan's new cake - Spiced Marble Cake, which was so good (so fragrant, so rich, so evil!). I did the unthinkable - I begged for a piece to be tapau'ed home which I guarded selfishly to be savoured slowly. I was told by Nigel this cake will be made available in their outlets sometime this month.
It was a lovely evening, spent in the company of the likes of FBB, Nigel & Allan, Babe_KL & Captain Hookk, Aly of Red FM, not forgetting the delightful hostesses - Sherlene and Anna. Their wicked wit and banters and deep-throated laughter bursting out ever so often, (thanks to the darnedest questions posed by FBB) made it a memorable dinner.
Many thanks to Sherlene and team for organizing such a perfect review session - everything was well planned and went like clockwork.
pla dib is one place I will certainly return as LL has been pestering us to take him there - those are all his favourite food!
pla dib Restaurant
G13 & 14, The Heritage Village
Jalan SB Dagang
43300 Seri Kembangan, Selangor
(opposite Mines Shopping Fair)
Business Hours: 12.00pm to 3.00pm; 6.00pm to 10.00pm
(opposite Mines Shopping Fair)
Business Hours: 12.00pm to 3.00pm; 6.00pm to 10.00pm
Closed on Tuesdays