Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Not even a week had passed since I got back from Bali and I jumped, without hesitation, when dear Masak-masak asked if I'd like to go try out Dancing Fish. I mean, I had been gorging on Indon-Balinese food for 4 days prior to that and yet I couldn't wait to go and check out Dancing Fish, a new restaurant serving Malay-Indo cuisine located on the 3rd Floor of the spanking new refurbished wing of Bangsar Shopping CEntre.
The signature dish & namesake of the restaurant - Dancing Fish is a delightfully fried Red Tilapia so skillfully fried till the entire fish can be eaten, bones, head and all. With accompanying ladies fingers, long beans and tomatoes and sitting prettily on a sweetish-sourish tangy sauce known as "Masam Kedondong Pedas", the only direction the cleverly-contorted fish danced was straight into our tummies. By the time we were done with the fish, the plate was cleaned out - not a single bone was left!
Service was fast and courteous. During the short lapses while waiting for the next dishes to be served, we were busy snacking on the Emping crackers which we dipped enthusiastically into the sambal terasi - it was pretty addictive! The Indonesian crackers made from melinjo nuts, slightly bitterish, went so well with the sambal terasi, not unlike our sambal belacan but with crushed tomatoes added in.
I really love love their Kerabu Pucuk Paku! Lightly blanched jungle ferns served with a coconut-based gravy with just the right combination of turmeric, shallots and daun salam - this dish won the "fastest disappearing" award for that meal. I was so happy this was right in front of me and I made sure it didn't quite move away from me much, hehe! I was so tempted to tilt the plate and pour all the gravy onto MY plate. This is one vegetables dish I would order and order again!
I loved their Terung Sambal too. Eggplant grilled and slathered with a thick sambal sauce and topped with crispy fried shallots, this was a winner in my books. But my only grouch about this dish is that it will make you want to "tambah nasi" (add more rice!), such is its addictive sambal.
We had a whole Bebek Goreng Bali (Fried Duck) which was thoughtfully served in 2 plates. The chefs at Dancing Fish must be master-fryers because the duck was fried to a crisp but had not lost any of its flavour plus the flavours of the marinade. I had no need of the accompanying chilli dip - the pieces of crunchy ducky were scrumptious on their own.
The one not-so-on dish, for me, was the Tahu Telur. It didn't do much for me in terms of taste and texture.
Cumi Cumi Bakar - yes, it tasted as good as it looked up there. Squids are not exactly the easiest item to cook but the chefs here have done a marvelous job. Smooth and tender (not chewy at all), the fresh squids were grilled to perfection. I totally dig the sweet sticky sauce (I suspect it's made from "kicap manis") glistening on the smokey shiny plump squids. Definitely a favourite round the table!
You can choose between plain white rice or yellow rice to go with your dishes. Tasting a bit like our local "nasi minyak", the fragrant spicy yellow rice (a tad oily) went very well with all the dishes. In fact, you can even just eat it on its own - it's tasty that way.
Desserts... Chendol with Durian Ice-cream... this is so decadent! Thick coconut milk, soft pandan-flavoured chendol, red beans, thick gula melaka and best of all, that scoop of divine durian icecream.
If chendol is not your scene, go for something lighter in the form of Lemongrass Jelly served with some "pearls" of assam which give you a delightful sour experience when they burst in your mouth. I have no idea how these were made - I'd surely love to learn its secret.
The jelly is served with fried rolls with either mango or durian filling. Guess which was my choice?
The restaurant has lots of elegant wooden beams everywhere... criss-crossing cleverly for a gorgeous visual impact...
... and a beautiful "feature wall" on one side... assorted batik patchwork-like designs...
Dancing Fish Malay-Indo Cuisine
3rd Floor Bangsar Shopping Centre