Malaysian by May

I will be the first to admit that I was a latecomer to the Supper Club scene. In case there are others who have yet to discover this phenomenon, I shall explain. Supper Clubs are effectively underground set-menu restaurants hosted in the homes of the cooks/chefs. Diners are treated to several courses and asked to make a recommended donation towards the cost of the meal. The events are BYO.

I originally heard about Supper Clubs through a friend. Intrigued, I trawled the Internet searching for opportunities to attend. Initially I struggled to find information. Eventually it became apparent that Supper Clubs vary considerably in their lavishness and culinary sophistication. So far, I’ve found The London Foodie really helpful in identifying excellent Supper Clubs.

This weekend I attended the Malaysian by May Supper Club. While I have eaten Malaysian food, I don’t have a great depth of knowledge of this type of cuisine. I have a trip to Malaysia at the end of this year so this seemed an excellent opportunity to expand my understanding in preparation.

Upon arrival I was greeted by one of the hosts and presented with a G and T. We were asked to arrive at 7:30pm for 8:00pm, providing ample opportunity to mingle with my co-diners. One of the wonderful aspects of Supper Clubs is that they are very friendly and sociable events. While chatting and sipping our complimentary apératifs, we were offered canapés of waterchestnut and chicken moneybags with sweet chilli dipping sauce. They were beautifully golden and crispy and I greedily indulged in a second one when the opportunity arose.

Just after 8:00pm we were invited to seat ourselves for the begining of our eight-course Malaysian feast. Dining was a communal experience, with groups seated between two large tables. Again, a fantastic way to meet other people with a similar passion for great food.

Dinner started with a gado gado salad. Rather than serving individual portions, each table was provided with a large platter which was passed around for diners to serve themselves with as much as they wished. This gado gado was different from others I’ve tried previously. The eggs, which I’ve always were thought were a fundamental component of the dish, were substituted with boiled potato. As a non-egg eater I saw this as an improvement, although some of my companions found this adjustment to be a little odd. The dish was also composed of cabbage, bean shoots, and green beans. The salad was unmixed, with each element of the dish separated on the platter and the satay sauce poured over the top. The satay was excellent, comprising a strong peanut taste married with a gentle sweetness, an undertone of fishsauce and a little bite of chilli at the end. Personally, I was gratified by its similarity to a satay sauce I made a few months ago. It was a really good starter and I had to resist the urge to take a second helping, knowing there was much more to come.

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When the second course arrived I knew I’d made the right decision. It was pork belly buns and they were amazing! The texture of the bun was outstanding. Beautiful and soft and so flavoursome. The pork belly was succulent and beautifully marinated so that the the natural flavour of the pork was still prominent and enhanced by the additional Malaysian tastes. The buns were also filled with thin slices of cucumber, and a sprinkling of fresh coriander and finely chopped spring onions. If there had been seconds on this course, I wouldn’t have been able to resist!

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Next item was spicy clams in bean sauce. These were served in individual bowls. There was a lot of sauce in each dish and it actually felt more like a soup. The flavours were gentle and earthy and so good I just drank what remained once I’d finished the clams.

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Continuing the seafood theme each table was served with two large bowls of tamarind prawns to share amongst the guests. The prawns were served with heads removed, but unpeeled. This meant the flavour of the prawns was not overpowered by the tamarind dressing. Having said this, the marinade had a very subtle taste, although there was a powerful hit of chilli. While the pork belly was my favourite element of the meal, I was so eager to devour the prawns that I forgot to take a photo.

Finally we reached the main course. Bowls of delicious food were constantly passed up an down the tables as we continued to overindulge. We were treated to:
• coconut rice with pandan leaves and raw peanuts
• sambal eggs
• chicken rendang
• tofu and coconut vegetable stew

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It was good! It was so good I even ate the eggs and enjoyed them. Although I was getting full by this point, I kept picking at the dishes. A morsel of chicken. A little piece of tofu. It was just too good to allow it to go to waste.

Having said that, when we reached dessert I was just too glutted to finish it. It was a shame because it was a nice dish of sago with coconut milk and palm sugar. I made the mistake of stirring mine together and lost the contrast of the different elements. Still I’ve learnt something for next time.

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Overall it was a fantastic meal and I would definitely recommend this Supper Club to others. May and Luiz, bravo!

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