Thai? Not quite
Greyhound Cafe, a Thai franchise, offers an interesting take on both Asian and Western dishes, writes Tan Bee Hong
IThe lusciously stunning fresh coconut crepe cake. T started as a fashion retail outlet but Bangkok’s Greyhound Cafe soon opened a cafe to cater to its trendy clientele. Like its clothing and Bangkok, it offers a menu of mix-and-match rather than traditional Thai cuisine.
In Kuala Lumpur, the outlet occupies a corner of the Ansa hotel in fashionable Jalan Bukit Bintang and what immediately draws the eye is the mural of a waiter painted on grey walls. And in carpark-challenged Bukit Bintang, the promise of valet service (RM15) can be irresistible.
The first thing we spot is Salmon Sashimi in Spicy Hot Sauces (RM26). That’s totally not Thai, right?
No, but the chef has given the slices of raw salmon the Greyhound twist with generous lashings of a citrusy dressing made with crushed coriander, lime juice, palm sugar and sliced garlic. Delectable and delicious.
Greyhound Famous Fried Chicken Wings (RM18) are crispy and juicy, with the full flavour of fish sauce. The mid-joint wings are sliced lengthwise to separate the two long bones for easy eating. Unfortunately, the chef is a bit heavy handed with the marinade and the wings are too salty for my taste.
We pick a dish from the noodles section. Complicated Noodle (RM26) is more a dish for sharing than a main course. Fun too. Served on a wooden board are square slices of rice noodles, lettuce, cilantro, minced chicken and a coriander-lime-chilli sauce. Diners place a sheet of noodle on the lettuce and top it off with the other ingredients. Then roll it up and eat.
A word of warning: This is not a dish to order if you’re with someone you want to impress. It can get pretty messy though in a yummy, finger-licking way.
NOODLES AND RICE
At Greyhound, Asian and Western dishes are listed side by side. Like pasta, bihun and rice. For something truly Thai, there’s Phad Thai With Fresh Shrimps (RM26). Stirfried with eggs, tofu and chives, the rice noodles come with beansprout, crushed peanut and chilli flakes. A side tray has bottles of these condiments, including fish sauce and sugar, if you prefer more.
If it’s comfort food you need, go for Noodle With Thai Duck Stew (RM31). Inspired by a Thai street food item, this has vermicelli in a flavoursome soup scented with fish sauce, goji berries, cinnamon and cloves. The leg of duck is deepfried and stewed in stock to make it tender.
Of the many pasta dishes, Spaghetti With Thai Anchovy (RM26) catches my eye.
Ground Level, Ansa Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.
8am to 11pm (Sunday to Thursday). 8am to midnight (Friday, Saturday and public holidays)
Thai with a twist Complicated Noodles and Fresh Coconut Crepe Cake
About RM50 per person. All prices ++
The pasta is stirfried with a Thai tomato-anchovy paste, chilli oil, whole dried chilli and stalks of fresh green peppercorn. Pluck these off the stalk and eat with the pasta for that explosive burst of peppery flavour.
Rice, naturally, is a highlight at Greyhound. Apart from steamed rice with curry, there is a variety of fried rice. The name, Fried Tons Of Crab Meat With Rice (RM55), sounds weird till you see the dish.
There is not a grain of rice in sight. You’d have to dig under a thick blanket of fried crab meat to get to the rice fried with egg. This comes with cucumber sticks and a bowl of clear ham choy (salted mustard) soup. It’s a lazy way to eat crab, without the fiddly shells.
Sticky Rice & Mango (RM18) comes in a glass with a base of glutinous rice steamed with coconut milk, topped with fresh cubes of mango and coconut sherbet with mint leaf. Refreshing.
But what I am really in love with is the Fresh Coconut Crepe Cake (RM22). Imagine this: Thin crepes layered with fresh cream and strips of tender, young coconut flesh to give it a natural taste. A moist, stunning work of art. Deep-fried marinated mini chicken wings in fish sauce.
Phad Thai with fresh shrimps. Salmon sashimi in spicy hot sauce with sliced garlic.