A hip ny­onya place

Shelly Yu’s the place to un­wind and dine, writes Ewe Paik Leong

New Straits Times - - Dine -

ACincalok chicken wings ex­udes a sour­ishshrimpy flavour. S I step into Shelly Yu’s, a colour­ful mu­ral on the wall be­hind a heav­ily-stocked bar im­me­di­ately catches my at­ten­tion. A bird and a mas­sive flower are ab­stractly de­picted in bright colours in the mu­ral.

Af­ter tak­ing a seat, my gaze flits to other walls at the back of the bistro. They are dec­o­rated with paint­ings in bold colours, mak­ing me think of painters such as Sal­vador Dali and Paul Gau­guin.

NY­ONYA FARE

As I browse the food menu, I re­call reading the restau­rant’s Face­book ac­count that de­scribes it­self as serv­ing “Ny­onya food and ny­onya-in­spired gin cock­tails in a high en­ergy, vi­brant at­mos­phere.”

With­out pho­tos, the sim­ple menu has short list­ings grouped un­der starters, meat, seafood, noo­dles and rice, veg­eta­bles, sam­bal and man­isan (dessert). The dishes are Ny­onya stan­dards, there’s noth­ing new or cre­ative.

Next, I flip open the drinks menu. There are gim­lets, red wine, white wine, gin, rum, juices, soft drinks and the usual va­ri­eties of cof­fee. Sev­eral cre­ative drinks are found here. For ex­am­ple, Kopi Li­mau Ais is made of tequila, cof­fee, lime, galan­gal soda and kaf­fir lime leaf.

Then there’s the Baba Yaga con­cocted from rum ginger, gula Me­laka, mint, co­rian­der and lime. Among other stand­outs in the non-al­co­holic bev­er­ages are jack­fruit shrub with soda and lime, mango nut­meg shrub with soda and as­sam boi cooler.

THE FOOD

A plate of pie tee ar­rives first. When I pop one into my mouth, the pas­try shell crum­bles like wafer be­fore the fill­ings work their savoury magic by burst­ing with moist sweet­ness and tit­il­lat­ing spici­ness from the chilli sauce. I re­call a Ny­onya granny once told me that this tid­bit is time-con­sum­ing to pre­pare, so I pre­sume the shells are pre­pared be­fore­hand and stored in air­tight con­tain­ers.

Next, I try the Per­anakan curry noo­dles. A pile of long cu­cum­ber strips sit atop the curry-drenched mee, which has fish balls, tofu puffs, a slice of hard-boiled egg, fish cake slices and some bean sprouts.

The first bite pro­duces a rough mouth-

49, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru

Kuala Lumpur

03-2201 4139

www.face­book.com/ shel­leyyus

Noon to mid­night daily Ny­onya fare

Cincalok mar­i­nated chicken wings and pie tee

RM6 to RM80

Cool and funky

Hur­ried ser­vice due to short of staff

Go give it a try

feel akin to chew­ing grass! The cu­cum­ber strips are too coarse for my lik­ing. The curry broth is thick but the flavours of the spices are mud­dled. A sec­ond mouth­ful of the mee jerks me up­right in my seat as I am taken aback.

Strands of mee are stick­ing to­gether in clumps be­cause they have not been suf­fi­ciently blanched in hot wa­ter. I steer away from the noo­dles to eat the fish balls but

Brin­jal sam­bal is ter­rific eaten with rice.

they are noth­ing to fuss about. Over­all, this bowl of noo­dles is a meh (thumbs down).

Cincalok mar­i­nated chicken wings makes up for the ear­lier flop. Ev­ery bite of the chicken meat un­leashes a sour­ish­saltish-shrimpy aroma that is an ab­so­lute counter-point to the sweet­ish grilled chicken wings pop­u­larly sold by hawker stalls. This dish serves as an ex­cel­lent ap­pe­tiser.

My meal con­tin­ues with brin­jal sam­bal and deep-fried ikan rawa.

The spongey tex­ture of the brin­jal com­ple­ments the fluffi­ness of the white rice.

The ikan rawa has been fried in but­ter and doused in umami sauce. The meat is slightly coarse but as the outer skin is crispy, this tex­ture is not ob­vi­ous to my taste buds. How­ever, the fish meat is ter­rific when eaten with rice.

Mango nut­meg shrub with soda rounds up my meal. A sip re­leases a cin­na­mon-like flavour that in­vig­o­rates my senses but the mango flavour is a tad weak. As I wait for Ikan rawa has a crispy outer skin and is drenched in umami sauce.

my bill, I re­mind my­self that I must come again in the even­ing to lis­ten to dee jays Axel Groove, Slut­ski and XA and ROZZ work their magic on the con­sole. And, of course, the Ny­onya-in­spired gin cock­tails de­mand to be sam­pled.

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