Tamarind Springs

Time Out Malaysia Eating and Drinking Guide - - EATING -

You’d never know it was there un­less you knew where to look. The en­trance is sub­tle, easy to miss. Just an arch­way open­ing out to a red wall, with a foun­tain trick­ling softly at the front. A path leads down, shaded by over­hang­ing branches, lit on ei­ther side by can­dles in lit­tle glass cups. Din­ers eat in the open air sur­rounded by fo­liage, which is clev­erly ar­ranged to give you the im­pres­sion that you’ve stepped out of the city and into peace­ful, med­i­ta­tive seclu­sion.

Our ap­pe­tiser is Viet­namese pan-fried sal­mon parcels (RM32), ev­ery bit as ex­quis­ite as the name sug­gests – more so, in fact. They’re wrapped in slightly crispy shells that give way to full, fishy sal­mon with just enough lemon­grass to leave a re­sound­ing af­ter­taste. We follow it up with Lao­tian beef salad (RM42), which we quickly re­alise is strictly for spice lovers. The beef is rich with the taste of chilli and the zing of lemon­grass, with a faint whiff of co­conut. For some­thing pur­port­ing to be a salad, it’s mostly beef, with only a few leaves of cab­bage to bal­ance it out. In the lull be­tween cour­ses, the fire from the beef salad fades down to a pleas­ant warmth in our skin. We lis­ten to the soft chim­ing of gongs, min­gling with the steady chirrup of tree frogs call­ing to one another in the branches.

Along come our mains, be­gin­ning with deep-fried jun­gle ferns (RM32). They’re a lit­tle smoky, and thank­fully not very oily. They ar­rive with a roasted green chilli dip – a full, fresh taste that rounds out the fried veg­gies won­der­fully.

The Viet­namese caramelised chicken (RM36) is ten­der and sweet – a lit­tle too sweet, though it goes well in the same spoon­ful as the jun­gle ferns. That’s the great thing about shared din­ing: If one dish doesn’t quite stand on its own, you can just pair it with another.

The An­daman tuna in Lao­tian wild ginger sauce (RM55), on the other hand, def­i­nitely stands on its own. It comes apart eas­ily, crushed against the roof of the mouth. It’s not even the least bit gin­gery though – more pep­pery, since it’s served with bunches of pep­per­corns in­ter­spersed through­out, giv­ing it some heat and a fruity af­ter­taste. Noah Nazim Up­per Level, Jalan 1, Ta­man Tun Ab­dul Razak, Se­lan­gor (03 4256 9300/www. tamarindrestau­rants.com). Daily, 12noon–3pm; 6pm– 12mid­night.

Best for Ro­man­tic din­ners out, es­pe­cially for an­niver­saries and pop­ping the ques­tion.

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