A few of us hopped along to the food bloggers’ meet after K talked to those guys about the date and time. The original meet was supposed to happen around April, but for a reasons and unavailability of certain people and issues with location, it got delayed, and we decided to go for it in June. A last minute confirmation led us to Straits.

Straits.

I have been to Straits before a couple of times, and I don’t mind the place. Made a fantastic Ayam Penyek (fried chicken) the last time I visited. However, the place, to uninitiated palettes, might not be all that great. I was slightly late in reaching. By that time, most of the other bloggers had reached. We had a pink drink with sugarcane and grenadine right in front of us, and there were a few lovely people from Zomato present. They explained to us about our importance as food bloggers and restaurant reviewers, and talked to us about Zomato.

A part of the Zomato community, and part of the top five from the Kolkata group at present, I was naturally grilled slightly. However, I was quite at ease with the group, as I had interacted with a few before hand.

Popiah.

Lunch was simple – Popiah, followed by Nasi Lemak and a side of Ayam Rendang, and Sago Gula Melaka.
For vegetarians there was Gado Gado and some mushroom dish for the main course.

As starters, we began with Popiah, a Malaysian dish similar to a Spring roll. Either served fresh or lightly fried, the dish is generally filled with mostly raw ingredients. However, Straits’ version was a thick skinned deep-fried spring roll with chicken and peanuts in it. I did not like it much… it oozed too much oil for me. But, like the good little girl that I am, I finished it all.

Nasi Lemak with Sambal Eggs, Ikan Bikish and Ayam Rendang.

Nasi Lemak is possibly one of my favorite Malay dishes, and I love the happiness it generally gives me in unwrapping a pack of coconut rice, with a side of sambal, a slice of boiled egg, and some ikan bilis, fried peanuts and whitebait. I saw that they served the egg cooked in the Sambal. I did not like that. I prefer my eggs and Sambal separate, adding what I need to it. The Sambal also was way more overpowering, and I suspected that it came out of a bottle. The coconut rice was not too coconutty, but it was all right. Not too harsh. I missed the cooling touch of cucumbers generally served with it, because it helps balance the spicy Sambal and rice.

Nasi Lemak is served either on its own, or with a side of protein. Here for us, it was Ayam Rendang, or chicken Rendang. This dish, I felt, was quite nice, but it was drier than most and also lighter than the Mutton Rendang I have previously had. I also found this slightly saltier, but mixed with the coconut rice, the saltiness was justified. However, since my salt quotient is mostly more than the rest, I did not know how the rest of my group liked it.

Sago Gula Melaka

I think Straits needs to work on the desserts section more. For one, the Sago Gula Melaka was too much in total. It was sago pearls which was not well-soaked, with a lot less palm sugar than I would have liked, and a huge amount of coconut milk in it. It was NOTHING like what I expected, a lovely pudding of sago with lashings of gula melaka and a bit of coconut milk. I left it alone mostly.

I would say Straits needs to straighten itself out as what is considered authentic and what’s not. With the rise in the number of people going abroad, Malay food is no longer an exotic item. But, the point is, when people try to interpret exotic dishes, they seem to give it their own twists, which is mostly unwelcome.

Team Zomato

Team Zomato was quite nice, friendly, and very sweet. They presented us with a copy of Zomato’s connoisseur’s guide. I felt that most of the reviews were taken from the same few people, and not much variety was present, but the reviews themselves were nicely written, and detailed. They also gave us a nice Zomato cup. I liked this a lot, but not as much as the chocolates I got from S, who had come in last. Thank you! 

Written by Poorna Banerjee

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