18 January, 2012

The Tranquerah @ The Strand

The location for this exquisite lunch is a little different from my recent posts. Despite of hearing great reviews about this restaurant that serves Malacca Nyonya Cuisine, this is my first time stepping into this traditional restaurant for a Chinese New Year set menu.

Alan and FiSh
This authentic Nyonya restaurant is owned by Alan Yun (袁锦伦), an actor or director whom you can see on TV most of the time. Recently, he is one of the Pensonic brand ambassadors who appeared on advertisements with Amber Chia. For more information, his fan page is here.

At Tranquerah, you can see the old-school setting in this family-styled restaurant. Upon arrival, I have the feeling that the restaurant would make me feel as comfortable as at home. I personally think that it would be a great place for filming with every minor detail of the Baba and Nyonya from the olden days.

If you have been to the Nyonya Heritage House @ Malacca, this restaurant would serve as a mini heritage house around KL. You'd certainly fall in love with the contemporary-meets-heritage setting here.

The assorted patterns hung on the wall are actually the wooden batik stamps. Traditionally, people use this carved wooden blocks to produce attractive motives for the batik fabric. Such stamps can be rarely found nowadays, and a good one can be sold up to approximately RM4000 each!

We were there to try out the latest Tranquerah Chinese New Year's Menu A @ RM 588:

#1 Golden Dragon Nyonya Yee Sang @ RM28 (Small) and RM48 (Large) 

Despite of having Lou Sang for numerous times, this is my first time in experiencing a platter of Baba Nyonya Yee Sang. Comprising of fresh squids, jelly fish, turnips, fritters and raw salad, the homemade Nyonya sauce enlivens the whole platter.

The balance of the sweet and sour taste is perfect here, with added crushed peanuts and sesames to bring out the crunchy texture in a blend of mildness. 

#2 Pai Tee (Top Hats)

This Nyonya kuih is a must-have with its alluringly gorgeous presentation and premium taste and flavour. Being a virtuous snack that showcases the brilliant combination of fresh ingredients, it’s undeniably good and up to authentic Nyonya quality.

#3 Cucur Udang (Shrimp Fritters)

I realised this is another snack to go before the main courses. This scrumptious shrimp fritters with sweet chili sauce is deliciously savoury! Crispy golden brown crust on the outside, once bitten, a softer texture reveals and you will taste fresh shrimps and a slight spiciness in it. 

#4 Chicken Meatball Soup

This light, flavourful broth has the bounciest homemade chicken meatballs ever!

#5 Sek Kay (Nyonya Stewed Chicken)

Being a traditional dish usually prepared during Chinese New Year, this special item named Sek Kay is marinated beforehand. The sweet and tangy unique flavours add credits to the firm yet tender bite of the chicken.

#6 Chap Chye (Nyonya Mixed Stir-Fried Vegetables)

Alhough I find the thick sauce a tad salty, it was nevertheless flavourful with assorted shredded vegetables. This aromatic dish would be perfected by enhancing spiciness of the sauce.

#7 Nyonya Chicken Curry

Here comes the most basic dish ever in every Nyonya cuisine. As curry is usually the best companion of white steamed rice, this would be one of the best choice if you are a strong proponent for rice.

#8 Sotong Masak Lemak Nenas (Squids)

A small serving of succulent squids cooked in a rich, sweet coconut gravy with pineapple is enough for me to tell how tender the squids are. Despite of lacking spicy flavour, the coconut gravy is truly decadent as the flavours of the spices are absorbed into the gravy.

#9 Ikan Tilapia Goreng Cili (Fried Tilapia with Chilli)

Under the crispy salty skin lies the moist and flaky flesh of the fish. A bite into the fish fillet with fiery chilli paste would be wonderful, but it goes tasteless without the tinge of spiciness.

#10 Sambal Bendi (Stir-Fried Okra in Chilli Paste)

Okra or more commonly known as lady's fingers are lightly blanched and topped with a fragrant, spicy mix of homemade sambal belacan. The okra is wonderfully crunchy while the mixture of sambal coats each lady's finger perfectly. This zingy refreshing salad is one of the best I've eaten despite of the excessive chilli oil served on the plate.

#11 Gerang Asam Stingray

Comprising of stingray, tamarind, corns, lady's fingers, onions, Kaffir lime leaves alongside with other herbs and spices, this bowl of Nyonya-style sour fish curry tastes similarly to Thai tom yam soup. My mouth salivates just listening to the list of ingredients this special dish was infused with!

#12 Sambal Terung

Simple it does look, here I uncover another recommend-worthy dish. The platter of blanched brinjal with sambal belacan is very fragrant, sweet and rich tasting! Again, the recipe of sambal belacan can be improvised by adding more spiciness.

#13 Homemade Chilli Paste 

Upon request, the restaurant owner brought us a spoonful of chilli paste to be served as a condiment. Despite of its fiery bright-red color, the chilli paste is surprisingly not too hot in a hint of lime.

#14 Ice Kacang 

Dessert Time! This is the part I'm always looking forward to. The featured ingredient in this bowl of shaved ice is the generous amount of Gula Melaka (Coconut palm sugar) and Cendol. In the hot and humid country like Malaysia, nothing can beat the icy cold and pleasant dessert to soothe the throat!

#15 Bubur Cha Cha

Another popular selection for a delightful Nyonya dessert is Bubur Cha Cha, comprising mainly of coconut milk and sweet potatoes. It is regrettably sounded very good but is way too sweet to suit my liking.

#16 Sago Gula Melaka

Being one of the most inventive and vividly luscious Nyonya creations, the tasteless sago pudding when accompanied with rich sweet flavour of sugar palm syrup is probably the best Nyonya dessert on earth!

Completing a meal with these indulgences is a must 
for the ultimate dining experience at The Tranquerah!

Full and satisfied, I scanned through the menu of the lunch and realised that the above set of dishes is a little different from the prescribed set menu. Here you can compare the dishes between Menu A and B to suit the liking among your family and friends:

Nyonya Yee Sang is excluded from the set menu.

Here's the location map for your reference. 

1. From the appetizers to desserts, I prefer those traditional dishes with a twist.
2. The light touch of spiciness in every dish is perfect if you prefer to go mild.
3. The taste of few good dishes enhanced by the condiment is perfectly enjoyable under the family-styled dining.

The Tranquerah 
62A-G, Red Carpet Avenue 
Encorp Strand, 
Jalan PJU5/22, 
Kota Damansara, 
47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. 
Contact: 603–6142 4106 
Email: nyonyaplace@gmail.com

Remarks: This restaurant is opened from the Eve to 7th Day of CNY. Closes from 30 Jan till 2 Feb 2012.

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