After months of wanting to attend one of Guan’s amazing supperclubs, I finally made it (!)
It wasn’t too long ago since my last trip back home to Malaysia in February, but I will always have a certain craving for good comforting Malaysian cuisine, and this was the perfect way to satisfy it.
Nyonya cuisine is a blend of Chinese and Malays cooking styles that originate from Peranakans or Baba and Nyonya, typically found in Penang (my hometown!), the Northern part of Peninsular Malaysia, Melaka and Singapore.
The first of our starters was a fragrant and crispy dish of lemongrass and belacan wings. I do love belacan, which is a dried shrimp paste traditionally used in Malaysian cooking – it makes stuff like sambal taste so much better, but probably best utilized in a kitchen with good ventilation…
But I digress. This belacan chicken was definitely finger-licking good and a strong start to the feast that lay ahead.
Next up was one of my favourite dishes from home, made with a twist. A vibrant and refreshing Malaysian Nyonya-style salad, Guan used pineapple, watermelon and samphire which was a unique but delicious combination. Plenty of aromatic herbs and a nice level of acidity and sweetness – can I ‘tapao’ two portions of this home with me please…?
This was followed by fried ‘assam’ (tamarind) prawns – plump juicy prawns coated in a sticky sweet and sour sauce. I usually have them cooked with the shells, but this tasted just as good, and also less fidgety (!)
And don’t forget to suck on the head, that’s where all the flavour is… mmm…
Having finished our first round of starters, a large bowl of rice was passed round the table as we heaped them on to our plates in preparation for the mains. First up was a hearty portion of ‘Daging Pongteh’, which was beef flank braised in fermented soy bean paste. The meat was so tender and the stew was really flavourful that I scooped generous spoonfuls of it onto my rice. This dish is typically cooked with pork or chicken, but either way a comforting and mouth-watering dish.
The goose-fat roasted cauliflower with sambal belacan was another firm favourite around the table. I do love cauliflower and this was cooked through really well, and I particularly liked the sambal belacan which was sweeter than usual but went well with the dish, and everything else on my plate. Sambal just goes well with everything…
Next were two fish dishes, one of them the skate and pineapple curry which had really soft and silky skate meat, and the other a surprise off-menu dish – I was clearly too distracted by the food to remember the species of fish, but it was good (!)
My belly was also quite stuffed by this point – crazy, I know.
There was obviously still room for dessert.
Guan chose to steer away from typical Nyonya desserts which are usually quite heavy – a good idea after all the starters and mains…
The first was a frozen coconut parfait, topped with a sweet caramelised banana with a sprinkle of crunchy nestum crumble – and yes, it tasted as good as it looked.
Another surprise dish of the evening were these sweet horlicks and gula melaka choux puffs – Guan really does know how to spoil us!
And just before we all rolled ourselves out of his flat to head home, we nibbled on some freshly baked mini pandan madeleines – so moreish that I also smuggled some leftovers home to take home with me…
Overall it was a great evening filled with an amazing array of dishes that was a nice taste of home. It’s no wonder that his supperclubs book out so quickly! There is a minimum donation of £35 (a bargain), with 10 spaces per session, and you can check the latest availability via this link – or just subscribe to his newsletter on the website.
I would definitely book myself in again.
The Cheekster, signing out x