I’d long wanted to visit May’s Malaysian supper club and was thrilled to finally make it to her latest deepest Bermondsey venue. Having spent time in Singapore I was already familiar with Peranakan cuisine, yet I enjoyed May’s explanation of the strong Chinese and Indian influences on Malaysian cuisine.
First up was the most fantastic satay sauce I’d ever tasted on a simple salad of green beans and potato. It was quite unlike any other I’d ever tasted with an impressive deep umami savouriness. May explained she started by making a paste of budu belacan (a fermented fish paste), garlic, chili, candlenuts for creaminess to which fresh peanuts and coconut milk are added. May should really consider bottling it!
Beef rendang of superb deep flavour with coconut, lemongrass, galangal was served informally almost hot dog style in a brioche. Swiftly followed by clams in a highly spiced, garlic, chili broth that just had to be eaten with the fingers. Better still as finger food were tamarind, one of my favourite flavours with its fruity richness, slathered prawns.
Serving all the dishes family style encouraged good conversation with fellow guests from Lithuania, Australia and Scotland. Our main courses were chili grilled mackerel, pork belly cooked long and slow and a stunning chicken kapitan of wonderful tenderness with a harmonious, thick curry sauce of lemongrass, galangal, fish sauce and lots of spice with coconut milk. I adored too the pineapple chili salsa for cooling the palate.
Pre-dessert was agar agar, like a firm jelly made from boiling palm sugar and coconut milk that splits as it cools making for a striking subtle sweetmeat, though some found its texture testing. Both palm sugar and coconut starred too in a dessert of sago pearls, a sweet and texturally unusual dish that I found immensely pleasing to make an almost flirty finish to an exceptional feast.