Restaurant Review: My Elephant, Kuala Lumpur

My Elephant interior

My Elephant interior

My Elephant is tucked away behind a grubby block in residential Section 17, its name simply illuminated in white light. Unassuming, yet marvellous; little did I know, I was about to have the best Thai meal of my life; dare I say it, even better than the food I ate when actually in Thailand.

The restaurant has a cosy interior and the decor is unpretentious yet somehow chic, with artsy white plastic chairs, colourful scatter cushions and hanging fabric lighting. The menu is elegant, well organised and illustrated with polished photography. In stark contract, the dishes arrived in chipped plastic bowls with unpolished cutlery and less-than-brilliant green banana leaf cutouts lining the plates.

Green aroma

Green aroma

We first ordered some unique drinks to cool off from the heat outside. The Green Aroma (RM8), freshly made with pandan, lemongrass and Thai herbs was not overly sweet and have a background hit of the pandan against the fragrant lemongrass.

Green mango cooler

Green mango cooler

The Green Mango Cooler (RM8) is a sweeter concoction with Thai special green mango, nicely offset with slightly sharp lime that got the mouth watering. The fresh and fruity Green Passion (RM6) with cucumber and passion fruit works well to cool the heat of the curries. Thai iced tea and coffee are also available for those who love creamy-sweet beverages.

Miaeng cum

Miaeng kum

We got hands-on with a traditional Thai street snack to start; My Elephant’s fun and addictive starter of Miang kum (RM18). The idea is to construct yourself mini wraps (in what I think were piper sarmentosum leaves), with the assortment of condiments provided.

DIY wraps

DIY wraps

I first spread my leaf with the sticky sweet-and-sour tamarind-plum sauce and then sprinkled over toasted coconut shavings, dried shrimp, peanuts, red and green chillies, and cubes of fresh ginger and lime. The only way to eat this is to shove it into your mouth all in one go! It certainly kept us occupied while the kitchen whipped up our mains.

Tom som soup

Tom som soup

Next came the Tom som soup (RM15-62, depending on size and protein choice); a clear soup with infused with galangal, lemongrass, lime and aromatic Thai herbs. The broth was brimming with star fruit, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, fennel, coriander, Thai basil, tomato and who knows what else. A masterful balance of sweet, bitter and soup with a kick of spice in the background. We ordered the fish version, however, I think seafood would have been a better option. A word of advice; the ingredients in the soup are for flavour and not to eat; some of them are rather potent! Spicy Tom yam and creamy coconut Tom ka soups are also available.

Yum som orr

Yum som orr

My Elephant’s salads are some of the best things on the menu in my opinion; in particular the Yum som orr salad (RM28).

Yum som orr with sweet chilli dressing

Yum som orr with sweet chilli dressing

Yum som orr mixed

Yum som orr mixed

A beautifully arranged bowl of ingredients was presented to us; few of which I could decipher due to my limited knowledge of Thai food. They turned out to be zesty-sweet Thai pomelo, red chilli and chilli flakes, spring onion, roasted crushed peanut, toasted coconut flakes, fresh and crispy prawns, coriander, thinly sliced shallot, crispy onion and a sweet chilli dressing. It was an explosion of flavour, sweetness, freshness, herbal-ness and zing, with just a touch of salt from the nuts and fish. The textures were cleverly thought-out.

Tom sam malakor

Tom sam malakor

The Som tam malakor salad with crunchy hand-pounded green papaya, red cabbage and cabbage was refreshing, colourful and strong with zesty lime.

Gaeng keow wan (Thai green curry)

Gaeng keow wan (Thai green curry)

Onto the curries; we ordered the all-around favourite Gaeng keow wan; Thai green curry (small: RM17-28, big: RM29-50), opting for the fish version. The fish was extremely moist and the batter had a rich, eggy flavour, although it had gone soggy in the curry sauce. Crisp green beans, Thai aubergine and (what I thought were giant peas, but later learnt otherwise) tiny aubergines, or pea eggplant complemented the fish well. I have tried the green curry twice at My Elephant and each time it has tasted different; a true sign of authentic, fresh cooking. The sauce is made fresh everyday and composed on instinct and knowledge rather than using a precise recipe or a prepared mix. It is rich and creamy, yet light and fragrant and a speckled muddy-green colour, rather than the unnatural bright green that I am used to.. The first time I ordered the curry, it was fairly spicy, however the second time the spice was calmer and the sauce a little more sweet. Both versions were delicious.

Panaang gai (chicken and lychee curry)

Panaang gai (chicken and lychee curry)

Our second curry was the Panaang gai (RM25); a sweet chicken and lychee curry, garnished with red chillies and coriander. The lychees were soft and sweet while the dark on-the-bone meat was extremely moist.

Gai tod gratiam prik Thai (crispy chicken)

Gai tod gratiam prik Thai (crispy chicken)

Equally as tender were the Gai tod gratiam prik Thai (RM18); deep-fried chicken strips with kaffir lime leaf, garlic and crushed Thai peppercorn. I usually steer clear of deep-fried foods, fearful of a greasy and heavy dish. However, there was no trace of cooking oil flavour; I tasted only spice, seasoning and fresh chicken. The golden batter was crisp and light and the boneless meat make for easy eating. Ribbons of red cabbage, carrot and red chilli added another layer of texture (even if they were mainly for decor). No complaints about the sweet-chilli dipping sauce, however, I didn’t think it necessary; the flavours were beautiful alone.

Equally as tender were the Gai tod gratiam prik Thai (RM18); deep-fried chicken strips with kaffir lime leaf, garlic and crushed Thai peppercorn. I usually steer clear of deep-fried foods, fearful of a greasy and heavy dish. However, there was no trace of cooking oil flavour; I tasted only spice, seasoning and fresh chicken. The golden batter was crisp and light and the boneless meat make for easy eating. Ribbons of red cabbage, carrot and red chilli added another layer of texture (even if they were mainly for decor). No complaints about the sweet-chilli dipping sauce, however, I didn’t think it necessary; the flavours were beautiful alone.

Hom malee and brown rice

Hom malee and brown rice

As for the rice, I always go for the standard hom malee and brown rice (RM3); a simple and satisfying Thai sticky rice that obligingly soaks up the curry sauces.

Round of the meal with some traditional desserts, such as Mango with glutinous rice (RM8.5) or the Red Ruby (RM6.5); water chestnut and jackfruit with creamy coconut milk.

The sign of a great meal; empty bowls

The sign of a great meal; empty bowls

Infused into Tom Som soup

Infused into Tom Som soup

We finished-off every last drop of food (although left a mess all over the table); a sign of a great meal. Get to My Elephant early; they open at 6pm and the dinner-rush begins at around 7. You may well be told you only have 40 minutes to eat before they kick you out at busy times, but don’t worry; you are sure to guzzle down the delicious grub in record time.

My Elephant

Block C-G4, Happy Mansion

Jalan 17/13

Section 17

46400

Kuala Lumpur

+610 220 1283

http://www.myelephant.com.my

Open 12:00-15:00, 18:00-22:00 daily.

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About SAFbakes

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