I had a dose of nostalgia when I tasted her soul-warming Hu Pio Soup (pix above of fish stomach soup). Light and clear on the palate, the textural interest came from spongy pieces of deep-fried fish stomach and the unexpected inclusion of two fresh prawn dumplings. Flecks of deep-fried garlic added a sublime deep-bodied flavour which saw us slurping everything up to the last drop.
|Once you go black, you can't go back - Buah Keluak is addictive once you gain a penchant for it|
Penang Perut Ikan (pix above) is yet another almost extinct delight that you'd be hard pressed to find in today's Nyonya restaurants. Debbie's sterling version had that vivid melding of savoury, sweet, sour, and spicy accents that completely erased the disappointing versions I have had in the past. One can eat loads of rice accompanied by this dish alone; in order to appreciate the melange of finely shredded herbs, vegetables and pickled fish stomach fully.
Complementing the heartier dishes is Kerabu Jantung Pisang with Prawns - a scrumptious creation that warms the cockles of our hearts with the use of the humble banana flower 'heart' (the equivalent of the Asian artichoke). Up until now, we have always encountered it in kerabu (local salad that consists of the finely chopped heart of the banana flower and tossed with chilli, toasted grated coconut and shallot). Needless to say, it was another huge hit as the zesty chilli and spice notes set our tastebuds tingling with pleasure.
|Kuih Bongkong...a light teaser that's sweet and slightly custardy drenched with melted palm sugar|
The Best of Malaysia: Nyonya Cuisine by Chef Debbie Teoh is available for Friday & Saturday dinner buffet at RM125 nett per person and Sat & Sun high tea buffet at RM78 nett per person. Cooking enthusiasts can pick up tips and tricks on Nyonya cooking from the celebrity chef herself during High Tea on Sun (prior seat reservation required).
For reservations, call Chatz Brasserie, tel: 03 - 2147 0088.