Erawan Classic Thai & Fusion, Kota Damansara:

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The Thais have been cooking up a storm since the imperial days of our city’s muddy banks, and any visit to a Thai restaurant traditionally calls for a colourful spread of curries and tom yum which would set any out-of-towner’s heart and tummy of fire. But for many locals, like myself, their gaudy golden ornamented decor has lost much of its lustre and can be a tad boring.

Having said that, every now and again a rare exception emerges. You know, that one tiny little gem which shines brighter than the rest – a valuable commodity in the much diluted and fickled Thai scene. Hidden far away from the city’s blinding lights is Erawan, a little cozy place whose creamy curries and sexy salads has been a magnet for those in the know. I obviously did not know until much recently as I always blindly walked pass it countless of times for our regular fix of Hainanese Chicken Rice in the shop next door.

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Inside, the typical gigantic golden statues that one regularly finds in a Thai joint are replaced by hand-painted frescos on the wall of birds and trees; huge displays of fresh orchids in warm hues of orange, purple and white; and muted (but nevertheless interesting) furnitures. The only sign of its Siamese lineage is a small collection of mystical figurines and jewelry locked up in a wooden case with glass window standing right at the back of the restaurant. I like how this feels more like a home than a temple or palace with nothing too dramatic to distract your attention away from the real masterpiece – the food.

Each dish is presented exquisitely with artistic respect for lines, forms, colours, texture and layout. Even the colours and patterns of the plates are taken into consideration. A visual delight in every possible manner. The flavours of dishes are also equally as colourful.

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We began our meal with the fresh 4-Angles Bean Salad (RM38), tossed with chicken strips, huge and springy squid and prawns, hard boiled egg, crushed peanuts, roasted and grated coconut, crispy shallots and drizzled in a spicy and sweet house dressing. It was a wonderful combination of aroma, texture, crunch and flavours with every spoonful. The ladies enjoyed the Refreshing Pamelo Salad (RM30) very much, which uses only specially selected pomelo from Thailand as the restaurant owners find them sweet, juicy with a slight tangy taste which are apparently missing in the local versions. And for now until the 15th day of the Chinese New Year, Erawan is also serving a special Prosperity Yee Sang with a Thai twist, think more fresh ingredients with pineapples and mangoes thrown in with a special spicy and tangy plum sauce. Unbelievably pleasurable and healthy at the same time.

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Curry takes centre stage here with complex flavours and vibrant colours. Our eyes zeroed in on the Soft Shell Crab with Curry Cream (RM42), a unique and dreamy blend of stir-fried crab with curry powder, fresh green herbs in a cloudy and silky egg and chili paste oil sauce. Erawan’s Panaeng Beef Curry (RM38) is equally as striking. Not to be confused with the local island north of Malaysia, this is a traditionally prepared dry curry, much like a rendang. The secret behind its oh-so-tender meat is a 3-6 hours simmer in coconut milk. Highly recommended for beef lovers.

Cockles are one of those things you either like or hate. There’s not sitting on the fence with these things. I for one never liked them. But there’s something in the flavours of the Cockles Curry with Betel Leaf (RM38) that goes so well with the tiny painstakingly de-shelled and boiled cockles that I didn’t mind helping myself to a second spoonful of it. Not to be missed are also the Boneless Roasted Duck Curry (RM38), a red curry thats naturally sweetened by pineapple and green apple; and Green Curry with Pure Tinggiri Fish Paste stuffed with Thai Salted Egg (RM32).

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Among all Asian desserts, I would rank the Thai’s one of the highest. And here, I wasn’t let down one bit. The creamy texture of the Roasted Banana is enough warrant a second return, while the Mango Sticky Rice, scented and greened by pandanus leaf, is as always a pleasant to have, especially with an entire fresh mango served up.

The food served here blurs the line between home-cooked flavours with the flairs and service of fine dining. However, while I find the salads and curries Thai-rrific, I didn’t particularly find the other dishes that mind blowing or rapturous. The others around the table that evening might beg to differ. Food after all, like all things artistic, is rather subjective don’t you think?

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The restaurant is run by Anan and Korn, who both believes in serving you the best dishes in the freshest way possible, a goal that has ultimately led to the restaurant’s inclusion as one of Asia’s finest restaurants in 2010/2011 and voted as one of the Top-5 restaurants in Malaysia by The Miele Guide Asia. So to enjoy a specially prepared meal here, you would have to play by their rules a little by making reservations and pre-ordering your dishes. The main reason for this is that most traditional Thai dishes require a great deal of preparation with regards to the ingredients and Chef Korn is the only one overseeing the kitchen.

A word of caution though, NEVER be late for your booking or ask for sambal with your food.

***

Erawan
No.22-1, Jalan PJU 5/16,
Dataran Sunway Kota Damansara,
47810 Petaling Jaya.
Business Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 6pm to 10.30pm and only lunch at the weekend. Reservations are advised: call 03-6141 2393. The menu is available on their website.

10 Responses to Erawan Classic Thai & Fusion, Kota Damansara:
  1. Kian Fai
    February 8, 2011 | 5:12 am

    Very Colorful food and Good Post!! =P It make me hungry yo!

  2. Sean
    February 8, 2011 | 7:10 am

    someone asked for sambal? but actually the food here does seem a bit less spicy compared to some other thai outlets. heh :D
    p.s. yeah, i always remember what confucius said: "he who eats his friends ends up without many."

  3. KY
    February 8, 2011 | 8:23 am

    haven't seen cockles served like this before, looks good.

  4. Lyrical Lemongrass
    February 8, 2011 | 8:35 am

    What a pleasant surprise bumping into you that day at Erawan. I felt there were hits and misses re the food, but the company was stellar and made up for all deficiencies.

  5. qwazymonkey
    February 8, 2011 | 10:16 am

    Kian Fai: Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

    Sean: Well we didn,t cos we read the warning on the menu. Just spreading the word. Anyway, stop eating your friends!

    KY: You should try it.

    LL: Agreed, that's why I only highly recommended the curry and salads. ;)

  6. J2Kfm
    February 9, 2011 | 1:26 am

    Hmm, and why no sambal?! Hahaha …. bet that will piss the chef off.
    Damn craving for good Thai fares now. Next round?

  7. J
    February 9, 2011 | 1:27 am

    BOOOO. I still haven't eaten at Erawan.
    :(

  8. CUMI & CIKI
    February 9, 2011 | 1:43 am

    where was I?! grrrrr :P

  9. Life for Beginners
    March 3, 2011 | 11:46 am

    Thai Breaker? Thai Me Down? *guffaws*

  10. Chisikoff
    March 21, 2011 | 7:23 am

    This is soo cool !! I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks so much for your photos! Good Design !

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