MALas Malaysian Tapas Bar @ Nexus Bangsar South
August 8, 2017
MALas (Malaysian Tapas) has a tempting concept, taking classics mainly from the Malay, Chinese & Indian cookbooks (from ayam masak merah to fried shrimp wontons to kambing varuval) & reinterpreting them into small plates for bar-style snacking.
The selection shoots for a sense of playful wit: Itek Ber-Batang, for example, comprises basically slim, crunchy breadsticks laced with morsels of duck (RM7.90). Other intended pairings with beer include chicken skin deep-fried with local rempah (RM4.90) & a munch-worthy variety of popcorn chicken with different marinades, like oyster sauce & sweet-&-sour (RM10.90).
We liked the nasi lemak arancini, with each crispy breaded rice ball stuffed with sambal (RM7.90), & the lip-smacking Goan-inspired spiced clams with sour cream (RM10.50). But the soft-shell crab in feebly toasted Hainan bread with sesame dressing was less than fresh (RM11.90), while the chicken feet were tenderly braised but hamstrung by a sauce with cloying artificiality (RM6.90). We'd skip the chicken rice sushi (one-dimensional in its blandness; RM8.90) & duck rendang (cooked with santan that tasted past its prime; RM7.50).
The Mi Wantan works well enough as a single-plate meal (RM9.50), but our nasi kerabu was blemished by dry, under-cooked rice (RM5.50). For a carb fix, the Zaitun & Feta carb fix might be memorable for being more enjoyably garlicky than expected (RM5.50); the Roti Datar Asam Pedas may taste more like tom yum to some customers, though that's not necessarily a bad thing (RM10.90). On the bright side, prices seem reasonable & service is mostly well-meaning.
Drinks as dessert: Mocktails influenced by cendol & pat-poh eight-treasures herbal tea provide soothing refreshment at the close of the meal. But what we like best at MALas are capably executed Malaysian-inflected cocktails like the Kampung Pandan, Cincau Kaw & Kepala Rum (RM16.90-RM21.90) & a satisfactory red wine that clocks in at RM108 by the bottle.
MALas Tapas Bar
G13, Nexus Bangsar South, Jalan Kerinchi, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 12pm-1am. Tel: 03-2242-0711
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