UPDATE (4 June 2007): Regretfully, I just found out that Stan's has officially closed its doors. I've always loved the food at Stan's and am sad that I shall not get to enjoy their ayam minang and sambal udang petai anymore. Incidentally, if you scroll down, you will notice that I am not the chocolate durian virgin that I thought I was. As I was scrolling through my past posts, the picture of the chocolate durian cake at the bottom caught my eye. I realised that it was the same cake that I had blogged about on 16 May 2007. Upon conversing with Nigel from Just Heavenly Pleasures, he confirmed that they had been supplying cakes to Stan's. Small world, indeed. We were destined to meet. The chocolate durian cake was just the start to a lovely friendship.
Gard texted me a couple of days ago and asked if I'd like to join him and Olav for dinner. I figured that it would be a great idea as they would be going back to Norway on Friday and it would be my only opportunity to spend some time with my two favourite Norwegians (brownie points, brownie points!). There was a catch, though. They wanted to eat malay food.
Don't get me wrong. I don't dislike malay food. In fact, I'm a big fan of rendang tok, serunding and anything "lemak".
But ask any Malay if he knows of a good malay eatery, and he'd probably say nothing beats home-cooked food. Road-side stalls are aplenty, but presentable looking establishments sans the cheap plastic flowers and yellow plastic tablecloths are as rare as a soggy piece of siew yoke.
Anyhow, Botak Tim suggested Stan's. I googled Stan's, and some pretty good reviews turned up. Okaylah, I decided it was worthy of my Norwegian visitors.
Stan's is located at One Bangsar which comprises a cluster of well-landscaped bungalows-turned-eateries. I walked right past it at first, as a wall and a heavily foliaged tree were blocking the signboard. We eventually found it after making a phonecall to the establishment only to find out that we were standing right in front of it, and were quickly welcomed into the restaurant with its minimalist decor of dark wood surroundings and stone floor, the only trace of Malay being its wall decorations.
My normal grouse with Malaysian restaurants is the lack of a good service. How many times have we asked for recommendations of food only to be given a blank stare by a non-english speaking waiter? It was a pleasure to be approached by the manager, Clarice, who did an excellent job in not only describing the food to my non-Malaysian friends, but also in making informed recommendations to us on the different dishes that would complement each other. And we could tell that she was sincere about her recommendations as she did not push the expensive dishes to us.
So what did we end up ordering?
Clarice recommended the prawn sambal with petai. We decided on the larger portion which consisted of about 10 medium-sized very fresh prawns fried with lots of nice crunchy petai in a spicy (but not too hot) sambal. Despite my warning about the petai (specifically on the lingering "scent" in the sweat and urine hours after consumption), the Norwegians did justice to the dish. Olav gamefully finished the remaining petai on the plate, and I don't envy Gard, his roommate, that night. ;-)
Gard was in the mood for lamb, so we decided to go with a non-spicy lamb stew which was cooked in coconut sambal. We ordered a small portion of this dish. It looked rather nondescript in a pale brown rich santan sauce, but it tasted wonderful. I'm not a big fan of lamb, though, so Gard happily finished eating that dish!
Chicken was next on the list, and on the recommendation of Clarice, we ordered the Ayam (Chicken) Minang. Clarice gently warned us that it was rather spicy, but the guys asked her to bring it on!
We ordered a vegetable dish which consisted of 4 different kinds of vegetables in a sambal sauce. I'm not sure exactly which 4 vegetables...the beer was kicking in...but I remember seeing ladies fingers (okra) and four-angled beans!
The meal was served with steamed bario rice (see pic of Gard digging in).
We finished all the food, including the garnishing, but still had room for dessert. After all, a meal isn't complete if it isn't ended with something sweet to provide a contrast to the spiciness. I had heard of the chocolate durian cake at Stan's, so after dutifully warning the guys of the new smells that were going to emerge from the kitchen and my belly, I made my order.
Olav initially ordered the chocolate durian cake, but after my subtle warning, played it safe by getting the treacle pie. He didn't regret changing his mind, equating the durian to his smelly socks...or was it underwear?....too much talk about underwear that night, Olav!
Gard ordered the banana jaggery which was grilled bananas served with ice-cream.
In conclusion: The food was great, the visitors were happy, and the night was pleasant. Stan's completed the picture.
Stan's Assam & Garam
One Bangsar, Jalan Ara, Bangsar, KL
Breakfast: 9.30am to 11.30am (Deli only).
Lunch: Noon to 2.30pm (late lunch available at Deli)
Tea: 3.30 pm to 6pm (Deli only)
Dinner: 6.30pm to 10.30pm