A Raw Review: Meat & Sea, Desa Sri Hartamas
Hello, it's Ronn!
Here's a little story about my experience Thai-ning (dining) in at Meat & Sea. Thai cuisine has been a staple in many of our lives, be it in Malaysia or beyond. While Thai cuisine is generally known for its emphasis on mixing strong aromatic components with delicately prepared dishes, there are a plethora of different types of preparations and cooking styles — depending on regions.
There's the Central or Eastern Thai cuisine with a heavy Chinese influence and a flavour profile dominated by spicy and sour elements. You also have the North-East region — known for its distinctive flavours and massively spicy dishes. Sweetness is said to be minimal in dishes from this region. That's great news for those who prefer consuming less sugar.
The cuisine from the Northern region is usually described as the more bitter sister compared to the other areas — not out of jealous, but due to its geography; with reliance on readily available herbs and leaves. Last but not least, there's the Southern region with heavy Malay influences. Seafood and coconut cream seem to be common ingredients here as well as turmeric.
The menu at Meat & Sea comprises of home-style dishes influenced massively from the head chef's hometown in Thailand — Kanchanaburi (a town in west Thailand). The restaurant officially opened its doors on 10 March 2020 and I had the opportunity to check them out. Here are some of my favourite dishes (be prepared because it's about to be a gastronomical avalanche).
Moo Ping (BBQ Grilled Pork Skewer) is easily one of the more popular and recognisable street snacks in Thailand. The pork skewer— perfect as a quick hunger fix — is also my go-to because it's really easy to consume. Hence, you can imagine my excitement to see Moo Ping on the menu.
Grilled over charcoal and marinated adequately, the pork was tender and savoury; acting as a palatable starter to the meal. The restaurant's concoction might not be as dulcified as the ones you find on the streets of Thailand but still packs a delightful punch in terms of taste and aroma.
Khao Ka Moo
Meat & Sea's Khao Ka Moo (Braised Pork Leg) — served in slices with kai lan, hard boiled eggs, and salted vegetables — first impresses with its abundant presentation. You know you're in for an opulent feast just from appearance alone.
Here, the meat was braised for four hours and served in a beautiful Le Creuset pot (a recurring trend at Meat & Sea). The result — a well-balanced, toothsome, tangy, and nicely seasoned serving of classic Thai comfort food. The soft and tender braised pork is definitely the icing on the cake. Pair this Khao Ka Moo with a plate of rice and voila, you're set.
One of my favourites on the menu, the Khaeng Phet (Red Curry Beef) is tantalising both visually and taste-wise. Variations of curry can be seen in a multitude of different cultures, from Japan and Malaysia to Jamaica and India.
Here, supple and flavoursome chunks of beef are served in Meat & Sea's house-made red curry. Vivid colours first invigorate your senses; inviting you to dig in immediately (unless you have to take photos first, like I did). It's spicy, lush, and adequately seasoned. You will also find that the curry isn't too sweet (with reduced usage of sugar in many dishes here) — allowing spices and herbs to take centre stage along with the meat, of course.
Kaeng Khiao Wan
Here's another curry dish on the list and it's Kaeng Khiao Wan or green curry chicken. Growing up, I gravitated towards green curry because of the notion that it's the less pedas cousin of curries. Although I'm now older and have had my fair share of curries, my love for this traditionally sweeter curry remains.
Green chillies — introduced to Thai culture by Portuguese traders — are the stars of this dish; forming the main component of the curry's colour. Meat & Sea serves their version with melodious blocks of chicken and a balanced team of diverse vegetables. It's a hearty dish that's satisfying on the palate; especially when eaten with rice.
Som Tan Isan
Another staple in Thai cuisine is Som Tam and here, we have Isan origin papaya salad with baby crab. This popular appetiser from the north of Thailand might seem rather innocent but if you're looking to start your meal with something really hot, you've found your pick. The baby crabs added a hint of brackish crunch and the addition of noodles help elevate the culinary experience. The Som Tam is a welcome inclusion, especially if you're having a meat-heavy. Wait, did I mention that it's really spicy?
Kor Moo Yang
Grilled pork neck is another dish you'll find in many Thai restaurants. Meat & Sea's Kor Moo Yang has the right meat-to-fat ratio and is great for sharing. To be fair, I could probably devour the entire portion on my own but let's save space for the other gustatory options, shall we?
The crispy, charred bits are magic (although my grandparents might disagree) and the jaew (dipping sauce) provides a more intense flavour for the tastebuds. Personally, I enjoy the fact that the marinade on the pork wasn't too sweet.
Tom Yum Talay
Ah, yes — we've finally arrived at Tom Yum. The dish I tried (also served in a Le Creuset pot) is Tom Yum Talay; with Talay being the Thai word for ocean. Hence, you'll find a plethora of seafood in this pot, including squid and mussels.
This popular hot and sour soup might be milder than most places but its lightness really does grow on you. Perfect for those who prefer a lighter palate (like me), the Tom Yum does not overwhelm your tastebuds; not heavily influencing how you taste the following dishes.
Goong Ob Woonsen
Woonsen or glass noodles (made from mung bean starch) can be found in many Asian cuisines, be it in salads, stir-fries, or soups. Goong Ob Woonsen is Thai glass noodles with prawns and the restaurant serves their version with beautifully prepared prawns. Ob means cooked in a clay pot with the lid on and Meat & Sea makes their concoction in a — wait for it — Le Creuset pot. The glass noodles soaked up all the spices and ingredients; making each mouthful a delightful culinary adventure. Pair this with a glass of white wine (or two) for a really unique dining experience.
A Raw Lowdown: Meat & Sea's (non-halal) menu comprises of meticulously crafted Thai dishes that reflect the head chef's cooking style at home. It's a delightful mix of well-seasoned creations with reduced sugar philosophy. In addition to the ones mentioned above, Meat & Sea also serves unique options such as Pla Kaphng Khaw (Grilled Thai Style Seabass in Banana Leaf) and Moo Saam Chan (Roasted Pork Belly). If you're up for a quick lunch fix, Meat & Sea also has really interesting lunch specials on the menu.
Meat & Sea
Address: 1 Plaza Prismaville, Jalan 19/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 012 800 4833