Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Unfinished Mission

Coming back from a weekend trip from Thailand only recently doesn’t mean we couldn’t have more Thai food. A few weekends ago we went to check out the weekend brunch at Mak Mak and felt we have uncovered the best hidden gem in this part of town. Took both of us a while to find the restaurant, located at a corner of the luxurious Landmark shopping mall in Central. The façade looks just like a glorified Pret A Manger takeout stall, with ready-to-eat lunch boxes and drinks in the refrigerator shelf and a long open bar, but through the tucked-away entrance on the side, we were led to the dining area at the back.

The décor was dim with dark wooden tone, and bore some resemblance to Chachawan, its sister Thai restaurant by the same group, except it’s more refined and spacious. It’s fairly packed when we sat down but not terribly crowded. For weekend afternoons, one could opt for their regular a la carte menu, or one of the all-you-can-eat brunch options. While these days many places would charge you an arm and a leg for meal with free-flow drinks (alcoholic or not), the brunch at Mak Mak was surprisingly reasonable, even if you opted for bottomless bottles of Veuve Clicquot, which was the priciest of the three options available.

We went for the middle option that came with cocktails, soft drinks and Thai specialty drinks, and began to explore the menu which we could pick and choose the dishes from the few sections – appetizer, soup, salad, a few categories of mains, and dessert. We aimed at sweeping the menu but there were way too many choices than we could consume in one afternoon, and all the dishes we tried were lovely.

We started with a few appetizer dishes served in small plates. The Poo Nim Phad Phong Ka Ri was easily our favorite, with the soft-shell crab dipped in a light batter and deep-fried and the egg yellow curry sauce spooned on top. It’s crispy and full of flavors – we ended up ordering that a few times more and popped them like we had Chicken McNuggets. That’s the beauty of all-you-can-eat deal! I suppose if you could take super-spicy food the Nam yang grilled Thai sausage was good – but for us it was a bit too much of heat. They looked deceivingly timid but we went straight to our drinks after just a small bite.

The Thod Man Poo was another dish I like (sorry I did giggle at the name of the dish) – the Thai-style crab and prawn cake was served with yogurt and sweet chili dipping sauce and a green mango salad on the side, and I love that balanced, creamy sauce. We made a mistake of over-ordering on appetizer dishes so we went light for the rest. The Panang Nuer curry was served with beef, chilli pepper and young peppercorns. It’s not over spicy and was great with rice. The bowls of soup – the predictable choices of either Tom Yum Goong or Tom Ka Gai – were delicious too, with complex flavor. We also tried the Kai Jiaw, the egg omelette with minced pork. It was deep-fried with crispy edges and served with an enticing chili sauce.

We saved room for desserts and both the mango sticky rice and coconut icecream didn’t disappoint, with both served with the sticky rice dyed with butterfly pea flower, like how it’s traditionally done. There were two choices of cocktails available for our menu option (in addition to beers, soft drinks and non-alcoholic Thai specialty drinks). Both Mak Thai (rum, pineapple and Gran Marnier served in a light-bulb-shaped glass) and Mano Wan (vodka, calamansi and mint on highball) were great. I don’t normally drink that much during the day but just couldn’t help but ordered a few more than I probably should.

With half the menu still remained untouched by us, you bet we will be back soon. Count this as our unfinished mission.

When? July 29 2017
Where? Mak Mak, Shop 217A 2/F Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen's Road, Central
Menu Highlights? Poo Nim Phad Phong Ka Ri - crispy soft shall crab, egg yellow curry

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