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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Molly’s Place @ Damansara Kim, Penang Nyonya Fare

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Home-cooked touch to Penang Nyonya Fare

FOODIES thrive on discovering good eateries cleverly tucked away in inconspicuous places or thereabouts.

Molly’s Place in Damansara Kim is a hop and a skip from Taman Tun Dr Ismail, where people seem to per-ceive all the culinary action is. But, for a quiet rendezvous and food cooked from the heart, Molly’s Place will do delightfully.

The restaurant may be only several months old but it has a faithful following. Aside from her culinary prowess, chef and owner Molly Khoo seems an old hand at spreading her conviviality.

Brought up in a Penang Nyonya family, Khoo learnt to brandish a ladle and handle a wok from young. After raising her children, she decided to grab the opportunity to run her own eatery, with help from family members.
Unpretentious: The outlet is simple but inviting, and is a delightful place for a rendezvous.
It is no easy task to prepare six types of porridge daily for dessert alone but Khoo takes it in her stride. Bubbling pots near the counter hold Bubur Cha Cha, Durian Bubur Cha Cha, Bubur Pulut Hitam, Red Bean Porridge, Barley Fu Chok Porridge and Honeydew with Sago Porridge.

One whiff of any of them is enough to make you think of des-sert.
Khoo prides herself on blending her own pastes and making marinades from scratch because discerning eaters can tell the difference.
“I blend my own turmeric for the Otak-otak (steamed fish slices in coconut) but it is common practice to use curry powder as an alternative nowadays. The taste is totally different, though,” she said when the sa-voury delights, fashioned like cupcakes, were brought out. To say that the Otak-otak is spicy is putting it mildly.

Homemaker-turned-restaurateur: Khoo prepares home-cooked Penang Nyonya fare at Molly's Place.
She also does not see the point in compromising where Perut Ikan – fish stomach cooked in potent assam curry – is concerned. For authenticity, the fish has to be finely cut so that it completely absorbs the tangy flavour.

The perennial favourite, Jiu Hu Char, receives similar treatment where finely shredded yam bean and carrot are tossed with fried cuttlefish for a true-blue Penang Nyo-nya salad.
A cherished recipe for a secret blend of herbs and spices is used for the Chicken Pong Tay. Because the meat is cooked for at least 45 minutes, the chunks also attain a rich colour.
Diners are known for savouring the typical Penang Nyonya meal of just Jiu Hu Char, Chicken Pong Tay and a bowl of rice. At Molly’s Place, we recommend enjoying this simple fare with tiny cups of steaming lemongrass tea.
And, when the hankering for hot food sets in, you should throw caution to the winds and go with the Kari Kapitan, Penang Assam Fish and Assam Laksa.
After all, there are sumptuous desserts to douse the fire on your tongue later. Nyonya Kuih and Yam Cake are made daily for eat-in and takeaway.
All the dishes at Molly’s Place come with an unmistakable home-cooked touch, courtesy of Khoo’s magic fingers. For an initiation, try the ongoing promotion on set meals for two or three diners and go armed with a hearty appetite.

MOLLY'S PLACE (Pork-free)
No. 40 Jalan SS20/10,
Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya
(Tel: 016-337 3384).
Business Hrs: Daily, 11am to 10pm.
Closed on Mondays.

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