Secretly located to the left of the Realm reception with no clear signs from the outside, I’m surprised that anyone finds this place. Malamay was one of those restaurants where I had heard many good things and I had been meaning to go for a long time but it wasn’t until my friend organised for his birthday dinner there (part I) did I finally get to go.
There are only different choices of set menus/degustations to probably make it easier on the kitchen and allow them to focus their talents on a small range of plates rather than a large number of options with mediocre food. We chose the six course degustation ($88 per person) because it had a nice variety and it also included dessert but with so many dietary requirements between us, we turned out to be ‘that difficult table’.
Dim mood lighting, great for romantic dates but terrible for food blogging. I had to hold the awkward orb light towards each dish without dropping it in the food so please excuse the photos.
Pan seared shrimp cake with shredded seafood and cucumber jelly – I like shrimp cake because I’ve grown up with it, so for me this wasn’t anything special but I did enjoy the refreshing cucumber jelly. I also found the texture of the seafood salad underneath to resemble overcooked pasta and unappetizing. As the first dish of the night, it did make me nervous about the rest of the meal.
Tofu ricotta with chillied mushroom relish – the vegetarian/non prawn/non seafood eating option.
Three chilli relish prawns with hand-made noodles – A nice kick of spice. It was fabulous that they had a perfect balance of heat from the chili while the dish was served cold. It left a lovely tingling burning sensation on my lips.
Mirin & soy soba noodles – the vegetarian/non prawn/non seafood eating option.
White fish with burnt green chilli and black bean radish crumbs – The fish was juicy and tender but the broth was weird like it was pickled mustard or something, I was not a fan!
Vegetarian, no prawns and no seafood of any kind – even I started to get confused! They brought out a gluten free option (surprisingly none on the table) so I don’t know exactly who this was for.
Slow cooked eggplant with chillied sticky rice – An a-mazing tender eggplant with an even better broth. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was tasting but I knew I wanted more but it wasn’t my dish.
Winter garden enoki mushroom salad – the vegetarian/non prawn/non seafood eating option.
Pork and prawn tortellini with cumin, paprika and chilli oil – Before you eat, take the time to enjoy the fragrance of the spices and the oil. These mouth watering dumplings left you wanting more. I wonder if I could replicate these at home… Hmmmmm
Sous- vide wagyu beef cheek with aged shaoshing wine and goji berries – no seafood opt
Crispy tofu with aged shaoshing wine and goji berries – vegetarian option
Cape Grim beef fillet with minced green lip abalone congee – I love congee but this was out of this world! The rice was blended to an only just recognisable texture, it was salty and served nice and hot. Perfectly seasoned congee topped with soft tender beef and a delicate slice of abalone.
Chocolate charcoal with yoghurt cream, pistachio and mandarin crumb – A bold choice to serve everyone dark chocolate and citrus together because it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but the mandarin isn’t the strongest component of the dish, there is a decent amount of heat and strong taste of rich cocoa. A marvellous contrast between the chilli bite in the chocolate and the cooling effect of the yoghurt.
Overall I enjoyed my meal, I felt that some dishes were a miss for my palette and I left feeling content but not in the slightest bit full and I probably could have eaten the degustation twice over.
I couldn’t help but wonder, did my Asian background find comfort in the familiar tastes and textures which might not appeal to everyone? With so many positive reviews I think not. Maybe go in with an open mind and palette and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
With attentive staff, romantic atmosphere and exciting food, I will be returning very soon.
Address: 1 Burbury Cl, Barton, Canberra
Phone: (02) 6162 1220