32nd milestone is perhaps Gurgaon's oldest, and most popular landmark, or, at least, it was till a decade or so back when the bowling alley here was one of a kind and coming to Gurgaon seemed like driving a long distance away from Delhi! Not anymore. For the thousands who travel from Delhi to Gurgaon everyday (or the other way round, using NH48), 32nd Milestone is a permanent fixture where a slow and steady renovation has been brewing for a year now. It's nothing like what is used to be. It's a modern and freshly-spruced up destination with lots of dining options on offer.
Among the new restaurants to have opened here is Mallacca by Laut, a SouthEast Asian cuisine restaurant with impressive food and decor. Mallacca opened a few months ago and positive word of mouth is helping bring back diners to this 100-cover restaurant. At the helm is a team that is associated with Laut in New York's Union Square. Touted as of the best Malaysian food joints in Manhattan, Laut is a Michelin Star-winning restaurant that's known for its elegant dining. Chef Salil Mehta of Laut, New York and his brother Saurabh Mehta intend to create a space for authentic Malaysian food here in the national capital region, hoping for local diners to lap up the flavours.
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And the flavours are very impressive, indeed. There is none of that thick, coconut-based gravy-style everything that gets passed around as 'Malaysian food' these days. Some curries do have coconut milk, but the addition here does more to the flavours than simply thicken the curry. Case in point, Mutton Rendang, a spicy meat-based Indonesian delicacy that needs the gravy to be semi-dry, and the meat to be cooked perfectly. Mallacca Rendang scores big on both.
Mallacca, named after the famous Malacca stretch, serves a well-curated menu featuring classics from South-East Asian cuisine like Nasi Lemak, Singapore Chilli Lobster, Rendang Mallacca and Ikan Bakar (Grilled fish in banana leaves), to name a few.
Amongst the dishes I tasted and found impressive include:
A delicate soup with galangal and coconut milk. Very flavourful, and again, loved the way coconut milk is used in this, allowing it to add just enough of its flavours to come through but not making it thick and gloopy.
A spicy shredded raw mango salad with tamarind sauce. This was sensational with perfect balanced flavours.
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Basil Chicken Lettuce wraps
Lettuce leaves with basil chicken. The chicken mince is the star here.
Essentially a panko crusted fried dumpling, this one had a shrimp and chicken mix stuffing with flavours of curry leaves. Interesting!
Dry-ish, spicy Indonesian meat-dish, I tried the lamb version and it was truly outstanding. The smoked grated coconut makes all the difference, the meat was cooked perfectly.
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Roti Jala - Malaysian Net Crepe
Khanom Thung Thong - Money Bags filled with Chicken & Shrimps
Wheel Of Fortune - Crispy Lotus Stem In Sweet Chilli Marinade
Kepak Ayam - Perfect Chicken Wings served with Sambal and Chilli Mayo
We know that Indian cooking has influenced the food of South-East Asia to a great deal. As a result, the two have more in common than not. There's a presence of 'curries' on both, they use a fair amount of spices like we do, and rice and roti (of some kind) are natural accompaniments with most subzis and gravy dishes.
Here at Mallacca, flavours will feel warm and comforting even to those who are new to this cuisine. And for those are acquainted with the quintessential Malacca food, it would feel like saying hello to an old friend. Either way, you win!
About the Author:
Tanu Ganguly is a Content Specialist with over 18 years of experience in producing, directing and anchoring a variety of content for TV and digital. She worked with NDTV from 2000 till Jan 2019, and her last assignment with NDTV saw her heading the editorial and creative team at NDTV Food. During this phase, she introduced a series of successful changes in content strategy and style to maintain and bolster NDTV Food's leadership position in the food-content space in India. Tanu now runs Mishry.com - a review platform she founded in Jan 2019 exclusively for kitchen related products. Mishry.com is based in Gurgaon and aims to make shopping for cooking and dining needs better.