Malaysian cuisine is something I've never tried before. I'm a big fan of Asian food in general and love trying new things so I was keen to check out Selera Malaysia Bistro when I saw they had signed up for Aberdeen Restaurant Week!
We received the warmest welcome from the second we arrived at the restaurant on Correction Wynd, and the hospitality was fantastic throughout. Owner Normala and her husband took the time to chat and tell us a little about their home country, which they left just a couple of years ago to start this new venture here in Aberdeen. They are one of only two Malaysian restaurants in Scotland - the other being in Edinburgh - but the cuisine is proving popular in London where people are queueing up for a taste!
We sampled Selera's 2 course lunch menu, which is priced at £10 for restaurant week, with the option of a starter and main course, or main and dessert. My friend opted for the Goreng Keledek to start. A small plate of crispy fried sweet potato chips arrived, served with the tastiest homemade soy sauce dip.
She also enjoyed a sweet apple juice with cinnamon from the drinks menu, which is packed with an array of healthy juices and traditional Malay beverages to choose from.
As I mentioned before, this style of food was new to me, but our lovely waitress explained each dish and it's ingredients to help us choose. I was delighted with my choice of Roti Canai with chicken curry. The curry is slow cooked over a few hours resulting in the most tender chicken, packed with flavour and a little heat.
Roti is described as a Malaysia style flatbread but I'd say it's more like a pastry, which I used to mop up every last drop of curry!
While the Roti Canai was delicious, I have to admit to being more than a little jealous of the Nasi Lemak Chicken Rendang. I would 100% order this next time! Nasi lemak is considered the national dish of Malaysia and I can see why. The dish consists of different components - rice cooked in coconut milk, sambal (a hot sauce made with dried chillies) and chicken rendang, garnished with boiled egg, cucumber and peanuts. Again the meat is slow cooked, this time in coconut milk with a mix of spices including ginger, chilli and garlic, resulting in the most fragrant, succulent chicken dish.
Ever the sweet tooth, I'd skipped starters to save room for dessert. These were the most unusual part of the menu. I chose the Bubur Kacang Merah; a warm red bean dessert with a liquid, porridge like consistency made with coconut milk and sweetened with palm sugar. It's unusual to me to have beans in a pudding but it had a lovely, almost chocolatey taste.
We were fortunate enough to try a second dessert which Normala kindly gave us to sample. A cold soup like dish, the Selasih Gula Batu combined basil seed, peanuts, rock sugar, grass jelly and raisins. Apparently it's hard to source many of the traditional ingredients here, but Selera are excited to offer this unusual dessert to the people of Aberdeen.
Ending our taste of Malaysia was a warm cup of teh Tarik which literally translates to pulled tea. Black tea with sugar, milk and a pinch of salt is poured with a "pulling" technique, resulting in this sweet frothy traditional Malay drink. Well worth a try when you visit next week!
If you fancy trying something new too, you can enjoy 2 courses for £10 or 3 courses for £20 at Selera during Aberdeen Restaurant Week. Just head to the Green and follow the road under Union Street to find them!