Ok ... I have to admit that I'm not a 3 strikes you're out kinda person ... I am a first impressions kinda person ... thats just how I roll!! But unable to get into either Laksa King or Chef Lagenda and absolutely craving Malaysian, we decided to give ChilliPadi another go, even though our first visit was a gastronomic disaster. This time round she took baby steps to rectify the situation, and the saving grace came in the form of Chillipadi's version of Jiu He Eng Chai!!
Now what the hell is Jui He Eng Chai ... you may very well ask. Let me break it down for you:
(i) its sweet
(ii) its prawny
(iii) its peanuty
(iv) its fermented ... erm ... ey
(v) if you're of the anglo saxon persuasion and temperament, chances are you'll hate it
(vi) if you're of the southeast asian persuasion, chances are you love it and crave it
Its basically reconsituted dried squid served with Kang Kong (water spinach) in a molassey peanut/belacan sauce. Hea-ven!! And I have to say, Chillipadi's version is not too bad at all.
We decided to try the Roti Jala again and this time the curry sauce accompaniement was spot on. But really Roti Jala should not have those crispy edges, so I think ours spent a little too much time on the grill.
We also had the hainanese chicken (this and rendang are test dishes for any restaurant purporting to serve authentic Malaysian/Singaporean food - get them right and I can forgive any insipid horrors lurking on your ridiculously populated menu, get them wrong and you lose my patronage stat and my recommendation) to go with our Jiu He. Passable is about all I can rate this. Someone overdosed on the lime/lemon in the sauce ... in fact someone overdosed on sauce full stop. Our hainanese chicken was threatening to turn into a chicken stew.
We also had a Sambal Balado fish. Pretty good Sambal Balado. Menu states it as being a whole fish, but it was served as 2 filleted halves ... not the best thing for this kind of dish. Especially since the gooey texture (as opposed to soft fresh) was indicative of frozen fillets that had travelled some distance from purveyor to store. And when you say whole fish, I want to see head and tail!!
Oh and I had a Milo Peng ... served rather quaintly in a relish jar, like the ones you used to dunk your paint brush in at school ... a nice enough touch.
So in summary, a few steps forward for this mob ... but perhaps not enough for it to move up the queue ahead of Laksa King and Chef Lagenda.
Closer to home, we have seen signs for a Sambal Kampung (nice bit of punning) in Edgewater! Lets hope for Chillipadi's sake, this is the watered down version of Malaysian Cuisine, otherwise we are unlikely to visit their shores again.