The warmth of the food and the unpretentious flavors make everything that comes out of a clay pot naturally irresistible, which makes it one of the favorite way of preparation of food in many regions especially in Asia.
I was introduced to this Claypot Restaurant, nestled in a residential neighborhood along Jalan Sungai Kelian in Tanjung Bungah.
Specializing in claypot dishes, as its name suggests, the restaurant has since changed ownership recently though maintaining the concept of claypot in their preparation.
Located within a terrace house lot along a row of houses transformed into businesses, the number 48 distinctively highlights the place out of the many other restaurants (there are plenty of good restaurants in this area as well).
The natural homey interior of the restaurant makes all the sense, since it is an actual house converted into a restaurant and the furnishing is kept to the minimum to create that spacious and clean concept of a dining environment.
I love the little touches of the retro-themed posters on the wall, which creates a soft blend of classic memories amidst a pristine and fuss-free setting with plain wooden dining furniture.
Simplicity always say it best, and is definitely welcomed especially in a setting fit for a pleasant dining ambiance with family and friends.
The selection of dishes on the menu are pretty straightforward, offering a domestic variety for each category; from vegetables to chicken, pork and seafood, humbly served in their signature clay pots.
Braised Japanese tofu in Claypot (MYR8.00) is a simple and plain version of the egg-laden version of the beancurd cooked in a modest starched gravy dressed with peeled onions and spring onions.
It is just like any home cooked version of a braised tofu would taste like.
Seaweed with white tofu soup cooked with eggs is comforting without frills in its presentation and taste.
Served piping hot, this indeed warms one's soul at the very first taste.
As the owner is a family friend, who took over the business, we were treated to this hearty serving on the house as our selection of dishes were somehow constricted to rather dry-based dishes, as according to the owner.
(It is indeed a thoughtful gesture from his side :-) )
The owner is one specialist in vegetables; having formerly (and still) ran a vegetables business and he recommended us the Brussel Sprouts with meat floss (MYR8.00), which was the vegetables which new in stock on that day.
Ask for recommendations for the vegetables of the day, and they will be more than happy to oblige to offer suggestions.
Deep fried Mantis Prawns with dry chilies (Kung Pow style) (MYR20.00) is not served in a claypot; and was fried to crunchy crisp.
This is always my favorite dish anywhere and I was delighted to see that they have it on their menu.
(It can be a bit of a scavenger hunt for this dish sometimes, as there are restaurants which don't serve this or sometimes they run out of the mantis prawns).
This is a little too crispy to my liking though; as I usually prefer the light crisp and slight moist of the flesh inside which is perfection in my personal definition.
The version served here is a little on the spicy side too, with their generosity in the red chilies and sliced ginger.
One of the highlight would be this Braised Fish Slices with Black Bean Paste (MYR25.00).
Served in a claypot, of course, this is a little dry, according to the owner, but we enjoyed the unique flavors used in the mix of the gravy, keeping the salty tastes of the black bean paste to a moderate level and the succulent flavors of the fish slices are preserved at its optimum.
Juicy and fresh slices of fish are used; instead of fish fillets which make the impeccable tastes of the dish, and the claypot added to enhance the flavors.
The food here tastes just like home, and one could easily be momentarily entranced by that thought that they are actually dining at home, especially with the homey settings as well.
Drinks are also served from a homemade selection; though only a few, and I would recommend this naturally refreshing and appetizing mix of Haw with Apple Juice (MYR3.80).
Prices are reasonable here, though the portions could be considerably smaller.
Most of the dishes are in one size of serving, and larger groups might consider ordering more from the menu due to the compact portions of the food.
However, the ambiance, cleanliness and the service make up a pleasant dining environment.
Also, who can say no to a good round of home-tasting food, not to mention served directly from the warm clay pots?
48, Jalan Sungai Kelian, 11200 Tanjung Bungah, Pulau Pinang
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