Wednesday, 2 March 2011
BLUEERGGGH - Melur, Edgware Road
I had a horrid meal recently. Between a scale of disappointing and outrageously bad, this meal probably sat somewhere in between but if I were to have written this review right there sitting in the restaurant, I would have given it a big fat zero! Why? Because the food was crap, the decor of the restaurant got on my nerves and the staff just ... well, just annoyed me.
What stopped me? Sigh .. SM did. SM who looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said, "c'mon it wasn't that bad".
I huffed out a "yeah , it bloody was" before I shut up and decided to sleep on it.
Thing is I don't usually publish many bad reviews - because they're all sitting in my outbox, just waiting for me to click on that red shiny "send" button. But I never do. Mainly because I forget and when I do remember, it never seems all that important any more. This time though, I remembered and I'm going click on that shiny button.
So Melur ... sitting on the site that used to be Mawar (where I had my share of cheap and cheerful meals when I was a student - I still remember my first meal there, kangkung belachan, tom yum soup and white rice. I thought I was in mini heaven). I have no idea when one changed to the other or why but since I fancied a bit of a taste home, I thought whichever of them would do me just fine. But it didn't. Where Melur recognised it was somewhat cheap, Melur decided to jazz things up cheaply and it showed. Cheap furnishings, damp peeling walls .. arggh! The staff were less than energetic - hey, I don't expect them to be bouncing off the walls like a fully charged energizer bunnies but some enthusiasm on the job wouldn't have hurt anyone. Example - picture this, SM and I have just walked down to the restaurant (they're located in the basement, which probably explains the damp walls) and we get a weak greeting from the waitress behind the bar. At the same time she notices us, another waiter who is faffing about with some cutlery on am empty table looks up, looks me in the eye, holds the gaze for about 2 seconds, totally ignores me and continues faffing. No smile, no greeting, nothing. Nice people they employ.
Ok, so all the above wouldn't quite have bothered me so much if the food was half way decent. The beef rendang arrives and it looks ok. Small-ish portion but ok. Then we wait .... 5 minutes pass before another dish is set down. I ordered the ayam percik but wtf was that in front of me? I know my ayam percik as well as I know my rendang and whatever that they make in this place and try to pass it off as ayam percik is horrid. A semi burnt piece of chicken sitting in watery sauce and bits of bruised vegetable floating about. The watery sauce was a bad sign, the floating bits of veg just pissed me off ... I can only gues it was pieces of iceberg lettuce the chef had attempted to decorate the plate with before ladling over the sauce. After this, we had to wait. Again. Finally 2 minutes later the kangkung belachan and rice arrive.
The chicken itself wasn't too badly cooked, as if it wasn't overcooked. Taste wise ... what taste? Fine (I'll try to be nice!), there was a smattering of all the flavours that the dish should possess - lemongrass, turmeric, chili, tamarind, coconut (which we all know they overdosed on) but where was the 'oomph'? The punch?
The kangkung belachan was pretty close to competing with the chicken for the bottom rung of the meal ladder. Bad enough for SM to refuse to eat it and it takes a bloody lot for SM to refuse to eat something. Where I would have been happy (and expected no extra ingredients other kangkung and belachan and well, the oil to cook the veg), the chef decided to bulk the dish up with a very large handful of dried salted anchovies. Large part chewy, part crunchy bits of salted fish (oh yes, and the kitchen may also have forgotten to remove the salt from the fish prior to cooking) in a dish which would have been perfectly adequate without the added extras.
The rice ... oh, the rice ... the rice was mushy. An Asian restaurant that can't cook rice properly.
So the winner of the evening was undoubtedly the beef, with a 5 out of 10 rating. The sauce was fine but not as good as say .... mine or my mother's (no, my recipe is not the same as my mother's) or my grandmother's (whom I believe also has her own recipe) or any other self respecting Malaysian cook who cites the ability to cook rendang.
Badly done, Melur. You could do well to buck up but I guess it doesn't matter to me because I won't be going back.
175A Edgware Road, London W2 1ET