Updated: 20th March 2011 as notified by Crispy Lechon; This restaurant is closed and replaced by Jazz Cafe (Japanese izakaya/robata).
Suanne and I stumbled into this new Malaysian restaurant in Richmond. It had just been opened for 10 days only. For us, it is like striking gold. Woweee, another Malaysian restaurant!!
The Red Palms Malaysian Pondok is such a long name I think. If they had shortened it to just the catchy Malaysian Pondok it would have been better. It is located in the small strip mall just across the Richmond Public Market on Westminster Highway.
Surprisingly, the restaurant is pretty packed when we were there. We went early but within 30 minutes, the place was full of customers. The service was quite slow and it took a while before our food came. I can see that they were trying their best to be attentive but for some reason they forgot to serve us drinks until we asked for it.
The interior is pretty basic but is very clean. The chairs, lightings and blinds are made of rattan.
Things looked somewhat familiar until we began to realize that the entire restaurant is basically made from items bought from IKEA, not that there is anything wrong with it. The cutleries, plates, mugs, tables and even the cashier tables are from IKEA.
They have a very unique way of showing their curry dishes in the menu. Each meat type had a fixed price … it’s something like $9 for beef, $15 for fish, etc. You get to choose 9 (I think) different ways to cook the curry and spices. It ranges from Rendang to Coconut Curry and even Tomato Curry!
We decided on having Fish Head cooked with Masak Kari Laut (Seafood Curry Sauce) which costs $15. They ran out of Fish Head and we decided instead of getting just the Fish which costs the same. They said that the fish used is called “Yee Gau” — don’t know what it is.
Actually we were a bit disappointed with the way the dish looked as we had always had Fish Curry with lots of curry gravy — this is rich and thick. Nevertheless, it tastes OK although it does not look very good. My main complain, there is hardly any meat in this. For $15, we should have tried something else.
I thought that rice was included with the order because they did not ask if we wanted rice! We wanted steamed rice but they don’t have it … can you believe it? They only have Ginger Old Rice and Coconut Milk Rice. Each bowl costs $1.50 but the bowl was heaped high. We decided to order one of each type of rice.
The Ginger Oil rice below looked very much like steamed rice with a slice of ginger. It was somewhat soggy on the insides and does not have the consistency all round.
The Coconut Milk rice also looked like steamed rice but we can detect the strong fragrance of coconut milk. Like the Ginger Oil rice, this one lacked consistency … it’s perfect on the outside but the insides were clumpy and mushy.
Our other main dish is the Stir Fried Kangkung with Belacan. This dish costs $10. The kangkung does not look very much like the ones we had in Malaysia and the gravy is brownish instead of reddish. Despite the look, it tastes great and the kangkung was crunchy. We like this one — highly recommended if you come to this restaurant.
The entire meal costs $33 including tips. That’s just for Suanne and I. I do find it kind of expensive. Actually, it is the Curry Fish that is expensive. Would we come back again … yup, I think we would.
I know they are new and with time they will improve as they learn. I want to see them succeed. I know there are quite a lot of Singaporeans and Malaysians in Vancouver reading this blog … I suggest that you guys check this place out.