Have You Tried My Elephant @ Section 17?June 30, 2011 | 12,293 views
An eclectic fusion of colours @ My Elephant in Happy Mansion, Section 17, PJ
Didn’t I drop a hint sometime ago, on how this soldiering passion to uncover all the good gems (and some mediocrity thrown in for balance) around Section 17 will not be extinguished that easily?
Yes, and I am still much on track. My Elephant‘s the name of this not-so-hidden gem located at the ground floor of Happy Mansion; a chirpy, optimistic moniker for dilapidated blocks of flats in Section 17. They claim to serve quality Thai food with a healthy twist, and the chef hails from Chiang Rai in northern Thailand.
And thus, was this Thai feast experience suffice to nurture this perpetually craving soul?
Mieng Kam; the famous Thai appetizer to warm the palate – A plethora of colours; texture and burst of interesting flavours wrapped in betel leaves.
First of all, remember to make a reservation. Especially when you’re dining in a larger group (>4 pax). Since space is a luxury here; and at the end of our meal we witnessed people seated on the outside, queuing for a vacant table within. This was a Friday night, hence more or less expected.
Unless you’re oblivious to My Elephant‘s almost cult-like popularity, and wondering how on earth do people know about this inconspicuous Thai restaurant tucked in the middle of a residential area?!
Lightly fried dessicated coconut, ginger, bird’s eye chillies, roasted peanuts, raw onions and dried shrimps all placed on a single layer of betel leaf (daun kadok); but not before lining the surface with a swipe of Thai sweet chili sauce with sesame seeds.
The ambience brought to mind a fusion cafe; with a modern touch, predominant shades of monochrome being the theme. There was one corner with orange cushions (complete with Chairman Mao’s mug emblazoned on it!), psychedelic lighting from the hovering lantern lamp above, a replica of a dried tree bark, and a see-through window to the exterior environment of the old flats.
We were seated on a long table (there were 7 of us), on stools painted in stark black colour. Sharing of food was a hassle though, given the distance from one corner to another. Hence this encourages passing of dishes (and ‘silaturrahim’ etc) but eventually we got tired and ate whatever that was placed in front of us.
But minor gripes all these ….. don’t take my words for it.
Citron Cooler – Signature drinks with a stalk of lemongrass (yikes!), screwpine leaf (pandan), and half a calamansi (lime) for added zing. Sorry, I forgot what this was, but I think supposed to be a combination of cooling cucumber or something.
Thai Iced Coffee - No prize for guessing which caffeine addict had this.
And good thing we reserved our table, and proceeded to order from the menu after the whole group arrived. Almost in succession, the place started to fill up after 7pm, and reached a pinnacle at about 8pm. The temperature warmed to a considerable extent; a surprise since the place was fully air-conditioned and with ceiling fans to boot.
Maybe the open kitchen promoted heat convection?
Enough of blabbering, let’s get on to the FOOD.
Health-conscious enough, you don’t get Thai fragrant white rice but instead a combination of jasmine and brown rice.
Panang Gai – Thai style Semi Dry Curry Chicken with Lychee
Som Tam Malakor – Green Papaya Salad
my Elephant Tom Yum Seafood – Really super spicy seafood cooked in a fiery broth bearing a misleading bland shade of light orange.
Stir-fried Kangkung (water convolvulus/morning glory) with minced chicken in a pungent sambal belacan base.
Gaeng Phat Yaeng (Roast Duck Curry with seasonal fruits) – My Elephant’s signature roast duck cooked in a creamy (rather sinfully indulgent) curry broth, sporting a very rich base without much heat.
Truth be told, I was expecting so much more. By far, not the most affordable Thai food in PJ (per person about RM28/USD9 for all of the above), in an area mostly populated by residential houses rather than in the heart of the city or in swanky malls.
The Roast duck curry though was tasty, but the limp/soggy skin of the roast duck was not the best combination for an extremely thick and punchy curry laden with grapes (yes, grapes). The Tom Yum Seafood was of fire-breathing potential; torching the tastebuds of many on the table. So be wary if you’re not one who can stomach fiery concoction. The Yellow curry chicken with lychee was the most interesting dish in my opinion, being a clever matrimony of rich, decadent mild curry, boneless chunks of chicken and sweet lychees. Mieng Kam (the starter) came in such a small portion, it’s suited for 2-3 pax actually. Expected them to serve according to the number of diners, but oh well.
Great ambience though, this place could have passed off as another Bistro a Table for all I know.
Should have gone for the glass noodles salad, assorted vegetable tempura, green curry chicken, and maybe a steamed fish or squid. But the fish does not come cheap, vaguely remember the price escalates to >RM40-50 per portion.
Hmm, keeping my fingers crossed for the impending Surisit Thai Kopitiam experience. This place holds promise since everything’s stripped down to the bones, so to speak. And concentrating on real, authentic Thai fares, judging from the many rave reviews.
Come late without a reservation and feed the mosquitoes?
Mention Happy Mansion, and names like My Elephant and one other eatery go hand in hand. Make a wild guess. But no rocket science really. Let’s just say, the next place that I will be writing about revolves around more than a single layer of depth …..
C-G-4 Happy Mansion
Section 17, Petaling Jaya
Business Hours : 12.00pm – 2.30pm, 6.00pm – 10.00pm
Closed on Mondays.
Google Map to My Elephant
GPS Coordinates : 3.122486,101.634788
*Situated on the ground floor of the flats next to Sekolah Kebangsaan Sri Damai.