In the books, Selangor may be known as a state that has chalked up a population of around 5 million people but at Erawan Classic Thai & Fusion, it feels like Cheers the pub..."where everybody knows your name". This Thai place is definitely the flavour of the month for many hence the convergence of people here every other night. Walk in here and you'll definitely bump into someone you know. My first visit here yielded one ex-boss and a financial consultant I used to corporate wheel and deal. Lurking in the background was someone else I vaguely remember from my old tuition days.
Numerous dining expeditions later, I've racked up a long list of food bloggers, old friends and even a few famous restauranteurs I've met here. It's not only me who have been bumping into acquaintances as Splashie Boy also encountered a few ex-colleagues here. Another food blogger even bumped into her pharmacist here. I guess this little slice of heaven hidden in Kota Damansara is a darn village in the big city.
One of the best things about dining here...the food is so great and diverse that you find yourself drawn back to keep sampling the varieties. Take for instance, my latest visit here last week. Friends who visited the place for the first time..Erawan virgins, we call them...are now hooked and from what I gather, later this week another visit has been planned. Don't worry, it's all very respectable...its been just seven days since they walked into this magical place.
Run by Anan (who mans the front) and Korn who rules the kitchen with his iron hand, this place is in the most unlikely place - sandwiched between a car workshop and a chicken rice shop. One indication it is a little different from the cookie cutter shophouses is their frontage, framed with greenery and flowers. There's lovely little touches on the outside to entice you inside...orchids floating in the water, cutesy animal figurines and beautiful mosaic patterned tables. Once you're inside, you will be charmed with the whole look - hand painted walls, beautiful paintings, orchids in large vases, and etc.
Dining here requires a little discipline and rules. For instance, you need to plan ahead and be punctual. The restaurant runs on the premise - food should be ordered ahead for them to give you the best food and service. It can be quite frustrating especially for those who prefer to dine on a whim but if making a teensy weensy effort on your part gives you great Thai food as a reward, it's worth it.
In our many visits here, I've chalked up a long list of favourites that one visit is never enough to cover them. In fact, I often feel like a casanova here, after I decided one is my favourite, I discover something else to slowly edge it down the list of popularity. My first love was the roast duck curry - silky smooth to our tongue, the curry mesmerized us all with its sweet flavours from the fresh fruits that we drank every drop of the curry like precious nectar. For my second visit, I was enamoured with their luscious green curry with salted egg yolk or more precisely fish paste stuffed with egg yolk.
Like an onion, we kept peeling through Erawan's menu to discover more hidden treasures. Our greatest discovery was during their appreciation night....the rose apple with special topping. That night, we saw Erawan transform to an intimate place for guests and friends to mingle as the restaurant was celebrating their entry into the Miele Guide. Looking innocently on the table like a fruit dish, we almost ignored the humble looking pieces of rose apple until we took one bite of the whole concoction with a spoonful of the special topping. The sweet, fragrant and slightly sticky topping made with cashewnuts, roasted coconuts and dried shrimps complemented the sweet crunchy rose apple perfectly. Needless to say, once the people discovered how wonderful it was, you could see people crowding around the table to keep spooning the topping over the tiny pieces of the fruit.
Another night, we discovered the cockles curry. If you are a fan of cockles in your curry laksa, here you have a big bowl just dedicated to that humble bivalve. You find yourself drenching your plate of rice with the wonderful curry scented with betel leaf and enjoying every bit of the cockles. Another curry we love is the Panaeng beef curry - tender beef pieces served with an aromatic red curry. Equally good is the soft shell crab served with the curry cream. It's a rich concoction of curry powder, creamy coconut milk with eggs that begs for you to sully your pristine white rice. For those who prefer light curries, the prawns with pineapple will suit them, while those who love peanuts and sweet curries will enjoy the Massaman curry that is served with chicken or beef.
How rude I am, I jumped ahead to the main dishes, when I didn't rave on about their appetizers. For the festive period, there's yee sang available till 17 February. Erawan's version is extremely colourful and healthy with nary a coloured yam shred in the assortment. We spied Thai ingredients such as pineapples and colourful purple cabbage in the assortment. Served with a Thai-ish sauce, it was not too sweet and crunchy after we mixed everything up together with the pok chui crackers.
Other appetizers I should rave on about is the lemongrass salad, a crunchy concoction of sliced lemongrass with toasted coconut and seafood. I also love the four angle bean salad. It's similar to the yee sang, as you pour the sauce over the eggs, toasted coconut, sliced four angle beans to toss it together. The deep fried papaya salad is unusual as it reminds me of eating tempura (in a Thai restaurant) with a spicy assorted vegetables dip. The crab in the shell dish is also good. They're very generous with the crab meat and shrimps and it is served with their homemade plum sauce. A must is their pomelo salad, their best seller. Chunks of Thai pomelo is served with crushed peanuts, prawns and a sweet sticky sauce.
Once you have enjoyed the appetizers and mains, don't forget the desserts as they are equally good. Unlike the usual pumpkin custards, Erawan's version is a different breed as it contains a dark chocolate custard heart. It's also served with a vanilla sauce...that makes it simply divine. A big favourite with all of us is the roast bananas - a dish with soft and sweet bananas that have us requesting for it everytime.
Banana fritters is another alternative for banana lovers - filo pastry crackers with banana. On another occasion, we tried refreshing coconut jelly. Another favourite is the mango glutinous rice, the Thai traditional dish. They even serve a durian version but it is only available when durian is in season, so grab it when it is served. I've also tried their crisp shallots custard cake in the cocktail party, soft and luscious with an unusual deep fried shallot topping. The tapioca is also very good. Something else I also tried before in their cocktail party that I love but its not on the menu is the sago with coconut custard topping. Really good as they put a bit of salt in the coconut custard layer. Don't forget their homemade ice creams...the durian one is gorgeous.
I hope it's not been a whirlwind as believe me, we have eaten a lot of items from the menu. Just go through the Flickr set for the full set of pictures. You can run through the Erawan's menu on their website. Study it and make the right choices for your pre-booked dinner.
Hopefully you will discover and fall in love with this little gem of the place like all of us have. I'm looking forward to my next visit here already after running through my pictures since everyone of them has me salivating especially late in the night.
Erawan Classic Thai & Fusion
No.22-1, Jalan PJU 5/16
Dataran Sunway Kota Damansara
Tel No: 03- 6141 2393
(Pork Free. Closed on Mondays. Open for lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Dinner available from Tuesdays to Sundays. The place is opposite the ICCA.)
*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.