Anyone in Hyderabad who is a food lover would be an ardent fan of Hyderabadi and Nizami cuisine but most of their secondary choice would be Pan-Asian cuisine which includes not just Chinese but also Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay  as their use of basic spices are closer to Indian cuisine and bear some similarities but yet far different  . Malaka Spice , inspired from Malaysian term "Melaka" has proven its Uniqueness in adapting the authentic Asian cuisine but putting a twist with their inspiration and proud to put them in their menu as "INSPIRED NOT IMITATED". With branches in pune, Goa and nasik, the 6th offering has come to hot and happening Hyderabad. More than the place, the history of how the place evolved from 1997 and the cheerful couple Praful Chandawarkar & Late Cheeru (who is also the Chef behind some unique recipes in the menu) , the pictures gives is very warming.

                      The place on its first impression leaves not only a WOW but also a positive vibe in you and that is something unique to this place. Check out to feel that in you. The HISTORY depicted via the story-line pictures in the entrance is something that impressed me only to be BLOWN away to see that they have a wall with their employees and that shows how much they value their staff and that was the icing on the cake.

                    Another fact that their first Employee Dennis (in the picture with owner in 1997) is still with them shows how much the place as a business embraces their staff as part of their evolution in last 19 years. The place has first of its kind in recent times which has space aspects for all sorts of customers. Need a private candle light dinner table, private family dinner, 15-20 pax PDR rooms, outside space table , inner seating - You name it they got it. With ground floor spanning for 220+ pax across Class Malaka (outside dining) and Artistic Malaka (Inside seating) and bar + dining seating capacity being constructed for 110+ pax in the first floor, the place is more likely to embrace any crow any day. With liquor license in the way in a short while should make it even more appealing and crowd pulling. SEE IT TO BELIEVE IT. The decor which is trademark of their branches right from Pune main one has been retained for most part of it. Thanks for Mr. Piyush Deshmukh (Head Projects & Business Development Managerr) from Pune was part of our review experience and ensured that we knew all the details of the place and the whole experience was one of its kind. Also a great thing is they showcase artistic paintings from a local painter for a month free of charge and enable it for better selling model. The paintings themselves add nice vibe and contrast to the bright and vibrant decor inside.

Note: This review experience is based on Management Invite and was on the house & review shared is honest and unbiased in the interest of fellow readers and foodies.

            We started off with a nice tone where the steward Chiranjeet was introduced along with a cute card in the table that explains a bit about him and you know him already before he serves you. This gives a personal connect in your dining experience and this was much appreciated right away.

              We started off with Malaka Thai Ice Tea which is sweet condensed milk combination with lemon grass stem. The freshness that the lemon grass brought was something so soothing for the summer and I should say I just gulped multiple servings of this without a break. Its soothing, refreshing and simple but simply WOW.  Next followed a big array of 5 soups. Though none of us in the table were big soup fans, we finished all 5 bowls cleaned up and that should say a lot about them.

             The only veg participant Roasted Pumpkin Bamboo Soup which by look seems like your typical white cream soup but on first sip, you know its something so different from your regular mild flavored ones. The roasted pumpkin gave the needed crunch while the rich cream broth and the bamboo shoots gave the flavors and aroma. One of the best veg soup I have had in recent ties. MUST TRY. This followed by carnivore paradise of non-veg soups. Madurasi Chicken from the Indonesian Island of Madura , the soup with ginger, chillies, lemon grass and coconut Milk was flavorful but I felt it was not strong enough for me but of course aint bad either. Tom Yum (Chicken) Soup - you just cant go wrong with this and yet you can. The hot and sour combination with galangal , coriander, lime and lemon grass was pure HEAVENLY taste. The strong flavors WOWed me thoroughly - MUST TRY. Pho Chiru (Mutton) the aromatic mixture of star anise, basil & coriander with mutton and this is Chef Neeru's Dish. This was OKish for me as I couldn't get the richness from the mutton though the soup was hot and strong. Finally, Malaka Tom Kha (Prawns)  Soup wrapped up soup section with a big bang. The concoction of prawns in coconut milk & lemon grass, coriander, chilli oil and galangal and bring in mushrooms in it - U got a perfect marriage. This was bang on and the rich prawns soaked in creamy coconut milk was pure bliss - MUST TRY again. The soups really made a big impression to start the preview session.

     The starters course started with Top hats (Chicken) which by the name itself evoked lot of interest which is rice sheets fried in shape of cup cake hats and filled with minced chicken, coriander and topped with bean sprouts. On recommended with the sweet & chilli sauce , the dish was a perfect finger food type and vanished in no time. I liked how the bean sprouts keeps the healthy factor of the dish when you can still relish your meat. It also went well the peanut sauce.

      Thai Mutton Chops or what we traditionally call lamb chops only that the spice marination is different here was served with amazing glaze and sauteed shallots. On first cut, the meat was bit tough but even before we spoke, Piyush changed it with another serving as he felt it has to be spot on. The second serving was far better where mutton was uniformly cooked and I particularly loved the shallots.

     If I were to think the veg dishes would be no in match with non-veg starters as I'm a hardcore meat devotee, there comes these 2 dishes which not only appealed visually but made my opinion change big time. Pumpkin Chips first of its kind I'm having it was finely sliced pumpkin slices with Asian spices and deep fried with curry leaves. It proved to be one of those few dishes that is HEALTHY N YUMMY. This was followed by Lotus Stem Tango which is one dish that I just had it in another pan-Asian place and haven't had it anywhere to even compare and rate. This dish which is lotus stem finely slices and deep fried like regular chips and tossed heavily with tangy sauce and spring onions drizzle was another yummy dish and again proved healthy dies can impress like this both he veg dishes WOWed me for sure and I recommend both of them.

     Following it was Murtabak Mutton also known as mutabbaq is a stuffed pancake or pan-fried bread which is commonly found in Saudi Arabia and this variant had minced kheema stuffed in it and pan friend lightly to give the outer layer a crispy. This dish was pleasantly good but wasn't much authentic but nevertheless the kheema and the layering worked well. Then we were served Chicken Dimsums boiled in traditional wooden wok casing. The minced chicken inside was a bit bland and thick for me and the coating didn't work well either. This was a passable dish and I'm yet to be satisfied in a flavorful and satiating dim sums in Hyderabad.

  Both the prawn starters mighty impressed me Singapore Chilli Prawns and Curry Leaf Prawns. Mainly the curry leaf prawns which unlike the usual batter fried one, this was coated with oats to be on the healthy side . The fried curry leaves also added to the crunch which I liked and at the same time didn't over dominate the prawns. The Singapore chilli prawns though a bit tangy and saucy was amazingly WOW

   With the starters making us almost filling us, the main course just peeped out to impress us with their visual appeal mainly the Roti Jala which is one of their unique Chef Cheeru's creation and is one of the most innovative dishes you can see. The bird nest shaped dish literally meaning Net Bread, is a popular Malaysia tea time snack served with curry dishes which can be found in Malaysia and Singapore. Next was Roti Kanai which is nothing but our typical Malabar type parotta which is flaky and always appetizing with amazing curries. Accompanying the roti dishes was Kari Kapitan which is another adaption of chicken curry and belongs to Peranakan cuisine a more intricate cuisine from migrants settled in penang. The Kaffir lime leaves and coconut milk makes the key ingredients and is an absolute delight when poured over Roti Jala and soaked and eaten. Mighty impressed with the softness the roti achieves with the curry.

     Now how can a Malay meal end without the well known Nasi Goreng literally meaning "fried rice" in Indonesian and Malay, can refer simply to fried pre-cooked rice, a meal including stir fried rice. Topped with fried egg and onion crisps and served alongside with crispy chips, this I would rather say was an inspired version and not purely authentic was good and flavorful but I felt the need of more spice paste and little bit more softness.

      Pad Thai Noodles was served in a different way of wrapped up in a monstrous omelette and topped with red capsicum and spring onion and crushed peanuts. The noodles as such was again close to authentic yet different but I felt a huge blandness in it with richness of peanut butter sauce being missed and the overall peanut feeling was missing.

       Basil chicken Curry was flavorful and the broth having heavy dose of basil and carrot proved to be another good curry dish but couldn't relish more as I was totally stuffed.

       Now no matter how filled you are, you cant desert the DESSERTS , can you? Well I can't and I won't :)

     But after having their finale touches I should I'm so glad that I did try. Chocolate Brownie with vanilla ice cream was something you on look would taste regular but the brownie was crunchy, necessarily hard and with the ice cream blended beautifully well. Coconut & Date Roll with Coconut ice cream was another simple yet divine dessert, the crunch of coconut shavings in the roll with the subtle coconut flavored ice cream provided an amazing combination for a hearty dessert.

      Both the ice creams served Jaggery and Meeta Paan were amazingly satiating. The Jaggery was so subtle that you might get the hint of jagery even on multiple tastings but it felt different but yes could have projected more dominant jaggery flavor. Meeta Paan was very refreshing and one spoon would be equivalent to a complete meeta paan experience in your mouth with crushed betel leaf choppings  was very refreshing with a almost bombastic meal.

Service & Hospitality:

            Mr. Piyush the man himself was from start to end in our lunch journey , his knowledge of the place, the history, the cuisine, the food, ambiance, location, ideas, the plans and vision of taking this place, you name it he got it. Such an engaging person and so informative and was very warm in all the interactions we had throughout the meal. Chiranjeet the steward was as pleasant you can expect in any place. Such warm service that you don't have ways to even look for any improvements. If that's how they engage with customers, I'm sure its going to be a differentiating factor in long run. Keep it up.

Verdict:

    Malaka Spice a place that I had no expectation when I stepped in and surpassed all my opinions when I stepped out. If you want to try authentic food with a serene and vibrant ambiance , reachable but yet away from the huzz-buzz, you got to hit this place without a shadow of doubt. They are soon planning to bring in liquor as well as corporate buffet and I'm sure its only going to add to the strengths of their growth. With ample car parking, you shouldn't worry about it as well. I hope and I wish they stick to the history, keep this place a new landmark and ensure that they deliver consistency and stick to the positive vibe aspects that I could experience in my visit. I will be coming back in near future to see if they do so. Until then Selamat tinggal from GastroHogger.

Note: This review experience is based on Management Invite and was on the house & review shared is honest and unbiased in the interest of fellow readers and foodies.

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