At Melur & Thyme, tradition and modernity are celebrated equally, writes Amanda Suriya Ariffin
I THOUGHT I had explored every corner of Suria KLCC but it seems I missed a delightful one. Melur & Thyme is a hidden gem that seems bigger than its facade.
If you can get a seat during lunchtime, consider yourself lucky as the sophisticated eatery is packed to the rafters come noon and that says something considering the mind-boggling array of alternatives available inside the twin towers.
Incidentally, be sure to ask for their off-menu items if you are planning to break fast at Melur & Thyme.
Managing director and de facto head Sharifah Diyana is petite and extremely camera-shy. But get her talking about the expansive menu and she clearly means business — the business of making your taste buds sing.
The 26-year-old, like her ethnic Chinese mother, is passionate about food. “I love duck,” she says, having been fortunate to have sampled duck (from a halal restaurant) in London during her student days studying Actuarial Science. The passion for duck has not abated.
Diyana and her mother had operated Duck ‘N Such in Sri Hartamas some years earlier, but providence meant a corner space opened up in KLCC and in May 2013, Melur & Thyme was born. “KLCC wanted a concept eatery involving halal duck,” says Diyana. But duck is but one of the many stars on the menu here.
The 139 square metres of the black-and-white interior, together with the breezy but cosy outdoor wooden deck that faces the under-construction St Regis, seats 120 heads at full capacity.
The marble tables, wooden chairs, black stone floor and cool tiled walls play host to hundreds of diners who order the restaurant’s best-sellers: Peking duck, duck carbonara and plancha seafood spaghetti.
NOD TO TRADITION AND MODERNITY
The Peking Duck is served with roti jala (traditional Malay thin pancake) and three sauces — hoi sin, plum and sambal. The effect is superb.
This is not surprising when Diyana explains that Melur & Thyme’s concept is a tribute to traditional cooking processes while adding modern flair. The tradition part is indisputably authentic, as her maternal grandmother who was from Penang was the inspiration and source behind some of Diyana’s recipes and culinary passion.
Under the Asian tapas section of the menu — that’s the Melur section — you’ll find classic favourites such as sang har mien, crispy aromatic duck and the uber-excellent char kway teow. The latter is absolutely delicious, and it’s not just because it has duck in it, which is a delightful touch.
But the Thyme part is not to be outdone. Here, you’ll find the creamy pumpkin soup, the luxe beef burger with foie gras and the rolled salmon crockets. The smoked salmon tortilla is noteworthy as it very filling.
The duck satay is a must-try because it is delicious even without the ubiquitous peanut sauce. The flavours from the marinade and the meat spring out and hold your senses captive.
But Melur & Thyme not only offers lunch and dinner menus. It also offers breakfast from 8am till 11am with a range of offerings from healthy mueslis to big breakfasts.
Though the restaurant offers appetisers, mains and desserts, at the heart of it are the tapas menus — tapas Melur (Asian) and tapas Thyme (Western).
Such is the popularity of the restaurant that Diyana is currently organising the opening of Melur & Thyme part deux: A second outlet fashioned as an express cafe at klia2. (Opens October.)
While Diyana is a fluid conversationalist who keeps us busy over the vast procession of eight dishes that her staff trot out (we are stuffed even before the durian tiramisu!), the heart of the kitchen is orchestrated by chef Jasman Tajuddin whom Diyana credits with being her rock in matters of operations. They clearly have a good working relationship as he’s been with her since the days of Duck ‘N Such.
Melur & Thyme is at G03H-I, ground level, Suria KLCC. Tel: 03-2181 8001. Go to www.melurandthyme.com