We were quite keen to try this restaurant, due to positive reviews in local blogs (notably, Our Awesome Planet); and S. raved about their Malaysian-Thai cuisine, particularly the tom yum soup. She also claimed to be a friend of the chef.
For a bit of background, Chef Alvin Eumang and his wife started as a literal hole-in-the-wall restaurant in a ramshackle building a few hundred meters away from their present location. With good word-of-mouth, they were able to relocate to their much nicer digs. Their present spot is simply superb, very near Wright Park and virtually a stone's throw away from the Mansion House.
From the outside, the restaurant looks big, but this is deceptive. The house at their rear is private property, so Chef's Home is unexpectedly small, around 5 or 6 tables only inside. If the sun isn't shining too bright, i would recommend eating al fresco, as there seems to be a bit of problem with their exhaust fan; and eating inside would guarantee you come out of the restaurant smelling of their food.
Check out their handwritten menu of the day on the white board:
Here are most of the dishes that we ordered, with S. leading the way in choosing. Lo and behold, Chef Eumang dropped by our table; it turns out S. was really a friend of his (due to her regular patronage)! Whoa! He smilingly suggested we leave room for dessert.
First up, the Beef Murtabak, basically deep fried roti with beef omelette inside. The roti was very crunchy, and the filling a tad spicy.
Thai-style Grilled Pork, which was SUPER liked by all of us. Tasty!
The Tom Yum soup, which had the right level of sourness, but a bit too spicy for me. S. loved it though.
Chili King Prawns proved to be quite good. Perfectly cooked, and the sauce was sweet with a tinge of curry.
By this time, we were starting to get full. But undaunted, we soldiered on to eat more food. Below was the Black Pepper Squid, which proved to be perfectly cooked (not rubbery nor too soft), set off nicely by the peppers.
Just a weird observation: I thought that Chef Eumang's dishes tended to have the same presentation, i.e. they were all slathered with tomatoes and various greens and herbs. Not that it mattered. The food was delicious, period.
The Fried Catfish (below) was tender and tasty and flavorful.
At this point, we were all stuffed to the gills. Witness below the various dishes in different states of disarray :D
But heeding Chef's advice, we had room for dessert, namely: Roti Ice Cream, with peaches and sesame seeds. (One can also opt to have coffee sauce with this dish) The ice cream blended perfectly with the crunchy, sweet roti; and we happily finished it all.
My only disappointment with this resto is that their selection of drinks is not extensive, composed of softdrinks and iced tea only. It would be great if they could serve fresh iced lemongrass or pandan juices, etc.
All in all, a straightforward, albeit tasty, meal at reasonable prices. Definitely in the cards to visit again during the next visit to the City of Pines!
I suggest coming here early (11 AM for lunch, 6 PM for dinner), in order to get good seats. Likewise, be prepared to wait a bit for your food to arrive, as Chef Alvin does most (if not all) of the cooking himself.
Chef's Home: A Taste of Asia
30 Lualhati St. corner Romulo Drive,
Mobile: 0916 444-5756
**CLOSED on Sundays. CASH ONLY.