For some odd reason we have never made it to the nearby Tamarind Hill in North Vancouver for Malaysian food before. It has a fairly Spartan decor, with polished concrete floors (easy to clean) and simple but dark walls and tables with a splattering of Malaysian decor along the walls. As with most small Asian restaurants, there is the perennial TV up in one corner which I’m never fond of because I find them distracting if you’re seated facing them. There was a bank of seats and tables along one wall, occupied by a very large family party, and a trio of 4-seat tables along the other wall.
We had made a reservation which turned out to be a wise move as the restaurant appeared to be fully booked at 6pm on a Saturday. The waitress apologized in advance for the wait for food as the large party was obviously keeping the kitchen busy so we nursed our Tiger beers for a while...no hurray, no problem. The waitress was working largely alone but she was very efficient, attentive when we needed it, and personable.
We ordered 4 dishes for the 3 of us which turned out to be plenty of food. The Kari Lamb was tender, boneless lamb in a spicy and flavourful coconut sauce with onions and potatoes, perfect for spooning over the steamed rice. The Sambal green beans were tender-crisp and stir fried with prawns, chillies, onions, and tomatoes (unfortunately, the Kang Kong we wanted was out of season). Char Kuey Teow was stir fried rice noodles with bean sprouts, black tiger prawns, fish cakes and cuttlefish in a lovely dark soy sauce. Our last dish was the most expensive on the menu: Softshell crab with Indian black peppercorns & garlic butter. The soft-shell crabs were delicious, crispy and spicy and came finished with fresh onions, chillies and Indian black peppercorns.
Overall everyone agreed the food was delicious, mildly hot (we’ll ask for extra spicy next time) and a smorgasbord of Malaysian spices and flavours. We’ll definitely be back to try a few other dishes. $95 for 3 people with tip.