This post is a little late (read 3 weeks) due to a few health issues so please forgive me. Now presenting… VALENTINE’S DAY!
I am a complete romantic and fortunately for me my other half is as well and decided to take me out for a lovely meal… the day before Valentine’s day. We may be romantics but we are also practical and going out one day earlier is about half the price, gives more menu options and will have fewer crowds.
Chris works on the opposite side of the Northern Quarter to our house so every day he has to trot down Oldham Road to get to the office. On the way he passes Ning, a Malaysian and Thai restaurant which always smells heavenly. After many weeks of saying we should go Valentine’s day seemed like the right occasion. Since it won the 2012 Asian Curry Award for Best Malaysian Restaurant we figured it would be pretty good. Let’s just say that the award was well deserved!
As well as smelling fantastic Ning always looks warm and inviting with long purple drapes and big lights.
Since they have a 2 courses for £14.95 deal we decided to splash out and get starters as well as mains.
Chris started with Calamari with a sweet chilli sauce for dipping. Calamari is a new dish to Chris so he wanted to try it and thoroughly enjoyed it. He said the calamari was cooked well without getting to a rubbery stage and well flavoured while the chilli sauce was spicy without being overpowering. I have had calamari before and tried a piece and I have to say I agree. I don’t usually like anything from the ocean due having worked in fish factories too often but calamari is not too fishy. It just goes to show, it is always worth trying something!
I decided to have the Masalodeh. If, like me, you have no idea what this is without looking at the menu description it is as follows: “Delightful Indian-inspired lentil fritters made with onions, chillies, cumin & fresh curry leaves, servied with either a yogurt & mint (V) or sweet chilli dipping sauce (Ve)”. I had it with the yogurt and mint option but also had a quick dip in Chris’ sweet chilli and can confirm both work well. The fritters themselves were very solid (I had expected the crunchy surround to cave when I cut into it but the whole ball was full of yummy lentils) and just the right amount of spicy, warming without making you run for the milk. The yogurt complemented the drier fritters perfectly. I would definitely have this again.
For mains Chris decided to have Nyonya Lime curry with chicken which he describes as “sweet, well spiced throughout and utterly gorgeous.” It comes in chicken, seaford or vegan. To accompany he had some egg friend rice which came in it’s own little container which I thought was rather cute.
I opted for Ayam Percik: chargrilled, marinated chicken breast on a bed of spinich with the ‘chef’s special’ curry sauce. I figured if I am having Malaysian for the first time what better place to start than with a Malaysian and chef’s special? I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of chicken I got in mine, several large pieces! The chicken itself was tender and well flavoured. The spinich had been cooked perfectly and had just right amount of crispness still. The sauce, however, was fantastic: it was very sweet but not overpowering, the flavours were well proportioned for maximum taste, spicy enough to be warming but not enough to burn. Highly recommended. I had mine with jasmine sticky rice.
Rice bowl 🙂
Since it was (almost) Valentine’s day we opted for the alcoholic drinks. Both of us found drinks on the cocktail menu we had not previously tried and wanted to but will now definitely want to try again!
Chris had a lychee martini. At first I thought he had an egg martini :s. I have since learned that alcohol soaked lychees are delicious but have a similar texture to calamari. Quite odd.
Mai Tai! I have always wanted to try one. Light and dark rum with apricot brandy topped up with juice. I love fruit brandies. It is also pretty.
We were so full after dinner we decided not to have dessert and went for a walk instead. A whole two blocks to Home Sweet Home for a cup of tea night cap. Funnily enough while there we ran into Kim who was going to some sort of cheesecake meeting, of which she has yet to post pictures. We stuck to a plate of their famous cookies.
A warm, homey way to end a warm, exotic night out.