With the gastronomic landscape of KL morphing so frequently, I must confess to a bit of food fatigue. There are only so many glittering settings you can ooh and ahh at, and only so many meals you can consume before the palate gets inured to it all. Oh sure, I know, my lament is that of one spoiled by Too Many Good Things, but when the culinary landscape is forever being rewritten, the need to set the bar ever higher must be acknowledged and the challenge met.
Dancing Fish seemed a promising candidate to do just that. With a suitably entrancing but-not-over-the-top setting, a menu adorned with timeless Indonesian classics and an on-the-money address (BSC, natch), Fish ostensibly had everything going for it.
Even the starter was brimming with potential – the superbly bittersweet emping melinjo made from crushed nuts accompanied by the devilishly more-ish sambal terasi. But then as the meal unfolded, little omissions and glitches became all the more glaring: an oily sup buntut that was served tepid, with oxtail that needed eight hours more slow cooking; the Balinese crispy duck that was fried for just a little too long – it’s a dead giveaway when your jaw starts to ache when you’re masticating the meat – although the crispy ‘tepung’ bits were deliciously reminiscent of the ‘ganja’ you get at the local nasi kandar.
That’s not to say the food is bad. Far from it. Fish’s gulai pucuk paku is a good example of a simple dish perfectly executed. Although it proliferates in this region, the humble pucuk paku is one of the most underrated, under-utilised vegetables, which is a shame, because the jungle fern is not only exquisite to the eye, it is also texturally unusual. This elevated version of the sayur masak lodeh is the perfect rostrum for the paku. Order it.
The nila goreng is also notable. Served with a variety of accompaniments ranging from mango kerabu to masam kedondong pedas, it’s crispy, fragrant and a good reason why we need more Indonesian eateries in KL. The devil, as they say, is in the details. If the management of Fish can fine tune the little details in the food they serve, then they can reasonably lay claim to being the brightest new gem in BSC’s F&B crown. Fay Khoo
Dancing Fish was shortlisted Best Malay in the Time Out KL Food Awards 2013. Our food awards are 100% voted for by the people of KL. This way, we guarantee that popularity and consistent performance are rewarded.