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Damansara Perdana's Táo Restaurant and Bar impresses with the most unusual fried rice that contains… raisins, walnuts and dried peaches!

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

PETALING JAYA, March 3 — The plate of fried rice arrives, and as my eyes dart across the plate, the look of anticipation on my face quickly changes to one of bewilderment.

Are those walnuts? Raisins and dried peaches too? Surely not...

And yet, after digging into the plate, I find myself pleasantly surprised.

Huge chunks of shrimp, slices of squid and abalone make up the rest of this fried rice, which — by every metric — is very good.

The fried rice is also full of fresh seafood, including huge, meaty shrimp, slices of squid and abalone.
The fried rice is also full of fresh seafood, including huge, meaty shrimp, slices of squid and abalone.

The fried rice is also full of fresh seafood, including huge, meaty shrimp, slices of squid and abalone.

Light, fluffy and full of wok hei, the rice itself leans to the salty side, which is where this curious combination of raisins and diced dried peaches come in to provide a sweet contrast.

The walnuts work in a rich, earthy and crunchy way, though something tells me that no one would complain if it were swapped out for crispy pork lard.

Still, even when I ate fried rice that set me back a cool RM98, I wasn’t as pleasantly surprised as I was here, and it grew on me with every spoonful.

That’s the Signature Fried Rice (RM28) at Táo, a newly opened restaurant cum bar in Damansara Perdana that’s just over a month old.

The interior at Táo includes a stage for live performances.
The interior at Táo includes a stage for live performances.

The interior at Táo includes a stage for live performances.

The rest of the menu is full of familiar Chinese dishes like sweet and sour pork and tomato egg, though most of these dishes come free of peculiar innovations.

Snacks comprise everything from nam yu pork belly to Hawaiian baby squid, and there’s also a list of cocktails, 13 strong.

Like many other restaurant/bar concepts, Táo seems unable to decide whether it is more of a restaurant or bar, but unlike their peers, the level of care taken with the food sets it apart from the rest.

Choy Bo and Minced Meat Beancurd (RM22) can be found in pretty much every Chinese restaurant or dai chow you go to, consisting simply of preserved radish, fried minced pork and a log of beancurd that’s fried till the outside is slightly crispy.

Choy Bo and Minced Pork with Beancurd is a very common dish, but at Táo they take great care to do it well.
Choy Bo and Minced Pork with Beancurd is a very common dish, but at Táo they take great care to do it well.

Choy Bo and Minced Pork with Beancurd is a very common dish, but at Táo they take great care to do it well.

Here, the minced pork is more than adequately caramelised, bordering on crisped up and the beancurd still retains a soft and smooth texture inside.

Perhaps most crucially, they don’t skimp on the amount of chopped preserved radish, which imparted plenty of crunch. The radish also presents with plenty of sweet and salty notes, which are reinforced by the seasoned soy sauce at the bottom of the plate.

What can I say? I like it when a place does comforting staples extremely well.

Even a seemingly routine dish of Dried Prawns and Cabbage (RM18) is taken seriously here.

Vegetables often feel like a formality in most Chinese meals, but they still do right by the simple stuff here, like this Dried Prawns and Cabbage.
Vegetables often feel like a formality in most Chinese meals, but they still do right by the simple stuff here, like this Dried Prawns and Cabbage.

Vegetables often feel like a formality in most Chinese meals, but they still do right by the simple stuff here, like this Dried Prawns and Cabbage.

Slivers of crunchy, slightly sweet cabbage are boosted by plenty of crunchy and savoury bits of dried shrimp.

Remember kids, eat your greens — though I suppose if you’re at a bar you either took that advice long ago or are a terribly constipated individual.

Classics dominate the list of the cocktails, and there’s also a selection of shooters with funky names that sound destined to turn your night into a rowdier affair.

If it’s a crisp and refreshing drink you’re after, go for the White Lady (RM35) like I did — in my opinion, sticking with something acidic and crisp is best practice when pairing with Chinese food.

Look for the dark storefront to get to Táo.
Look for the dark storefront to get to Táo.

Look for the dark storefront to get to Táo.

Táo Restaurant and Bar

46-1, Jalan PJU 8/5b, Damansara Perdana, Petaling Jaya

Open daily, 11am-1am

Tel: 012-222 2668

Instagram: @tao_restaurantbar

Facebook: @TAOrestaurantbar.my

*This is an independent review where the writer paid for the meal.

*Follow us on Instagram @eatdrinkmm for more food gems.