Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Merlin Restaurant, Muar

Merlin Restaurant is reputedly the restaurant that made popular the dish that has now become synonymous with Muar : Assam Fish. So it was the logical choice to visit, although I did have some good recommendations from Robo (check out his excellent J-Travel blog) and my colleague Adrian, who hails from Muar.

We arrived at noon and headed straight to Merlin for lunch. It was not crowded when we got there but it was soon full by 12.30. As we walked in, we were shown the direction of the kitchen, which we found a little unusual. But once you you reach the kitchen, reason becomes clear - you have to make your choice from a refrigerated tray displaying the fresh fish and seafood available. I had to have the fish and I also selected some prawns, squid, small clams, petai and eggs. Everything was weighed carefully so you only pay for what is selected. This is end result:-
Assam fish
With fish so fresh, you can't go wrong with this dish. The gravy makes a very light and slightly sour base for the fish. It is not as hot and sour as the Malay or Nyonya versions but it highlights the freshness of the fish. I ended up scooping the gravy like a sour soup.
Verdict : Very good
Deep fried 'dragon's tongue' fish
I was told that this is a fish that is unique to this area. It's a pretty thin fish so deep frying makes the whole fish crunchy, including the bones. The fish was tasty but it would have been great with some sambal belacan.
Verdict : Good
Stir fried prawns and squids with sambal petai
Fresh prawns and squids with some petai - a great combination. The sambal was not too hot and quite tasty.
Verdict : Very good
Fried egg with oysters (oh chien)
Actually the oh chien looked like an regular omelet. The oysters were medium sized and fresh. Taste wise it was good but not really outstanding. 
Verdict : Good

We could not try the Muar otak-otak as there only 2 of us (with Jeremy) and the 4 dishes were already a challenge for us. This was the first Chinese restaurant where I discarded the cutlery and ate with my fingers. The food actually as a heavy Malay influence so it was only natural to eat with my fingers. Great taste too. The damage was RM40.90 (RM37.25 for the ingredients according to the detailed itemized bill provided). Great value in my opinion.

Location : No 90 Lorong Dua, Taman Orkid, 84000 Muar
Contact : 012-6385149

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