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Southlake Style

A Taste of the Exotic

Apr 06, 2016 09:37AM ● By Dia

You don’t need a passport to enjoy authentic Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. You don’t even need to go to Dallas—anymore. Braden and Yasmin Wages opened the Southlake location of their Vietnamese/Thai-inspired restaurant, Malai Kitchen, earlier this year, modeling it after their successful Uptown Dallas location. If a packed house is any indication, the Park Village eatery is living up to the buzz, serving tantalizing tastes from around the globe. 

Everything at Malai Kitchen is the real deal. Even the srirachi and coconut milk are made from scratch in-house. That’s the only way the Wages will have it. Since they opened the original Malai Kitchen in 2011, they’ve been committed to capturing the intense, fresh and bright flavors of each region’s cuisine.

We visited at lunch and were whisked away to a comfortable booth. The space is chic and 

 upscale, with a relaxed, sophisticated vibe. The décor incorporates the Southeast Asian angle with plenty of warm, tropical woods and bamboo. Our meal began with a complimentary starter of sticky rice, which was wrapped in a banana leaf with a savory dipping sauce. It was gooey and sweet, and a good sign of the food to come. 

Next up to arrive at our table was the Malai Favorites Sampler. It’s served with two of each: Grilled Chicken Satay, Imperial Rolls, Spring Rolls and Vietnamese Meatballs. The fried Imperial Rolls had a satisfying crunch, and filled the palate with a rush of flavors. These won us over, but we were hungry for the main course. 

The menu is divided into specialties such as the Jungle Curry Hot Pot and Chilean Sea Bass, as well as classics like Lemongrass Chicken and Drunken Noodles. There are even menu items that are exclusive to the Park Village location. Dallasites aren’t feasting on the Panang Curry Duck; that’s something you can only get at the Southlake restaurant.

  We happened to enjoy the Khao Phat (Vegetable Jasmine Fried Rice). It was hard to spot the rice beneath a generous serving of wok-seared vegetables and giant, juicy shrimp. We loved every bite. The Pulled Pork Banh Mi was another favorite at our table. A Vietnamese baguette is loaded with pork, pickled carrots, daikon and cucumbers. This is fusion food at its best. Nothing fancy; just good.

Malai Kitchen’s drink menu doesn’t disappoint. You can sip beverages such as Vietnamese iced coffee, sake and Singapore Slings. The restaurant also has its own beer program, with five house-brewed, Asian-style beers on tap.

There’s no doubt about it: A visit to Malai Kitchen will transport your taste buds and satisfy your craving for something new and original. Bring your appetite and your sense of adventure, and enjoy the ride.

Malai Kitchen 1161 E. Southlake Blvd.