Malai Kitchen, a Bruncher’s Paradise

by Steven Doyle

Patio season is officially full on after the devastatingly hot and dry summer. The pooches are leading their sexy owners by the string past the cabanas that are playing soothing street music as cars bustle by to find a spot of their very own.

This is high season for brunch and none is sexier than the digs at Malai Kitchen, the fresh-faced Thai-Vietnamese  kitchen in the West Village compound off McKinney.

There you will find the restaurant prodigies and husband and wife team of Yasmin and Braden Wages busily running about tending to details. Details that we found amazing during our happy brunch time at Malai this past weekend.    

In the evening the Wages throw down hot plates of Panang curried duck and brightly lit spring rolls, but for brunch they share their versions of typical Sunday morning fare such as their Thai Eggs Benedict or  Congee with Chicken and Egg, the most common breakfast item in the world, this slow-cooked rice porridge is finished with pulled chicken, soft poached egg and sliced crispy bread topped with slivered ginger, green onions, cilantro, and sesame oil.

The cute couple formerly worked at other Dallas area restaurants, but were able to manage a stroke of luck winning a scholarship that took them to the far East, and a stroke of genius, taking over the fledgling Tom Tom space in West Village.

The space is only part of the love found at Malai Kitchen. The passing trolley cars ring with approval as we tasted the stout, freshly juiced cocktails. Lovingly made Pomelo Mojitos and tart Kaffir Lime Collins are the tall order of the day. The cocktails are cooling and take you to the languid spot as a point of refuge from the previous evening’s wrong-doings.  Makes sense when you know they were inspired by Jason Kasmos.

Our brunch orders arrive with not a moment to spare. The Thai Eggs Benedict disappoint with the eggs cooked just moments too long, rendering them dry. Obvious to our waiter who spied the lack of ooze from afar, and within moments he snatched up the platter only to return with a perfected version in mere moments.

The delicious coconut biscuits, shrimp, Thai chili hollandaise served along side cheesy rice grits touched with a bit of Thai basil pesto were exactly what I would expect from Malai.  This type of service and attention makes the small gathering smile with approval, and it helped that the food was spot on.

All the dishes we tried that morning have our blessing. Especially the out of character burger that is made with both beef and pork and topped with a fresh herbed salad on a toasted bun. I implore the Wages to at least consider this burger for lunch as it is currently relegated only to Sundays.

Completely filled and happy we almost make off without a sweet-ending, but our waiter insisted we try the house-made coconut cream pie. Not much arm-twisting in this crowd. The bruleed meringue topping nestled fast to the creamy coconut custard center held steady by a all-coconut crust, proving this to be one of the very best pies in Dallas.

The shared slice went quickly with some taking faster bites in order to dominate the pie. It’s understanding.

The meal succeeded in making us all smile, and we all parted in our varied directions to brunch again another day.

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Filed under Bacon, Brunch, chefs, Cocktails, Food Porn Alert, Steven Doyle

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