Restaurant Review: Belacan Grill
Restaurant Review: Belacan Grill
Driving into the parking lot of the Enderle Shopping Center in North Tustin to burn up a soon-expiring coupon at El Torito, I saw a sign for a Malaysian restaurant. “Oh, Honey! Look, a Malaysian restaurant. When did that open up?” We were so curious about the place, we went back for lunch the next day. The place is the Belacan Grill, located next to the Zov’s Bakery (aka, the backside of Zov’s) in Tustin, and they have been open since November.
When we arrived, we were not sure if the restaurant was open, but sure enough, it was. The Grill is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. We were greeted by a cheerful young woman at the hostess station (the same one that appears on their website) and were immediately seated in a bright corner of the dining room.
Our waiter approached, welcomed us, and asked if we had ever been to Belacan Grill before. Upon hearing, “no,” he provided us with a digital photo frame displaying pictures of the various dishes offered. After ordering a couple of Tiger beers, we decided on the satay tofu for an appetizer. Shortly thereafter, four pockets of fried tofu stuffed with matchsticks of jicama and cucumber topped with a chunky and mildly spicy satay sauce arrived. Foregoing chopsticks, we considered these finger foods, and the tablecloth was safer for it. The pockets were a nice combination of soft and crunchy, sweet and spice. They were a perfect way to start the meal.
Next up were the entrees. The waiter recommended the Nasi Lemak (pictured above and to the right) to my husband, and I chose the Mamak Mee Goreng (pictured above and the left) from the digital pictures. The Nasi Lemak is steamed rice with coconut milk and screwpine (pandan) leaves served with anchovies, boiled egg, cucumber, vegetables, roasted peanuts and beef rendang. My husband gobbled it up. I took a taste of the beef rendang and would definitely consider ordering it in the future. The Mamak Mee Goreng consisted of Indian-style stir-fried yellow egg noodles with chicken, shrimp, bean sprouts, tofu, tomato, and eggs in a spicy tamarind sauce. This, too, was excellent. The crisp bean sprouts helped offset the mild spice of the tamarind sauce. I would order it again.
I didn’t find any of the food too spicy; in fact, it was barely spicy at all. I do not know whether this was due to the chef holding back for the newbies, or if it was simply because the waiter did not ask us how spicy we wanted our food. We were offered some additional chili paste as a side, which we gladly accepted. Next time, I would be inclined to volunteer for the wait staff that I would like a dish prepared medium spicy, rather than leaving them to guess. This, however, was my only complaint with the food or service. It was a delightful and different meal. How did it compare to authentic Malaysian? I have no idea, having never eaten Malaysian food before, but it closely resembled the food I ate in Indonesia while I was there. In any event, authentic or not, the food was quite good. I would highly recommend Belacan Grill for a casual lunch or dinner.Belacan Grill 17460 17th Street Tustin, CA 92780 (714) 505-9908 www.belacangrill.com –> Leave a comment