I OFTEN find it hard to get excited about dessert, especially when eating Asian food.
Perhaps it’s because I am tend to gorge on starters and mains, and the array of delicious side orders on offer in most Thai restaurants.
But Malagor made me realise my mistake.
So rather than start this review in the traditional fashion, we’re going to switch it on its head to make sure you don’t make a similar mistake.
Wrongly assuming the dessert platter, priced at £12.95, would offer a small taste of the favourites on offer, we were surprised when a mammoth tray of treats arrived.
Immediately fearing for our waistlines, we tucked in.
Like the other food we’d sampled throughout the evening, which I will go on to, the dessert platter was as much a feast for the eyes as the tastebuds. Beautifully presented, I was drawn first to the mango pudding, a light but zingy concoction of various fruits, similar in consistency to a creme caramel, topped with a homemade lemongrass ice cream. After a heavy dinner, it was just what I needed. The tiny chunks of kiwi and melon mixed up the flavours and made it an interesting eat.
My dining partner headed straight to the Pandan pancake, a green pancake stuffed with a similarly-hued green custard. I have to admit I wasn’t a fan, but he happily polished it off.
Next came the lime pannacotta. Usually a firm favourite of mine, it was tasty but could have used a little more zest. Those with room to spare should try the chocolate brownie, which was a real treat, covered in butter caramel, nuts and ganache. Very tasty but heavy.
Considering the desserts average in price at around £4.95, the platter is great value for money, if a little much for two, and could easily satisfy a table of four.
Malagor has become a firm favourite on the Wakefield dining scene, especially with the recent closure of Amala Thai in the city centre, and just minutes from junction 40 of the M1 and with plenty of free parking, it’s easily accessible from Leeds for those looking to try something new.
The restaurant itself is big and bright, with bright hand-painted murals on the lower section of the restaurant. Despite only ringing for a table an hour before we arrived, we were seated straight away. It was surprisingly busy for a mid-week evening, and unfortunately that seemed to be reflected in the service, which while attentive and pleasant, was a little slow.
As well as the a la carte menu, there are a number of banquets to choose from, but we decided to go down the traditional route.
There was a large selection of appetisers, soups and salads, including sharing platters. The menu, like the restaurant itself, had many personal touches, for example with the Naree Sai Oua, homemade spicy sausages to Auntie Naree’s family recipe. Torn between the Tod Mun Phak Tong (£4.50), a deep friend pumpkin cake, and the Taley Chub Pang Tod, deep fried king prawns and squid with a sweet chilli sauce (£6.50), I decided to go for the latter. My dining partner had no such difficulty choosing, and immediately selected Poo Nim Chup Pang Tod (£7.50), deep fried soft shell crab in light red curry batter. We had rather a long wait for the starters, around half an hour, but were kept busy snacking on some complimentary Thai crackers.
When the starters did arrive they looked a treat. Served on wooden trays, they were beautifully garnished with bright salads. My prawns and squid rings were large and juicy, but I was a little disappointed that the batter didn’t have a kick to it. While the sweet chili dip was nice, it could have been more special.
The crab though, was very tasty. A regular selection for my dining partner in Japanese restaurants, it was the first time he, and I, had tasted a Thai version, and we were both pleasantly surprised. Definitely one to try again on a return trip.
The gap between our starters and mains was not quite as long, but left enough time to order more drinks.
There was a lot of choice when it came to selection our mains, with seven curries, including your traditional options of red, green and Massaman, with a few I’d not heard of before. The Panang Ka Gee, slowly cooked lamb shank in creamy coconut sauce with steamed vegetables and pumpkin, sounded tempting, but I went for the Ped Makarm, roasted duck breast with tamarind sauce topped with fried shallots, peppers, cashew nuts, chilli and pak choi (£13.95), along with steamed jasmine rice (£2.50). It looked wonderful, with the duck skin crispy and the sauce thick and sticky. It was cooked beautifully, and just right, as duck can so often be incinerated. The tamarind sauce was sweet but not overly, and the pak choi added colour.
My dining partner went for a curry, a chicken Gang Kua from South Thailand that the menu warned of its spiciness. Thick and creamy, it was very nice, and not overly spicy. At £8.95 it was priced very reasonably, as the portion was large and the flavours plentiful. He went for sticky rice (£2.95) and a side order of mushrooms in garlic and soy, which were beautiful (£4.50).
Over all the meal was fresh and tasty and beautifully presented. The atmosphere in the restaurant was relaxed and happy, and even though we had to wait for our food a little longer than we might have expected, it certainly didn’t grate, and it seems like a good venue for a bigger party.
The bill, including two glasses of wine, two soft drinks and liqueur coffees, came in at just over £85, which seemed fair. Definitely worth a trip down the M1.
FACTFILE Address: Queens Drive, Ossett, WF5 0NH
Tel: 01924 416990
Opening times: Mon-Tues 5pm-10pm, Wed-Thurs noon-3pm, 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat noon-3pm, 5pm-11pm, Sun noon-10pm.