Great news for foodies, Malai Kitchen (pronounced Muh-lie) will open Tuesday in Preston Center, 20 months after the space’s last tenant, Bartaco, closed its doors.
The renovated space includes a gorgeous bar and patio that can be opened for chamber of commerce days like today and climatized to allow seating year-round too. The casual but refined atmosphere features beautifully prepared and served Southeast Asian cuisine.
Husband and wife team Yasmin and Braden Wages own and operate the concept which now has four locations. “When we came up with the idea for Malai,” says Yasmin, “our first creative meeting with our mentors was held at Kent Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen. Opening in that same space 11 years later really brings our story full circle. We are truly humbled to have the opportunity to share Malai Kitchen with this neighborhood and are thrilled to join the community.”
And we are thrilled to have you, Yasmin. The restaurant will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and will serve weekend brunch. Some standout items on the lunch and dinner menu include the Iron Pot Green Curry Chicken – scratch made green curry stew with chicken, Thai eggplant, crispy carrots, and choice of jasmine rice, brown rice, or rice noodles on the side; Vietnamese “Meatballs” (Xiu Mai) – 4 “bun cha style” pork patties, char-grilled, and served with bibb lettuce, Vietnamese herbs and nuoc mam; Thai Tacos (my fave) that are available three crispy wonton shells stuffed with seared pulled pork or seared shrimp, topped with pickled bean sprouts; and Lemongrass Chicken (Ga Xao Sa) – stir-fried chicken breast with ginger and cherry tomatoes in a lemongrass caramel sauce, served alongside seasoned jasmine rice and topped with pickled bean sprouts. Yum.
Weekend brunch is offered Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The menu features traditional Thai breakfast dishes as well as familiar items with a Southeast Asian twist such as Thai Eggs Benedict – scratch coconut biscuits piled high with shrimp, spinach, Thai basil, poached eggs, and Thai chili hollandaise served with cheesy rice grits and seasonal fruit. More ethnic options Congee with Chicken and Egg – slow-cooked rice porridge with pulled chicken, soft poached egg and sliced crispy bread topped with slivered ginger, green onions, cilantro and sesame oil; and Vietnamese Soup – a traditional Hanoi Style breakfast designed to cleanse and rejuvenate (meaning it helps with hangovers), this savory soup has a rich chicken or beef broth, fresh rice noodles, topped with hydroponic bean sprouts and green onions, served with a plate of fresh herbs, hoisin, and lime. I’m so excited about this menu.
Malai Kitchen’s commitment to quality does not end with the food. The Wages’ put just as much love and passion into their beverage program by offering six house-brewed Asian-style beers on tap, a thoughtfully curated wine list that includes 16 wines by the glass and unique signature cocktails integrating the flavors and fresh ingredients from the kitchen.
Co-owner Yasmin Wages says, “We have our own nano-brewery at our Southlake location where we create unique and delicious beers that complement our cooking style and cuisine. We are constantly inspired by the ingredients used in the kitchen and often incorporate them into our craft brews.”
The beer selection offered includes Bia Hoi, a Vietnamese style lager (and the whole reason behind the brewery), ThaiPA, a classic IPA brewed with ingredients from our kitchen, Belgian wheat beer, hazy IPA, American porter and a rotating seasonal beer. Guests can try a few at a time with the house brew flight that comes with your choice of three beers.
Signature cocktails are available such as the Malaysian Martini – Brugal rum, Goslings dark rum, Aperol, pineapple, passion fruit, lime, mint; Lemongrass Fizz – Hangar One Citron, St. Germaine, lemongrass syrup, sparkling wine; Jalapeño Basil Margarita – jalapeño-infused Malai’s Maestro Dobel tequila, lime, agave, tamarind, basil, Hawaiian black lava salt rim; and Mekong Mule – Hangar One vodka, ginger beer, cucumber, mint, lime, and Thai basil.
Reservations for Malai Kitchen Preston Center can be made on its website, www.malaikitchen.com or by calling (972)373-4434 . Malai Kitchen is not on reservation platforms OpenTable or Resy.