Nestled in Te Tuhi Gallery in Pakuranga, Small Fry café recently opened its doors to a receptive public. Australian-born owner Ruby Chang-Jet White readily admits she draws her food inspiration from her Malaysian-Chinese mother. The titles of the dishes on offer reiterate a fusion of flavoursome Malaysian cuisine with a sprinkle of western influence.
The Singaporean breakfast that consists of kaya toast served with onsen eggs that have been cooked at 60 degrees over a set period of time to offer perfectly gooey yolk. The kaya flavour is sweet as well as pleasantly coconutty.
With four sambos on offer, the beef ribs were the flavour of the day. The freshly baked sourdough roll was stacked with pickles, coriander and some surprisingly complementary sliced carrot that infused beautifully with the sumac yoghurt.
The final dish on show was the popular Sarawak-style laksa with chicken and shrimp. With less coconut milk than a usual laksa results in a lighter, summery tasting meal that is balanced by aromatic herbs with only a dash of spice. For those who need spice in their curry dishes, don't be put off as you will be missing out on a great dish filled with traditional Malaysian noodles.
All the food is artistically presented on White's other passion; handmade ceramics that she makes under the pseudonym Miss Changy. Having studied at Auckland's Elam School of Fine Arts her eye for decorating extends to the café space which has been artfully exemplified with Scandinavian styled minimalist furniture that offer comfort and elegance. Her spin can be found on everything from the handmade noodles to the bowls you eat from, the chopsticks you eat with and the stools you sit on. It's a living, breathing, mouthwatering art project.
As Pakuranga is already overflowing with chains, Small Fry's originality and flavours will be a welcomed reprieve and should not be missed.
Image: Helen Mai