I was fortunate enough to be one of the lucky group of people who were invited to the preview of Malai last month (it helps to know the right people!). I was not only delighted to try a new place, but intrigued to see what was taking on the former Tom Tom space. (If you remember, they ran into a little, shall we say, fiscal problem.)
Upon rounding the corner, I immediately noticed that they gave the facade a colorful facelift complete with inverted umbrellas (see picture on right). Dark beams were replaced with white ones and covering taken off for a more open-air feel.
Once inside, more surprises awaited. We had an assortment of drinks and all were as delicious as they were different. First I had the lemongrass fizz which was light and refreshing – the perfect drink for summer weather on their breezy patio. It had St. Germain in it but not so much to overtake the drink. I followed that up with a Vang Veing which is what I’d describe as a Moscow Mule meets mojito – another great patio drink. I had to stop there for fear of not being able to walk back to my friend’s place across the street.
We were also given tastes of some of their specialties including grilled satay, spring rolls, and drunken noodles. Everything was delicious and if we didn’t have to share with the other tables, my table would have eaten all of it ourselves.
I haven’t made it back just yet, but have every intention of multiple future visits.
Drink strength: 3.5
malaikitchen.com | @malaikitchen
3699 McKinney Ave #319 (West Village)
Monday-Friday | 5-7 p.m. | $5 specialty cocktails and spicy crispy wings.
Live music: Thursdays 6:30-9:30 p.m.