Yella Fork

Special thanks to Yella Fork for extending this food review invitation.

Crikey! Is this an Australian restaurant? Assuming an unassuming spot along Chow Thye Road, Yella Fork has been serving Australian-inspired Asian cuisine for around one year now. Taking the helm at the kitchen is a pair of sibling chefs: Raymond with 8 years culinary experience in the local arena, and Julian who stumbled upon the kitchen and the toque while backpacking in Melbourne for 4 years.
The dining section of Yella Fork is designed from scratch with little outside help. This includes the wooden tables, drinks counter, wall mural and even down to individual pillows. There are also several outdoor dining tables for customers who prefer the natural breeze outside.
Yella Fork takes pride of its heavy Australian culture. Many dishes have quirky names that are only understood by those familiar with Aussie lingo. Over the months, regular customers have helped the kitchen to fine-tune its recipe. In acknowledgement, the names of several dishes pay homage to their "inventors". Indeed, it is Yella Fork's philosophy to connect with customers on a more personal level.
To keep its culinary offering up-to-date, Yella Fork is rolling out a new menu starting January 2016. Many popular dishes still make the cut, but they will be joined with new ones that were popularized by regulars. Like before, all ingredients used in the kitchen are made fresh. For instance, sauces are made by simmering fresh vegetables. Absolutely no MSG and artificial preservatives are used.
Our meal starts with a salad appetizer, Grilled Romaine With Pork (RM15.00). Lightly grilled romaine lettuce, chopped onions, cherry tomatoes, scallion and pork bacon are tossed in lemon pepper mayonnaise dressing. Of particular highlight are the lovely pieces of roasted pork belly, crispy and scrumptious to every bite. Taking inspiration from the local "sio bak" (烧肉), the homemade pork belly is the fastest-moving ingredient in the kitchen. How fast, you ask? Let's say it is not uncommon to deplete 7 kilograms of roasted pork belly in a single day!
By far, the bestselling dish at Yella Fork is Fusion Sensation (RM11.00). Spaghetti is stir-fried à la al dente with Thai-inspired signature sauce. Perfected by Julian after months of rigorous experimentation, the sauce manifests itself as sweet-tangy sensation, with another layer of fiery spiciness which is not too intense to a degree that burns.
This dish goes well with added roasted pork belly (RM6.00). This unique sauce was originally meant for Sawadee Melbourne, a fried rice dish using Australian striploin beef slices. However as many patrons do not consume beef, the Fusion Sensation has an unexpected sensation. I highly recommend this dish to any self-respecting foodie enthusiast.

Pie In The Sky (RM21.00) was the original signature dish when Yella Fork started, until it was surpassed by Fusion Sensation. Nevertheless, this two-crust meat pie is not something to be trifled with. This dish derives its name from a popular meat pie brand in Melbourne.
The sensation of biting through the full puff pastry is gratifying indeed. As for the filling, the pie is loaded with diced chicken, fresh mushrooms and thyme in thick creamy gravy. Giving two cents of my opinion, I feel that some peas and carrots can provide more balanced taste.
On the side is garden salad with honey balsamic sauce and a separate cup of tomato chutney.

Moving on to red meats, Lambo Racko (RM35.00) features a hearty rack of Australian-raised lamb. Grilled to medium, the pinkish meat retains most of its delectable jus. The rack of lamb is dressed with salsa verde, which contains coriander and mint for refreshing breath. I personally feel that it is better to cut back the amount of salt. Apart from this, I am highly satisfied with how the lamb was cooked.
On the side of the lamb rack are grilled lettuce leaves, onions, cherry tomatoes and mashed potatoes. I think using baked potatoes in lieu of the latter can give an extra dimension of appeal. Even better, try baked sweet potatoes too! In any case, the portion of this dish is indeed Aussie portion, which is significantly larger than what locals used to have.
The next dish, Jamaican Me Fish (RM23.00), is inspired by Indochinese spices. At the center stage is a piece of Australian jade perch, a freshwater fish with delightful natural sweetness. The fish is simmered in double-boiled tomato gravy which complements well with the fish.
On the side is a heap of turmeric-flavored rice, topped with grilled bell peppers and carrot. I appreciate the use of vegetables to impart sweetness onto the rice. In addition, I think it is sensible to add some nuts or raisins to the rice, as the rice is somewhat lacking in mouthfeel.
Moving on to desserts, Yella Panna Cotta (RM15.00) is served chilled in a small glass. The milk custard is covered by a layer of passion fruit jelly in order to seal in the moisture of custard. At the very top are grated oranges to impart the lovely citrus scent. This dessert is reasonably pleasant but I prefer the consistency to be creamier. As this dessert takes over 30 minutes to prepare, it is highly advisable to place your order upfront.
The Cinnamon Apple Affogato (RM15.00) features a shot of strong espresso, two scoops of vanilla ice cream and several slices of cinnamon apple. Personally, affogato is generally not my cup of tea. It is not that I dislike affogato; I just cannot see how ice cream and coffee complement each other.
As for drinks, Yella Fork acknowledges the Australian passion for good coffee, but also takes creative license with several unorthodox ingredients. One example is the Malibu Mocha (RM14.00), which is made from cinnamon powder, orange and coconut milk. The beverage is smooth and pleasurable as it trickles down the throat. The presence of coconut milk certainly gives a different sensation from regular mocha.
Frizzy Lemonade (RM11.00) is a carbonated drink with added Curaçao, a type of blue-colored liqueur. Lemonade provides subtle tanginess, but I think soda plays a bigger role in the overall taste. Although no sugar is used, I feel that a hint of honey can make this drink more agreeable.
Moving on to Minty Cafe Latté (RM11.00), steamed milk takes the spotlight in this hot coffee beverage. Dried cranberries and mint leaves provide an added twist to this drink. In my opinion, I prefer mint to play a more prominent role. Going off a tangent, I really like the Aussie-style Flat White, so I am looking forward to trying this drink next time.
During Christmas season, Yella Fork is rolling out its seasonal barbecue buffet in conjunction with its 1-year anniversary. There will be various grilled meats and vegetables to pacify the appetite of hungry mouths. According to Julian, there are various ingredients on, above and under the glowing charcoal. The staff takes care of the grills, so no need to worry about getting your fingers greasy. The buffet is nearly fully booked, so make a reservation upfront to avoid disappointment.
Name: Yella Fork
Address: 27A, Jalan Chow Thye, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-228-8910
Business hours: 11:30am-3:30pm, 6:30pm-10:00pm (Tuesday-Thursday), 12:00pm-4:00pm, 6:30pm-10:30pm (Friday-Sunday), closed on Mondays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/Yella-Fork-1513703402212241
Coordinates: 5.42504 N, 100.32118 E
Directions: From Burmah Road (Jalan Burma), turn right to Service Road (Jalan Servis), then right again at Irrawaddy Road (Jalan Irrawadi). At the next crossroad, turn right again to Chow Thye Road (Jalan Chow Thye). Yella Fork is one of the shops on the left. Street parking is available further down the road.

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