Phyllis Stein-Novack tries Center City’s newest Malaysian restaurant, Aqua and finds and original Malaysian eggplant in a shrimp paste sauce as well as something for the shrimp lover.

If you love shrimp, go for the coconut jumbo prawns ($20.95). Remember how this dish was all the rage at catered affairs and cocktail parties during the ’80s and ’90s? These were totally different — and addictive. Good-sized shrimp were coated in a batter of melted butter and tapioca, fried and placed atop a large iceberg lettuce leaf filled with strands of coconut and basil leaves. Although we found them a little greasy, they were superb and I liked the fried coconut. Its natural sweetness married beautifully with the hint of salt and spice. The basil offered a fine contrast in taste.

Two-and-a-half tips of the toque to Aqua.

Aqua [South Philly Review]