Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yut Loy @ Kuala Kangsar, Perak

(TJ is unable to review this place as thinking about it puts her cravings into a mad frenzy.)

K: As an old boy of MCKK, one of our hangouts during weekends was the Hainanese kopitiam Yut Loy. Our exclusive boys club was at the 1st floor of the restaurant, where only MCKK boys were allowed. The other lesser mortals would have to be satisfied with the ground floor.

The top item on the menu was definitely the pau. The pau was light and fluffy, with delightful fillings inside. There were kaya, red bean, beef and chicken fillings. There were other food of course, but the pau was the main draw. If you come during MCKK's Old Boys Weekend, you would have to order reaaaaal early (by phone if you can) because if you come and expect to get pau just like that, you are dreaming.

The paus are so good that they get the royal thumbs up from the Sultan of Perak!

However, there was one particular food that was actually really good and quite unique but I only discovered it after I left school.

Okay, I'm sure everyone had tried hainanese chicken chop and beef steak before, but the one thing that I am not sure many people have ever tried is egg steak. Yes, you read it right, egg steak!

The story goes that the MCKK boys were too broke to afford chicken chop or beef steak, so instead they ordered egg steak which is basically fried egg with gravy. It's the same gravy used for the beef steak and chicken chop, just poured on egg. The gravy is not your typical black pepper sauce but a brown sauce served with onions, peas and carrots.

Having said that, the beef steak and chicken chop is much better than the egg steak. But hey, if you want to try something unique, just give the egg steak a go!

Yut Loy
No 51, Jalan Kangsar
Kuala Kangsar
33000 Perak
T:  057766369

Price: $ - $$

(first pic courtesy of dammitlil)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mee Udang Mak Jah @ Taiping

When asked for makan spots in Taiping, K's friends enthusiastically nominated the famous Mee Udang Mak Jah at Kuala Sepetang aka Port Weld. We were warned that it tends to be rather hot to dine in this open air stall during the day, so we came at night instead.

Finding the place was an anti-climatic adventure as we couldn't find an address. Turns out there's really no need for one as it's facing the ONLY trunk road from Taiping. There are a lot of Mee Udang stalls along the road but we were told to ignore them and only go for Mak Jah.

The famous dish is actually called Mee Udang Banjir (literally translates to Flooded Prawn Noodles) and is not the same as chinese style prawn mee. I've never actually had Malay style prawn mee before but whoa, this is good stuff I can't believe I've been missing out all my life!

The biggest difference between the malay style and chinese is that the former's soup is thicker and more tangy, probably due to a tomato base. Add the slow burning spiciness balanced with sweetness and you've got a bowl good to the last drop. It's served with crunchy fried shallots and of course, a generous serving of fresh prawns from Kuala Sepetang.

The noodle dish comes in two versions; "biasa" (RM7) and "special" (RM11). The difference is the size of the prawns, the latter served with bigger prawns.

K: I had the Mee Goreng Udang Biasa (RM7). It's basically mee goreng basah with a generous serving of prawns. The mee goreng udang was good but having tasted TJ's mee udang I have to admit, mee udang is waaaay better than the mee goreng.

According to an article published on a local daily that hangs proudly on display, the restaurant exclusively uses fresh prawns from Kuala Sepetang. No prawns = no mee udang = close shop. Fuh, that's commitment!

Afterwards a friend of K's asked him if he tried the cucur udang which we didn't since we were already quite full after eating the noodles. K's friend said the cucur udang is a must have too. Ah well, next time then.

Mee Udang Mak Jah is a family run restaurant and one of her children opened an outlet in Klang Valley! Some critics say it is not as good as the original but we have no complaints upon our recent visit there. Having missed out on the cucur udang at Kuala Sepetang, we didn't want to miss out on them this time. Alas, the Wangsa Maju outlet does not serve cucur udang.

K had a chat with the cashier who turned out to be the wife of Mak Jah's younger son. She says it's not easy to prepare the cucur udang, which is why it's not available in KL. Apparently the cucur udang is prepared by Mak Jah's older son, who is running the original outlet in Kuala Sepetang. He was supposed to come over to KL and serve cucur udang at the outlet here which would mean no cucur udang at Kuala Sepetang, but since his kids are still in school, the idea was shelved.

K was quite astounded at this bit of news. Since when was cucur udang so complicated that only ONE PERSON in the entire family knows how to prepare it? Not even the younger brother can prepare it?

Wow!! This must be a helluva cucur udang!! SAYA MESTI PILIH!!!

Another trip to Kuala Sepetang beckons....

In short - Slurp slurp burp! Good food + generous portions + good price = Must makan

Mee Udang Mak Jah
Jalan Taiping-Kuala Sepetang
Kampung Menteri,
Kuala Sepetang, Taiping
Open from 11am to 10pm daily*
*closed on Wednesday


Mee Udang Mak Jah
No.22, Jalan Wangsa Delima 10,
Wangsa Maju (near Wangsa Walk)
Kuala Lumpur
Open from 11am to 10pm daily

Price - $

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Greentown Dim Sum Cafe @ Ipoh, Perak

TJ: I love chinese food. I grew up on chinese food. If you share this love, you'll understand my frustration on finding good, affordable chinese food. I know there's a lot of chinese muslim restaurants popping up in Klang Valley but, despite the rave reviews I hear from others, are just "meh" to me.

Yeah, yeah, my standards are too high I guess.

Most of the halal dim sums in Klang Valley tend to be either pricey or too cheap (cheap is not good when it tastes cheap aka inferior. You can find them at pasar malam. Blergh). On a recent makan trip to Perak, K & I stoppped at Ipoh to try halal dim sum at a reasonable-ish price (cos let's face it, dim sum isn't cheap lah).

The restaurant has a good spread of dim sums to select from, price ranging from RM3.20 to RM5.20.

BBQ Chicken Pau (left, RM3.60) has a soft, fluffy bun that wasn't over steamed (I hate wet pau, don't you?). The filling was smooth and sweet, but it can't beat Yut Loy's pau though! The Prawn Dumpling (centre, RM4.90) had a nice springy bite but was outshone by the succulent Chicken Siew Mai (right,RM3.60).

Under the fried dim sum category, we had the (top left panel) Fried Beancurd Roll (RM4.60), the Hive Yam Puffs (mid left panel, RM4.60), the Prosperity Chicken Ball (lower left panel, RM5.20) and Fried Radish Cake (right panel, RM4.20). The fried items were not greasy, so major points for that! 

The beancurd was nice, the yam puffs better and the chicken ball, which comes with a mysterious brown sauce dip, tastes like a dim sum karipap ayam. I personally didn't care for the latter but if you're adventurous and want something a little different...

Fried Radish Cake was the spiciest dish of the day and we were too full by then to truly appreciate it. It had a nice char and like their other fried items, was not greasy but too much taugeh for my liking.

I wanted the Chee Cheong Fun but alas, habis hari tu. I'll have to come back again some day and hope it'll be available! I must also make a note to try their porridges.

For dessert, we had the Egg Tarts (RM4.20) which would've been better had the buttery crust been thinner.

The Greentown Milk Tea (RM3.80) is a must order on the menu. The light layer tea is not too sweet and has a distinct but not overpowering pandan flavour. The addition of fragrant pandan makes this drink a winner! The Sea Coconut and Longan (RM2.70) was good but couldn't stand up to the outstanding Milk Tea.

In short: Definitely worth a visit for dim sum lovers.

Greentown Dim Sum Cafe
No 10, Persiaran Greentown 4,
Greentown Avenue, 30450 Ipoh,
Perak, Malaysia.
Price range - $-$$
Halal - certified lagi

Thursday, August 16, 2012

BOB Roti Canai Kari Gearbox @ Jalan Kuala Krai, Kota Bharu

Somewhere on 10km of Jalan Kuala Krai in Wakaf Che Yeh, is a little run down shop selling Roti Canai. It opens only at night, so you probably would miss this place driving during the day. In fact, it's a little hard to find even when open! It doesn't stand out, it doesn't have a crazy crowd. 

But what it does have is a seriously wicked Kari Gearbox aka Bone Marrow Curry.

A good malay roti canai tastes slightly different from mamak as it tends to be more flaky, less chewy. This is an example of a good malay roti canai. Crispy but still soft, I could eat this on it's own but who would want to when there's Kari Gearbox?

This being malay and from the east coast, the thick curry tastes more sweet and spicy but lip smackingly good. Most bone marrow dishes have very little meat on the bone but there was enough tender morsels on this one to pick off. Deelish

And of course, the best part is the marrow. Whoo. Do grab a straw and suck that precious stuff out!

Caution - this meal is not for those with cholesterol problems. Or for small stomachs. One of these bad boys could feed an army. OK, I exaggerate but it's a HUGE serving best shared. Our group of six pax had made the mistake of specifically ordering the Biggest, Meatiest Hunk of Chunk to which the shop dutifully served. Thank goodness we cancelled from having one each to just one to share.

As stated, this place is a little hard to find even though it's facing the main road as there's no big restaurant signage, just a little sign in front of the tiny stall. Just drive on Jalan Kuala Krai heading towards Wakaf Che Yeh, the nearest landmark is the Kraftangan Malaysia Kelantan branch on km 10. 

In short - Perggghhhhh best curry OMNOMNOMNOM.

Bob Roti Canai
Somewhere on KM10 Jalan Kuala Krai
15050 Kota Bharu
Price - $-$$ (depends on the bone size mah. still worth it.)

Opens at night only

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On The Table @ Solaris Dutamas

Mother's Day was coming up and we were racking our brains on where to take my grandma for makan. She's big on ambiance for special occasions and of course, food must be good too. At my sister's suggestion, we decided to try On The Table at Solaris Dutamas.

The restaurant is headed by Chef Riz Redz aka anak Chef Wan aka that Masterchef Malaysia judge wearing the ridiculous cravat. Not that he was in that day, maybe out celebrating Mother's Day. With such a BNC (Big Name Chef) the restaurant oughta be really, really, really good right?


It started off well, with two complimentary amuse bouche; cream of pea soup and teriyaki wild mushrooms. Apparently it's a "teaser" for their ever rotating menu. The soup tastes home made and the mushrooms had a nice bite.

Heard good reviews about the Cappuccino of Wild Mushrooms Soup (RM23) and yes, it is justified. It has a wonderful presentation and again, the soup tastes home made and served with a generous portion of meaty sautéed mushrooms. However, the taste of the foam was a little too subtle to me and so was the truffle oil.

The biggest disappointment came from the main courses. TJ had the Redz Heat BLT (RM23) while K opted for the highly recommended RFC (RM38).

note the offensive turkey jerky
between the onions and bacon
Like all gourmet burgers, the Redz Heat was monstrously thick with juicy patty, beef bacon, turkey bacon, melted cheese, caramelized onions, tomato and salad. It looked good on paper and in the flesh but it was so difficult to eat

The turkey bacon, served as a large slice, was very chewy and impossible to cut with a knife and and hard to bite off as well. Therefore you won't be able to taste all the components together. Ended up eating as a separate piece, which was a salty turkey jerky. The caramelized onions were nice but I would've like more than just a spoonful as there wasn't enough to make an impact.

The RFC came with 3 pieces of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and a small salad. The biggest problem was everything tasted underseasoned. The chicken was crispy and juicy, the mashed potatoes smooth and creamy, but ultimately lacked salt. The salad, which was pickled, was not to our liking either as it was too vinegary for our tastebuds.
(apologies for the lack of photo for this dish, there's a html bug)

Dessert was the saving grace. We opted for the Chef's Dessert plate (RM45) which consists of a duo of creme brulee (choc & vanilla), panna cotta topped with dragon fruit and hot chocolate fondant served with vanilla ice cream. The chocolate fondant was fresh and hot from the oven albeit (intentionally?) on the gooey-er side, but I've had fondants just as good and with a bigger portion for roughly the same price at Yogitree, Gardens.

In short - Good service, lovely atmosphere but the food's pricey and sadly, the mains don't impress.

On The Table
 Mon - Sat: 11:00-15:00, 18:00-23:00
A4-UG 1-08, Solaris Dutamas,
Jalan Dutamas 1,
50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
03-6207 9966

Price Range - $$$

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Al Dente @ Precint 1, Putrajaya

Galleria has opened with very little fanfare. I honestly thought it was just another office block until one night, while driving by, saw that they had some sad buntings outside the building saying so-and-so shops/ restaurants were open.

Right at the front of the building is Al Dente, a restaurant affiliated to Pullman hotel that offers Italian and Malaysian cuisine. Warning - the prices reflect its affiliation to the hotel.

The menu looks pretty interesting; there's italian, there's Malaysian, and then there's the fusion for the adventurous. Spaghetti with peas and coconut cream? Pizza with sambal and quail eggs? Alas, we weren't feeling terribly adventurous that day, perhaps another time.

Fresh garlic bread, breadsticks and dips
The meal began with complimentary starters - yay! Who doesn't like free food, right? Crispy breadsticks and fresh herb and garlic bread with an array of dips. The fresh bread, actually more like plain pizza base, was a delight as it was fluffy and warm. Dips were olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sambal, curry mayonaise and coarsely crushed black olives in oil.

We tried the curry mayonaise with slight trepidation as it sounded kinda gross. But it was a surprising hit with us, mildly zesty but creamy with a slightly cheesy tang. The sambal was also another favorite, more savory than sweet and not too oily, which is how TJ prefers it.

Prawn Risotto

K had the Prawn Risotto (RM22) while TJ opted for the slightly less adventurous Spaghetti Bolognaise (RM22) instead. They didn't skimp on the prawns and the texture of the risotto was nice but a big letdown was the asparagus. K expected the asparagus to be crunchy. Alas, there were a few that were too chewy. It was impossible to eat them. Some might say, "Aiyaaah, a few asparagus only maaa. No big deal." No big deal if it's a roadside warung but for a hotel restaurant, unforgivable!

Spaghetti Bolognaise

TJ doesn't usually order Spaghetti Bolognaise in restaurants as she has impossibly high standards after a lifetime of being spoiled with her mom's cooking. Alas, mom's overseas and unable to make the spaghetti and TJ would rather not mati kempunan. Verdict - pretty good. The pasta, ironically, was not al dente but the tomato sauce was thick with browned ground beef. Still can't beat mom's cooking.

Ginger Creme Brulee
We were pretty excited for dessert as they have Ginger Creme Brulee (RM12), which was an intriguing combination for TJ the ginger lover. Sadly it didn't quite match our expectations. The custard was smooth and creamy but the ginger was too subtle, almost non-existent. But the biggest letdown was the lack of hard sugar top, which was either too thin or not under the flame long enough. What's a creme brulee without that hard layer to crack open? A disappointing end to an otherwise promising meal.

In short - Pricey but comes with excellent service in a tastefully simple modern environment, overall good food though a rather disappointing dessert.

Al Dente
Galleria Putrajaya (Next to KBS Building)
Ground Floor
Precint 4, Putrajaya
Opening hours 10am til 4PM (so come for lunch or tea)
Price - $$-$$$

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mr Kabab & Biryani @ Precint 15, Putrajaya

Putrajaya is not exactly a famous makan destination in Klang Valley, no?

If you're a fan of Biryani rice, then you should reconsider!

Located at the Diplomatic Precint (aka Precint 15) is probably the best restaurant in Putrajaya; Mr Kabab (yes, with an "a" instead of an "e") & Biryani. It started out small and now has taken 4 shop lots in just a few years.

The restaurant serves Middle Eastern-Pakistani cuisine, which is mostly (you guessed it) kebabs, mandi and biryani rice (about RM13 and up) and nan breads and tandoori chicken. Not the biggest menu in the world but what they lack in variety, they make up in taste.

Rice rice rice

K: The long-grained rice is fluffy and flavourful, the meats (chicken, lamb or kebab) so tender, it only needs a little bit of prodding to separate the flesh from the bone. The rice dishes are usually served with a lime, curry, tomato chutney and a large green cili (an optional bit of heat).

TJ: I find that mandi rice has a milder but rich taste compared to the more robust briyani.

Nan & Tandoori Chicken


Mr Kabab also makes fluffy nans (RM4 and up) that is served with dhall. I hate cold rubbery nan but Mr Kabab's nan tends to stay soft longer than most. My grandmother loves the nan, especially with the juicy tandoori chicken (RM7). I can eat the nan on it's own, mopping up the dhall clean.

Nina - The not runny dhall is full of big chickpeas and lentils. It tastes great and very flavourful without excessive sourness. TJ - On rare occasions, the dhall is too "fresh" meaning the chickpeas and lentils haven't been stewed long enough to soften.

K - For the drinks, a must have is the mango juice. Yes, mango juice, not mango lassi. It's thick, creamy & delicous. Yum yum!!

Mr Kabab is at a corner near the Putrajaya Immigration Office & Dewan Seroja, facing a park. It's about a few blocks opposite Mydin.

In short - good food, generous portions for a reasonable price. A must makan spot in Putrajaya.

Mr Kabab & Biryani
No.42,44,46, Jalan Diplomatik 3/1,
Precint 15
62050 Putrajaya
T: 03-8889 3209

Price - $-$$

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sao Nam Restaurant @ Empire, Subang

I miss the Little Vietnam and Codo restaurants in Midvalley as they were among the most affordable of its kind. I still curse the Barbie shop (which took over the place) under my breath whenever I pass it by. This brought me to start looking for another place to satisfy my Vietnamese cravings.

Sao Nam has been nominated multiple times as Best Indochinese Restaurant in KL by Time Out KL. Not only that, it's ranked no 18 for restaurants in KL on! The prices are higher than Little Vietnam and Codo, as it is touted to be fine Vietnamese cuisine in a casual setting. They have two outlets in Bukit Bintang and Empire Mall Subang, respectively.

I like the pop artish look of the restaurant btw. If you get bored, one can try count how many stars decorate the place. The menu is also pretty extensive and there are special dishes you'd have to pre-order first. I am intrigued with the mangosteen prawn although I'm sure it's going to be pricey. Since we just walked in, we didn't have that lah.

Imperial Rolls or Hue Spring Roll (RM18 for 6 pieces)

I've had Vietnamese spring rolls before, but this was my first crispy one. Sao Nam hand makes these wraps which, unlike the usual smooth rice wrapper, has a lacy pattern like our local roti jala.  Unfortunately, I think the wrap was just a smidge too thick for my liking.

K- Really? Too thick? I thought the wrap was just nice.

Inside the crispy exterior is a prawn and chicken filling. The spring roll is not complete without vietnamese dipping sauce that is sweet, sour, salty and spicy (using fish sauce, cili and garlic). Despite being deep fried, I didn't find this dish to be oily.

This is not quiet food for each bite gives out a crackle and crrrrrunch only slightly muffled when you wrap it in lettuce, thai basil and mint leaves. I had a bite sans leafy greens and I find that with is better as it gives a more refreshing and cooling (that's probably the mint) taste.

Texture wise, this was more interesting than the normal fresh spring roll, although I still prefer the latter. The portion was a little too much for 2 pax.

Chicken Curry Noodle Soup  or Bun Cari (RM`18)

K doesn't care for pho (GASP) so he tried this instead. As like most Vietnamese noodle dishes, it comes with a side of herbs and veggies of thai basil, taugeh, etc.

It's a sweeter, milder version of our curry mee, with a generous serving of chicken and not much else. That's right, no taufu pok, no kerang (blood clams) or fish balls, etc! The taste is so similar to curry mee that it is difficult, almost impossible, to not poke around the dish looking for those things. That nagging feeling of something missing is too hard to shake, which is a shame.

If you don't care for all those things, then this dish is for you. As for me, I'll just stick with Malaysian curry mee. The noodles were nice though, more mee sua than mee.

K- Agree. Too sweet for me, feels like sweetened kuah lemak rather than curry.

Red Noodle or Cao Lu (RM18)

I decided to be adventurous and skip my usual pho for another Imperial dish famous that is the speciality of Hoi An. The noodles (similar to hor fun) is served with minced chicken and prawns, sesame crackers, fried shallots, nuts and a smidgen of some fish sauce and oil (chicken fat? sesame?). It is served with the usual herbs too.

It also comes with a bowl of prawn soup, which you are to take after a bite of the noodles. The noodle dish was slightly salty with just a slight bitterness from the herbs and shallots, while the soup was sweet. It was a very interesting experience although I admit, I tend to forget to sip the soup.

The noodles were soft and alas, so were my crackers from the sauce. Darn, I was really hoping for more crunch from the crackers too. Oh well, nuts came to rescue. :) Overall, it's a very nice light dish and, despite the many raves for this dish, it can no way ruin my love affair with pho! Sorry, cao lu but pho is still my ichiban ^.^

K- The red noodle once mixed up, is not really that red. And strangely enough, the soup was okay the first time I tasted it but when I tasted it again, it was just too salty.

Note to self - forget being adventurous, eat pho next time.

Interesting fact - Cao Lu (or Cao Lau) is usually a non-halal dish. It normally consists of lean pork slices, and the sauce contains pork jus (omg I've been watching too much Top Chef!)

I have to admit that my expectations were high after reading the rave reviews. Did it meet it? Not quite. The food was good but not in the omg-I'm-still-dreaming-about-it-way. I'll definitely give it a try again, although not in the near future as it is rather pricey.

In short - Good food, nice decor and service. The menu is expansive and a wee bit expensive, the noodle dishes are the cheaper mains in the menu.

Sao Nam Restaurant
L28, Empire Shopping Gallery
Jalan SS16, 47500 Subang
Tel - 03 5022 2122/ 2123
(The website has recipes!)

Price Range - $$ - $$$
No pork served - booze sold

Edit July 2013 - Sao Nam at Empire has closed down. Their official website has not been updated either. Not sure when it happened as I don't go to Empire often but I've read that service went downhill there.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Awfully Chocolate @ Raffles City, Sg

I am a chocoholic (pinjam your tagline, J)

After seeing these little shops popping up in several areas in Singapore, and also catching it on tv, I could resist no more. Even before conversion, the prices are steep (as stated by my Sg cousin) but I just had to quell my curiosity. A shop called Awfully Chocolate? Is there such a thing as an awful amount of chocolate?

I first tried the rich chocolate cupcake (about sgd$5) a year ago and months later, asked K to buy the all chocolate cake (sgd$25-50) during a business trip.

They were awesome btw, especially the Moist Dark Chocolate cake. The cake, befitting its name, was indeed moist and very bittersweet like a good dark chocolate. This means a sliver alone can sate me, so we had the cake for a while. This is a good thing because:

1) it is hella expensive;
2) it is rich; and
3) it is in Singapore la wey.

So during my next Singapore trip, I made it a point to go to Awfully Chocolate again. This time I tried the Cold Poached Chocolate.

What exactly is Cold Poached Chocolate (about sgd$6 and up)? Heck, what is poach? I automatically think of eggs, to which I confess I've yet to poach one. Anyway, it seems like they came up with some new method to temper chocolate but instead of using heat, it's cold.

They have several flavours to choose from, mostly boozy though. Your non-alcoholic choices would be Horlicks and Salty Butterscotch (pictured). I had the latter.

This is seriously sinful stuff. I'm not kidding nor exaggerating. A cold slab of chocolate as soft and gooey as a chocolate truffle topped with a mountain of cream and a drizzle of salty butterscotch. 

A spoonful of this gave me a sugar shock.

 The cream was airy and light, a contrast to the dark and dense chocolate. The texture is like sex in your mouth. The salty butterscotch was nice but not memorable, perhaps because it drowned out by everything else or maybe there wasn't enough of it. After a while though, the chocolate orgasms subsided and was replaced with a hangover.

It was shared among 3 people but even then, it was a struggle as the muak factor is high. It is richer than the Sultan of Brunei and unlike the cakes, I found this to be sweeter than my liking.

I'm not saying this isn't sedap but the portion was too much for me to handle in one seating. I would have preferred this in a smaller dose, bite size perhaps.

Awfully Chocolate
Store locations
Price - $$-$$$
No pork served, but there's hidden booze eg cooking alcohol. Not certified halal by MUIS.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wadihana Islamic Trattoria @ Bangi

I was very apprehensive when I first saw this restaurant. Malay Italian food, in my experience so far, tend to be disappointing. The carbonara is always watery (I suspect from omitting egg), the tomato sauce too sweet, the pasta never al dente, etc.

It looks like I've finally found one that can get it right!

Bruschetta (RM7.90)

It didn't start off too promising though as the bruschetta was just alright. Toasted bread topped with chopped tomatoes, cheese and basil seemed to lack an oomph to it. I don't know, maybe more seasoning e.g cheese or salt?  Plus the tomatoes were a little cold instead of room temperature

Spaghetti Gamberi (29.90)

I actually wanted to try the ravioli, but alas, habis. Still wary about the idea of sampling another carbonara at a malay italian restaurant, I went for a dish cooked in olive oil instead.

I was initially disappointed when I got it as the dish promised prawns. So where is it? Ah rupanya ada udang di sebalik spaghetti. There were four fresh, big, juicy prawns hiding under the pasta when it should've been the highlight. Other than the misleading presentation, the pasta dish is good! The spaghetti was actually al dente, and the zucchinis still had bite. This dish was also seasoned with cili, a local twist maybe?

Calzone (RM26.90)

Again, this was a second choice as the chef's recommendation, the Pizza Pie, was also finished.

K - To me, the calzone looks like an oversized karipap as it's folded dough with stuffing inside. What's inside? Artichoke, zucchini, smoked beef, grilled vege, mushroom & mozzarella. And the taste? Not bad and unlike the giant karipaps you get at the pasar malam, the calzone is definitely stuffed and not hollow.

TJ - This dish btw, I think should be shared for 2 pax. This was nice but I confess, I'm not really into calzones and I would've liked more tomato base in it.

Cinnamon Creme Brulee (RM13.90)

K claimed he was too stuffed for dessert but I insisted and it turns out this was just nice for sharing. I like breaking into the caramelised crust to find creamy caramel beneath. It was served with some fruits, which gave acidity to a very creamy dessert. I found the fruits to be a little bit heavy on the lemon though.

The prices here are range from mid to pricey, on par with places like Italiannies and the like, which is kinda odd cos it's Bangi. My eyebrows admittedly did go up when I scanned the prices as it's unexpected for the location but given the quality of the food and service I can't complain much.

Wadihana Islamic Trattoria
25, Jalan Medan Pusat 2D
3B Curve Business Park
43650 Bandar Baru Bangi

Price - $$-$$$

Edit - May. A more recent visit to the restaurant has shown a bit of inconsistency in QC or they changed their spaghetti recipe. No veggies (boo) but loads more cili (oklah). The spaghetti pun tak al dente (sigh).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Restoran Indah Sayang, Taman Melaka Raya

Late afternoon at Indah Sayang
TJ - The odd thing about Melaka is that most of the restaurants (that I've seen anyway) don't have any signage saying it's halal or pork free or not halal. I've had to go into the restaurants and ask. This restaurant was recommended (while we were contemplating nak masuk ke tak) by a random Singaporean family  that always comes back to Indah Sayang and I can see why.
Addictive tapioca chips awaits you

The decor is nothing to shout about. You want a pretty kitschy nyonya restaurant, head to the many other nyonya restaurants available at Taman Melaka Raya. You want a cozy little place with good food, drop by Indah Sayang. 

Assam Fish

K (our invisible third contributor) can and has slurped down the Asam Fish's kuah like it was soup! The bits of pineapple provides a tangy sweetness that compliments the spicy sour kuah (sauce) made fragrant with daun kesum and lemongrass.

Cili Garam Prawns

The portion for Cili Garam prawns (literally "chili salt") was a little small for a group of 3. Damn. The dry-ish sambal is, of course, spicy, salty and sour thanks to tamarind juice and a squeeze of lime. I lovelovelove this sambal but it NEEDS MOAR PRON PRAWN.

Kerabu Pucuk Paku

The Kerabu Pucuk Paku (Fern Salad) was a surprise - we've never had a kerabu so wet. Young and tender ferns in sweet, sour, salty and spicy mix with a strong taste of coconut from the kerisik (toasted dessicated coconut) and santan (coconut milk). It was good but definitely not the highlight of the meal.

Ayam buah keluak

One of the reasons why I keep coming back to Indah Sayang is for the Ayam Buah Keluak . Buah Keluak is poisonous unless prepared properly (which involves burying it in ash for forty days). AIYA GILA. There is no way I'm gonna prepare this dish at home and I don't know where to buy prepared buah keluak anyway.

The gravy is thick with spices, its taste reminiscent to rendang (it's the lemon grass and galangal) but with an added bitterness thanks to the buah keluak. The fruit's flesh is black and squishy yet slightly meaty, with a pungent earthy taste (maybe that's the ash). Unfortunately, this dish tends to overpower the other ones but I can't stop ordering my faves regardless. Warning - buah keluak's an acquired taste although Nina was loving it from the start. ("What can I say, I'm a connoisseur.")

There was chicken with the keluak?

Nina - the bitterness was undercut by the delicate nuttiness. Not to be hyperbolic, but it was a revelatory experience. I've been spoiled! This restaurant's ayam buah keluak has now set the bar for me. I was so intent on enjoying this dish I had to pass over the assam fish, which was also great, but the flavour would've overwhelmed the buah keluak so... a choice must be made!

The proprietor was gruff and friendly in that particularly brusque way all Malaccans seem to have (it's not an insult, it's just a howyadoin, if you're in Melaka). He was warning us about the cincaluk (the shop also sells cincaluk and gula melaka and tapioca chips for you to take home), and that it was very salty, to which TJ can attest (It's meant for making cincaluk omelet, not as cincaluk the dip - TJ) . XD The tapioca chips (RM9) is a must buy. It's a biiiiig pack but don't worry, you'll go through it in no time.

RM77 for 3 pax

Restoran Indah Sayang (nearby Watson)
138, Taman Melaka Raya, 75000 Melaka. 
Tel: 06-2820285 
Price Range - $$
No Pork Served - but they do have booze

(the tumblr photopost)