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)

Durian 3 Way @ Jonker Walk, Melaka

We can't remember how or why a very last minute makan trip to Melaka came about but we were probably inspired by this CNNgo article.

To be honest, we could check our chatlogs, but this fuzzy recollection of how things happen is more authentically us. :D

Cendol & ABC @ Jonker 88

The shop is also famous for its laksa dishes but we were too full from lunch to have a bowl. 
ABC Durian

ABC Durian is typical ABC concoction with the added bonus of fresh durian flesh puree. The addition is what makes it unusual, also a little disconcerting.  You can never miss the flavour of durian in a dish, but (both) Nina (and TJ) had a bit of cognitive dissonance in having it paired with the other major note in the dessert, that of the rose syrup. It's not something that immediately comes to mind when it comes to complimentary flavours. Whether it works for you in the long run depends on how much you love durian to close one eye about the janglyness of the whole thing.

EPC (or Eight Treasure Cendol) doesn't actually come with durian. It's a cendol that comes with additional ingredients such as roasted peanuts, sweet corn, nutmeg and buah nipah (atap chee) . It feels more like what a Malay restaurant would consider as an ABC, in Nina's opinion, in the sense of 'let's throw in everything and damn the consequences!'. But the volume of the condiments is not overdone, so it's just right. We are not actually a fan of nutmeg by its lonesome, but it all works here.

Durian Cendol

Durian Cendol is the thing Jonker88 is known for (or at least how it's known for amongst ourselves). Plain perfect cendol added with a dollop of durian puree. The dish itself is what it's supposed to be: fresh, icy and creamy, so the addition of the durian was a welcome one. Nina likes the jolt of durian as it livens up the creaminess of the whole thing.

So what makes Jonker 88 cendol so special? The shaved ice is powdery fine, no chunky ice bits, the gula melaka is as thick as molasses and the santan doesn't taste canned. TJ has heard of better durian cendol places but sadly, not in a pork free shop.

RM4 each

Taste Better One Bite Durian Puff @ Pooh Kean Enterprise
Taste Better One Bite Durian Puff

The pastry was amazingly light and if you have it fresh, crispy and airy enough. It keeps well enough, but it's one of those pastries that tastes heavenly right out of the oven. The cold cream durian filling was just nice and not too much per puff. A perfect one-bite puff indeed! Just be mindful of your stomach and appetite: it might disappear in one bite, but your stomach won't thank you if you've overloaded. The box of 12 divided between 3 people was just nice - we couldn't keep eating because it's all finished, but we tak rasa tak puas hati because there weren't enough for all of us hahah.

However, do note that it's not fresh durian filling, just cream. For TJ, the best durian puff that actually has fresh durian in it would be in Petaling St (will blog abt that someday!).

Good news is you don't have to travel all the way to Melaka for these. Just head to the Mines, Sri Kembangan or Setia City Mall, Klang. Chit, kalau tahu, tak payah tunggu 10 minit for it to finish baking.

RM15 for a dozen.

Durian Fireball @ Iceland
Durian Fireball
We were actually hoping to have the durian crispy roll or crunchy roll, but alas, habis. So durian fireball it is. Unfortunately, it was terribly disappointing.

While the exterior shell, which tastes like a mochi/ glutinous rice that was dipped in batter and deep fried, is good, the filling...well look at the picture. Can you see the gooey golden creamy durian just oozing out of it?

Neither could we. :-/

RM5 for 3. 

Jonker 88
88, Jalan Hang Jebat, Melaka
Price Range - $
No Pork Served

Pooh Kean Enterprise
96, Jalan Hang Jebat, Melaka
Price Range - $
No Pork Served

Iceland (or maybe it's next door to Iceland?)
32, Jalan Hang Jebat
Price Range - $
No Pork Served

(original tumblr photopost)