Friday, July 5, 2013

Warung Saga @ Johor Bahru, Johor

At a t-junction, across Esso gas station and near Rima College is a restaurant that's exterior is so unassuming, it's easy to miss it. Plus there tend to be cars parked right in front of it, blocking the very hard to read restaurant sign.

But inside, it's striking indeed with its wall-to-wall of photographs of royals, politicians, celebrities and even music records.

K: And when we refer to music records, we mean the old school piring hitam albums stuck on the walls. Not just the covers ya, but also the piring hitam themselves.

Their signature dish is Lontong Kering, which we've never had or heard of, so we were looking forward to this. Unfortunately for us, we got there at 11am (you try getting out early with a cranky baby) and we were greeted with a "makanan dah habis. Tinggal sup dengan minuman jer" (food's finished. There's only soup and drinks)

Uuuu T.T

Not wanting to go all this way empty handed, we took the soup tulang (literally 'bone') with bread.

It came with kicap and cili potong but it wasn't necessary as the soup was choked with flavour from the herbs and spices and beef broth. Maybe it's because we had the very last bowl? The "tulang" actually had generous chunks of tender meat.

So good and this isn't their top dish? Wah liao!

K: I concur. The sup tulang was excellent. Some places are very stingy with their sup tulang - the bones look like they've been scraped clean and there would only be minute pieces of beef floating around but not here. Lotsa beef for me hungry tummy! They can call it beef soup instead of sup tulang and it would still fit the description.

The soup was not too oily and neither was it over spiced and thickened like the mamak soups. Clear beef soup where the beef was the main star, not smothered by the spices. Just the way i like it. :)

My main 'beef' (pun intended) with the place was the customer service. When we came a young man greeted us nicely and told us that only soup was left as they haven't started on their lunch menu yet. Understood, since it was 11 am so, we were stuck in the Twilight Zone between breakfast & lunch.

But later, when we were having our meal, more people dropped by and they were told brusquely by a makcik that there's no food and only drinks were left. This was after 12 pm. 12 pm is lunch time, still no food for the lunch crowd? And can't you tell them nicely when the food will be ready instead of shooing them away like stray cats?

Before we left, I asked the guy preparing the lunch food what time do they normally run out of breakfast food. His answer, "Kadang-kadang cepat, kadang-kadang lambat." Wow, that's really informative. I asked the same question to the pleasant young man who first greeted us when we came and his answer was "Around 9 - 9.30 am." See, that's not too hard now, isn't it? 

Good food is one thing, but good customer service also goes a long way.

Warung Saga caters mainly for the breakfast crowd, so do come early if you want to avoid disappointment. Besides their basic menu (which includes the Lontong Kering), they have daily specials. We heard that the Laksa Johor is recommended, available only on Saturdays.

According to a sign in the restaurant, the specials are:

Saturday - Laksa Johor
Sunday - Mee Rebus
Monday - Mee Siam Kuah & Gado Gado
Tuesday - Laksa Nyonya
Wednesday - Mee Sup Sambal Belacan
Thursday - Soto

All of the above are priced at RM3

Warung Saga (here's a map)
Jalan Mahmoodiah
Johor Bahru
Price range - $

Verdict - Definitely going to come here again to sample this Lontong Kering.

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