Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ikan Bakar Seri Empangan @ Putrajaya

The Ikan Bakar Seri Empangan Putrajaya (which translates to Putrajaya Dam Grilled Fish) was opened earlier this year, taking over a failed steamboat restaurant.

K: It was actually brought to Putrajaya by Tan Sri Aseh, the President of Perbadanan Putrajaya to liven up the dam area. The original restaurant is the famous Muara Ikan Bakar in Kelang,  at least that's what I was told.

We had four dishes; kailan ikan masin (salted fish kailan), sotong masak tiga rasa (three flavoured squid), ikan pari bakar (grilled sting ray) and nasi lemak.

K: This is actually the 1st time I've had sotong masak 3 rasa. Masak 3 rasa is normally done for fish rather than sotong.

The veggies (RM6) were so so and the sotong (rm15) rubbery and lacking in flavour.

But the fish saves the restaurant from being written off.

The fresh sting ray (RM 7.50) was grilled simply in banana leaf, which keeps the fish moist yet fragrant. That's it, no sambal or fancy spice rub, I don't think I detected salt either! It's served with a not too spicy asam jawa dip.

K: The dip was nice and it complements the fish well.

Sambal ikan bakar is available only during lunch time, so we'll have to make it a point to drop by at that time.

The nasi lemak (RM2) was good as you can tell they weren't stingy with the santan. The sambal was thick and had a nice kick that went well with the sting ray. But the nasi lemak was rather kedekut with other condiments, just some lonely cucumber.

K: Price wise, not bad, the pari was only RM7.50 but the sotong cost a whopping RM15. Maybe I'll pick a different recipe for the sotong next time.

Pfft. A different recipe will not change the fact that it was overcooked to death.

Ikan Bakar Seri Empangan, is as the name says, at the dam near the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC). There's a lovely waterfront park with a playground to help you work up an appetite. Apologies, no pics of the park as it was dark by then.

The restaurant itself isn't terribly fancy (just plastic tables and chairs) but it's clean and has a gorgeous view of the (only) skyscrapers in Putrajaya.

Verdict - Food wise, hit and miss. Bonus points for the park and view, boleh lepak!

Ikan Bakar Seri Empangan
​Pusat Kawalan Empangan,
Taman Empangan, Presint 5,
62000 Putrajaya

Tel: 013-3490191, 012-4268081, 017-3368081, 012-2888340, 012-3378081

Price - $ - $$
Opening Hours: 10am - 10pm, Tuesday-Sunday. Closed on Mondays.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Kedai Makan Jadi Baru Botak @ Restoran Botak

Apologies for the lack of pics for this post, it was a rainy day and we were rushing for cover.

K: One good way to find out good makan places is to ask people. That's what we did. We got a lot of recommendations and one of them was for Kedai Makan Jadi Baru (Botak). 

TJ: With such a name, who wouldn't be intrigued? Is the chef botak? Will you lose your hair from eating there? Dun dun DUUUUUUNNN....

K: Kedai Makan Jadi Baru literally translated is Becomes New Eating Shop. How did Botak comes into the picture? Apparently, the proprietor is bald (botak), so people started to refer to the shop as Botak's. As they say, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. So, as the place is already well know as Botak's shop, the proprietor included (Botak) in the signage.

High on the recommended list was the fried senangin, fried cuttlefish and asam pedas. My friend who recommended this place said he would always go here everytime he's in JB. Apparently this place is also a favourite of the Johore Sultan. Which Sultan? Now that's one question I forgot to ask.

So when we got here of course we ordered all that plus some otak-otak and stir fried spinach.

TJ: The food here tastes very homemade. All of the dishes felt very simple and humble, but well cooked indeed.

Take the fried senangin for example. It's just fresh fish, seasoned with a light hand, fried to a crisp but the flesh was still tender and juicy. The stir fried sotong with shallots, also lightly seasoned, was soft but springy. It takes experience to not overcook such delicate things!

The otak-otak was a very generous sized portion and not fishy. I prefer nyonya otak-otak over Malay as the former usually steams the dish instead of grilling, which can make the dish dry if the cook isn't careful. Plus the former is heavier on the spice. Botak's otak-otak also had some fish flakes to add texture to an otherwise smooth mousse.

I find that Malay asam pedas to be spicier and more sour than the nyonya version. This one was like a middle ground; spicier than nyonya but sweeter than Malay style. The fish was fresh and cooked to perfection. The assam pedas was served with okra and eggplant.

The stir fried spinach was worthy of my popo's home cooking. 

This was our third Asam Pedas for this makan trip, plus we had a late breakfast, so we were not as enthused as we normally would be. While I can see why it's recommended and I agree that they were all good dishes, the prices weren't competitive. 

Out of the three places we had Asam Pedas, Botak's was the most expensive. To be fair, we had the other two in Melaka, however one must factor in the ambience.

The ambience at Botak's is nothing to shout about. While the restaurant is clean, it's in an old, shabby neighbourhood. There's no air conditioning either. Despite the lack of a crowd, parking was surprisingly scarce for a weekday (we came around 12pm to avoid the lunch rush hour). 

The cost of our meal (inc drinks) came up to roughly RM30-40 per pax.

Wah, can you imagine the price if it was upscale? We hear this restaurant is very popular, even with Singaporeans. Could that be the reason for the price?

K - The portions were so so considering the price. Only the otak-otak's portions were generous. Nice food, but not a must eat for me, especially since there's nothing special about the restaurant itself. Just a typical kedai makan. 

Verdict - Worth a visit, at least once to rasa. Delicious, simple food but the price makes us think twice about coming again...

Restoran Makan Jadi Baru (Botak) (map)
No. 145
Jalan Lumba Kuda
80000, Johor, Malaysia

Tel: +6072249225

Price - $$ - $$$ (depends on what you are ordering of course)
Opening hours - 7am to 10pm

No pork served