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Friday, 10 July 2020

GravyBaby @ Pavilion

No, I've not dined out yet (at least not at malls, enclosed air-conditioned environments or anything like that yet) but yes, I've dined out already (at mostly non-air-conditioned shops...hee..hee...baby steps!) ;P  So, this is obviously an old (but hopefully not stale)....post! :D  This was some time before Chinese New Year when I was out and about doing some last minute shopping...and was ultimately attracted by the bright lights of stardom GravyBaby @ Pavilion.

I'm not sure how many bulbs were used in the making of their bar and restaurant or what their monthly electricity bill is like but I do know that there are people who are attracted by bright lights! ;D  Well, I know of at least one such person....more on that side story a little later.

Touted to be "famous for cocktails & pies", I obviously went for one of their infamous gravybaby pies since it was only late morning and too early for a cocktail (though some might disagree)...lol! 

I had my pie with an invigorating Fresh Pineapple Juice @ RM13.  It was really good, no complaints at all as it was nicely sweet and lightly sour.

Their extensive menu encompasses a selection of toast, eggs, gourmet breakfasts, tacos, sandwiches & wraps, chicken wings, burgers, pizzas, rustic flatbreads, pastas, steaks, roast chicken, Sunday roast, fish & chips, hot dogs, soups, salads, a grazing menu of light bites, waffles, ice cream, cakes, sweet pies and pudding.

But pies are their speciality and they have a few on their menu like Chicken, Mushroom & Tarragon Pie, Braised Steak & Ale Pie, Lamb Shepherd's Pie, Creamy Fish Pie, Pumpkin & Apricot Pie and Steak & Wild Mushroom Pie.  All pies are priced at RM24 for just Pie & Gravy and RM32 with a choice of Buttery Mash, Chunky Chips or Fries + Peas or BBQ Beans + Gravy.

I chose the Steak & Wild Mushroom Pie @ RM32 with sides of buttery mash and minted mushy peas.  For gravies, you have a selection of Original British Meat Gravy, Traditional Vegetable Gravy or Traditional London East End Parsley Liquor.  This was a much easier choice...I went with the first one as liquor is a no-no (for me) + who wants vegetable gravy, right? ;P

When my food arrived, I was a bit disappointed by the size of the pie in proportion to the mash and peas (which were in bigger portions in comparison to the pie).  The pastry dough of this pie is of a thicker, denser version.  If you're one who prefers a lighter, crisp, flaky pie crust....this one's not for you.

The flavours of the tender, shredded beef/steak wasn't too bad, with bits of carrots and onions, though I found only one piece of fresh button mushroom inside (I can't remember if it was only half or a whole mushroom but I obviously wanted...and needed more!).

The buttery mash wasn't all that buttery...and also not quite as fine and smooth as some I've had before while the minted mushy peas had this unappetising green taste to it.

The Original British Meat Gravy wasn't a standout either with flavours failing to impress.  Worst still was, as the meal progressed, the gravy congealed as it cooled, the gelatinous texture of which made me feel like the sauce had been thickened by some sort of thickening agent and not properly reduced like a good sauce should be.

For the price paid (RM32), I was expecting a little bit more from the pie in terms of portion and taste.  It was as if they were trying to bulk us up with gigantic portions of mash and peas to make up for the size of the pie.  In the end, I left both the mash and peas unfinished as it was just too much + they weren't all that pleasant-tasting (especially the peas!). >_<

Now for my little side story.  When I was seated waiting for my food to arrive, I noticed a young lady walking in to the front of the restaurant.  She whipped out her handphone and took some photos of the place (nothing weird at this point + like I've said before, the bright lights were captivating).  Then she asked one of the service staff to take a photo (maybe photos) of her in the surroundings.  What did you think happened next?  Well, she walked out of the restaurant after that! O_o  I was expecting her to at least sit down and dine there (or have a drink at the minimum) after what transpired.

When I walked in, the place was deserted at that time (except for one other table) and I felt the eyes of the service staff fixated on me, so I was too shy to even take a proper frontage photo of the place (and I was dining there!).  Would you be thick-skinned enough to do something like she did?  Obviously there are people who could and would, especially those who want to be 'seen' at cool and happening places to post on their Facebook and Instagram accounts but too 'cheapskate' to actually dine there...haha! :D  Why not, there are even people who would dice with death just to take a hip photo for social media.

My Personal Opinion

As their menu is so extensive and I've only tried one thing (which, incidentally, is the one thing they're famous for), it's only right that I should reserve my judgement on them but I'm sure of one thing though...I won't be coming back for their pies...or their gravy, baby!

I wonder if they bit off more than they can chew with such an elaborate menu and lost focus in their speciality.  Well, they have four other branches in KLCC, Bangsar, Damansara Heights and Melaka (besides the one in Pavilion and with some overseas outlets due to open in the pipeline) which prove that they're doing something right at least.  Perhaps, my tongue is the odd one out!  So, don't take my word for it, try it out for yourself. ^_~

GravyBaby
Lot C3.10.04 Level 3
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2113 0133

Friday, 3 July 2020

What Can We Cook/Eat with Preserved Radish?

Preserved radish or choy poh/chai poh comes in two types.....one version is salty while the other is sweet.  So far, I've only cooked with the salty version but recently experimented with a few recipes using the sweet kind...and they turned out mighty fine, I might add.

That's when I realised you can actually cook and eat preserved radish in more ways than I initially thought....and here are some of them.

#1 - Preserved Radish Omelette

I think most of us would have gotten our first introduction to chai poh probably in one of the most commonly cooked dish....choy poh omelette.  I've made it countless times at home myself, usually with the saltish kind of radish.

But you can also make it with sweet preserved radish (according to my dry goods vendor), so I gave that a try (and liked it with the sweet kind more + you don't have to presoak to get rid of saltiness like you need to with the salty kind).  You can choose to add long, snake or french beans to the mix too, if you wish.

#2 - Fried Radish Cake

Who can deny that one of the most popular way to eat radish is in a plate of fried radish/turnip/carrot cake (or char koay kak).  A commonly ordered item from a street stall or dim sum restaurant, it's great for breakfast or any time of the day.

These cakes are steamed first before being cut into small cubes and fried with choy poh, egg, beansprouts, chives and soy.  It's the salty choy poh that adds crunch and gives the rice cakes its flavour.

#3 - Stir-Fried Prawns with Preserved Sweet Radish

Well, I bought this sweet preserved radish for the first time solely for one purpose...for a stir-fry prawn dish that my sister-in-law mentioned.  I didn't even ask her how the dish was supposed to be cooked...I just 'winged' it!  After all, how difficult can it be, right? ;)

This turned out rather well, so I'll share the recipe in a separate post. ^_~

#4 - Steamed Woon Chai Koh (Rice Flour Cake)

These steamed rice cakes, known as woon chai koh (literally small bowl cake) or chwee kueh would be something I'd eat for breakfast if I come across them (but this hawker favourite is harder to find nowadays).

Topped with a generous mound of sweet chai poh (which gives it its sweet-salty flavours), the bland rice cakes are best eaten with some chilli and sweet sauce.

#5 - Preserved Radish Topping


In its simplest form, preserved radish dry-fried with shallots, garlic and green onions is a great condiment with plain congee.

#6 - Steamed Chee Cheong Fun Roll

I bought this tasty steamed chee cheong fun with a popiah filling of softened jicama finished with a topping of sweet preserved radish at the morning market.  Simple but a yummy start to the day.

#7 - Stir-Fried Green Beans

Probably the best vegetable to go with preserved radish is stir-fried green beans.  Blistered, charred green beans dry-fried with chopped dried prawns, garlic, red chillies and finished with oyster sauce seasoning sounds yummy, doesn't it?  This is the dish I cook the most at home coz we really like the hint of smoky flavour in the green beans as a result of the dry-frying which is kind of similar to grilled vegetables.


Or choose to add minced pork and dried chillies...and you've got yourself a dish of Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans...like this dish from Esquire Kitchen (minus the dried chillies) although I was given inside information that it's cha choy (Sichuan pickled mustard stem/root) instead of preserved radish.  Whatever it is, it's very good. ^.^

#8 - Wonton or Sui Kow (Soup Dumplings)


I heard that some recipes for wonton or sui kow may contain preserved radish in their meat or prawn fillings.

#9 - Minced Pork with Choy Poh Tofu

A dish that's probably available at many tai chow places is fried beancurd with a topping of minced pork and preserved radish.

You can have it in a non-fried version too with silken tofu (without minced pork) that's finished with just fried garlic bits and chopped spring onions.  Just as tasty.


This dish can be easily replicated at home to great success.  You can also put it on top of steamed eggs though it's less common.

#10 - Sei Tai Tin Wong (Four Seasons of Vegetables)


Sei Tai Tin Wong, literally translated as Four Heavenly Kings (not the singers!), is a stir-fry of four kind of vegetables (usually brinjal, long beans, ladies finger & petai or four angle beans) fried with dried prawns and a chilli/belacan mix...and possibly maybe even some preserved radish (at least some versions of this dish).

#11 - Oh Ku Kuih

This oh ku kuih, with a ramie leaf glutinous rice skin has a filling of savoury-sweet chai poh in it, is one of the kuihs you might find at a Nyonya kuih stall.  I'm rather fond of this kuih.

#12 - Chai Poh Tao (Diced Preserved Radish & Long Beans Stir-Fry)

This is a medly of diced vegetables with long beans, carrot, fried firm tofu, pickled cubed sweet radish, peanuts and sometimes red bell pepper (or fresh red chillies)...a dish that you might come across in a chap fan stall.  It goes by a cute name too...char liap liap.  Its sweet-salty flavour goes very well with plain congee.  I don't make this at home coz I don't quite like preserved radish in such big chunks. >.<

#13 - Steamed Fish with Choy Poh Topping


The sweet preserved radish topping, besides being great with porridge, can also be paired with steamed fish.


recently found out just how great this combination was as the chai poh condiment works extremely well as a topping for steamed fish to bring extra texture and flavour to the otherwise bland tasting fish.

#14 - Pad Thai


It seems some pad thai versions even have preserved radish (the sweet type) among its ingredients.  I can believe that since Thai cuisine revolves around sweet-salty-sour-spicy flavours all in one dish.

#15 - Chai Poh Sambal

Finally, there's evan a choy poh sambal made with a mixture of preserved radish and dried prawns (I first had this at a Chinese nasi lemak stall).  Best eaten with rice...and you'll need lots of it coz it's so good! ^o^

Which type of preserved radish do you prefer...the sweet or salty kind?  I like the sweet kind better primarily because it's not so salty...plus it's more versatile as you can cook it in more delicious ways (other than just a radish omelette).

So, what's your favourite dish to eat with preserved radish?  Mine are fried carrot cake and woon chai koh...and if it's a dish I cook frequently at home, it'd be stir-fried green beans and as a topping for silken tofu.  Is there any other way of eating this that I missed out? ^_~

Friday, 26 June 2020

Nasi Lemak Saleha via Delivery

I've heard about Nasi Lemak Saleha for quite a while now but have never tried until now....via delivery...and that's because we went to their branch in Dataran Pandan Prima (near Tesco Ampang) once and found the place really crowded.  It seems they started as a small warung in Kampong Pandan before relocating here (they also have another branch in Taman Sri Rampai).

The Ampang branch was full of delivery riders (waiting to pick-up orders) and dine-in customers with tables spilling onto the sidewalks and street (and that was before the Movement Control Order, of course).  Not only was it crowded but it didn't look in tip-top shape (their other branch looks a lot more cleaner and spacious from photos), at least not enough for me to want to dine-in.

So, fast forward a couple of months and a check on their Facebook revealed they have their own ordering platform via www.nasilemaksaleha.com.  The menu prices seem slightly lower than those charged by other delivery partners if you order directly from them (minimum order value is RM30) with a RM10 delivery fee...but the delivery charges will be waived for a first time order.

I wasted no time in putting my fingers to work....click, click, click...and wa-la, my order came delivered by LalaMove and on schedule.  Even though there's a branch in Ampang nearer to me, I noticed that my order came from their Taman Sri Rampai branch (well, that's what the ordering website said...perhaps, that's their main branch for delivery).

I ensured that I put in an order amount that would qualify me for free first-time delivery.  My order total came to RM34.50 and I keyed in the code WELCOME10 for free delivery.

They say you can judge a good nasi lemak by having it in its most humble form...and that is a packet of nasi lemak bungkus.  So, the Nasi Lemak Daun Pisang @ RM2.35 was what I was most eager to try + I really like it this way....in all its simplicity without any special add-on lauk.

For a simple packet of nasi lemak biasa to work, the two most important components have to deliver....the rice...and the sambal! ;)  You can smell and taste that the rice had a fairly good dose of santan (coconut milk) in it except that the texture of the coconut milk-infused rice was a bit soft.  And because of the slightly mushy rice, you actually get a bigger portion of rice as it tends to clump together when compacted, so you'll need a bit of force to press down (separate) the rice.  I would have preferred firmer rice with nicely separated grains but I'd still give them props for the fragrant, santan-y rice.

The spicy-sweet sambal was good too, slightly spicy for my taste buds but tolerable and also very addictive...you just want to keep eating more.  It had a good hint of sweetness from the onions cooked with the ikan bilis (dried anchovies) in the sambal.

Our next order was the Nasi Lemak Rendang Ayam @ RM11.19 (don't ask me why their prices have weird numbers like this but those are the prices stated in their website).  First thing I noticed was that the sambal and lauk were packed separately.  I like (and prefer) that coz, for people like me who may not be able to take the spiciness of their sambal/lauk, we can then eat the amount we're comfortable with.

The chicken rendang nasi lemak came with rendang ayam, santan-infused rice, sambal, hard-boiled egg, cucumber and fried ikan bilis but no kacang (peanuts)....ran out of kacang so early in the day? :P

As for the rendang ayam, I got a drumstick because I left a special remark on my order to make sure I got my preferred chicken part...hee..hee (don't think that would have been possible if it was via FoodPanda or GrabFood).  The rendang gravy had good flavours and was especially nice (wished there was more of it) while the chicken meat was tender too, not super tender but tender enough.

The Nasi Lemak Sambal Sotong @ RM10.25 came with the same condiments of a standard packet of nasi lemak with a separately packed and very generous portion of sambal sotong.

Let me show you how generous a portion...there were at least 8 good-sized pieces of sotong which was cooked till sufficiently tender.

Not only were they generous with the sotong pieces, they were generous with the sotong gravy too which was a little less spicy and also not as thick as the sambal.  The sambal sotong was terrific as well.

I also got an extra order of Rendang Daging @ RM6.38 just to see how it tastes but was a bit disappointed that the serving size was rather small for the price paid (ok-lah, I get it, beef is expensive).  Maybe next time I should just order this with the nasi lemak and not as an add-on.

The serving of the beef rendang shown here compared to the squid sambal side by side will give you a better indication of its quantity.

I was extremely happy with the flavours of the rendang though as it was really good (not overpowered by too much lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves or tumeric leaves like some can be) and the beef was adequately tender (again not super tender but tender enough).  I would have loved if there was more of that lovely kerisik (toasted grated coconut) rendang gravy.

The rendang daging ended up as something extra to eat with the remaining packets of nasi lemak bungkus just that the smallish amount wasn't quite enough. :(

There was even enough sambal sotong to go with the other packet of nasi lemak bungkus.

You can also order extra sides of ayam rendang, sotong sambal, ayam masak merah and paru berempah (all at RM6.38 a portion) and ayam goreng berempah (at RM5.16 a piece) or order them as an add-on to your nasi lemak proper.  Besides nasi lemak, they also offer Mee Rebus Johor, Mee Kari Nyonya, Bihun Sup Utara, Penang Assam Laksa, Char Kuey Teow Udang and Mee Goreng Ayam.

If there was something I'm not thrilled about (other than the slightly mushy rice), it would probably be the standard condiments (other than the half hard-boiled egg which, incidentally, was beautifully cooked...with no black ring around the yolk).  Their meagre portion of fried ikan bilis (you can see from the photos I added my own), no kacang and 1 - 2 slices of cucumber seems rather kedekut (stingy) to me (I'm sure they can give more)...after all, this is a RM10 packet of nasi lemak! ;P

Overall, the above order should be sufficient to feed a family of two (even three) as the rice portions are generous enough to satiate an average eater.  Even their nasi lemak daun pandan, great as breakfast, can satisfy as a light lunch too (or satisfy someone with a better appetite as an add-on to their nasi lemak meal).

Since one can order direct from their website (with their deliveries handled by LalaMove), anyone can order it as it's not location bound.  If you have an iron stomach, you can even order extra nasi lemak bungkus/lauk for eating later.  I've kept the nasi lemak bungkus for breakfast the next day and it still tasted good (just remove the newspaper wrapping and re-steam the rice still wrapped in pandan leaves).

My Personal Opinion

I finally got to try Nasi Lemak Saleha and was happy with the outcome.  The plain nasi lemak turned out well with its addictive sambal and I've no complaints on the three types of lauk accompaniments either.

All three (rendang ayam, rendang daging & sotong sambal) I had were equally satisfying, so it depends on what you really fancy.  For me, I prefer the beef rendang (first) and sotong sambal (second) and that's only because I've had a truly awesome nasi lemak sotong (from a street vendor near where I stay) that is unrivalled by anything better.

As you'd expect, the prices are shop prices which means it won't be half as cheap as those you'd get from those gerai nasi lemak di tepi jalan (street stalls).  I like to think of it as a reasonably-priced nasi lemak that I can enjoy anytime of the day, not just in the mornings.

From my positive experience, you bet I'll be ordering this for delivery again but may have to choose to go with FoodPanda or GrabFood now that I've used up my first-time free delivery offer already.  P/S: Probably best to order delivery as there are so many unhappy reviews on their atrocious service during dine-in.

Nasi Lemak Saleha (Ampang)
No. 3 Jalan Pandan Prima 3
Pandan Prima Square
68000 Ampang
Selangor

or

Nasi Lemak Saleha (Taman Sri Rampai)
No. 2 Jalan Seri Rejang 4
Taman Sri Rampai
53300 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 017-747 0100

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