Monday, 30 October 2017

Ah Koong Restaurant @ Pudu

Ah Koong Restaurant @ Pudu (which started in Johor Bahru in 1987) has been our go to place when we feel like eating fish ball noodles.  You can read my previous review here.

Besides their three outlets in Johor and one in Subang Jaya, they've since expanded into shopping malls with their pork-free AK Noodles House brand in 1 Utama, Tropicana City Mall, Evolve Concept Mall, Main Place and Damansara City Mall (its 10th branch).

But we continue to eat at its first outlet in Pudu for the simple reason that it's not pork-free...hey! ;)  As usual, I always come here for their Fish Ball Noodles (soup version) @ RM8 that comes with fresh and fried fish balls, pork ball, fried "fu chuk" (bean curd sheets), seaweed, lettuce and some fish paste bits floating in clear soup.

If you don't like the soupy version, there's always the Fish Ball Noodles (dry version) also @ RM8.  My family's noodle of choice is usually the wantan mee.

The dry version comes with a separate bowl of soup.

If I choose the dry version, I like mine with "loh shi fun" (aka rat noodles).  Did you notice that little thingy in the middle?  That's one reason why we prefer to eat at this branch...the noodles get tossed in black sauce and lard oil (and the occasional pork lard crisp)! ;)

That's also the reason why the noodles at this branch taste better than AK Noodles House, my spouse said.  I, on the other hand, have never eaten at AK Noodles House and I don't intend to.

In one of my visits, I decided to stray from my usual order and went with Grouper Kuey Teow @ RM15 filled with fish slices, Chinese mushrooms, seaweed, lettuce and "yin sai" (Chinese coriander).

I loved that it came with lots of yin sai and fried garlic bits.  The clear soup was subtle and pretty delicious :)

I noticed that the prices for the fish noodles range from RM12 - RM31.80 but, unfortunately, the grouper I had was a bit fishy and not all that fresh.  I think I better stick with the fish ball noodles in future.

Besides fish and fish ball noodles, they also offer various types of yong tau foo and some of our favourites include the Stuffed Eggplant @ RM1.60/pc and Fried "Fu Chuk" (bean curd sheets) also @ RM1.60/pc.  Their stuffed items are made fresh daily using a combination of wolf herring (ikan parang) and yellowtail.

Another must-order here is their Crispy Fish Cake @ RM5.50/pc which is certainly not cheap looking at the size of the round piece of fish cake.  Their fried fish cake (and fish balls) are supposedly made with the freshest local wolf herring with no added preservatives.  I love their fish cake for its firm and bouncy texture with a light crisp on the outside.

But the best is yet to come....their Fried "Tau Pok" (bean curd puffs) @ RM2.50/pc.  These been curd puffs have been turned inside out and stuffed with a filling made with a mixture of minced pork, fish and yin sai. And that's another reason why we don't patronise AK Noodles House for the mere reason that they're pork-free, so you can't get this there.

The way the bean curd puff is turned inside out before frying makes them super crispy (much like what phonghongbakes once made).  I absolutely love the abundance of yin sai they put in the filling, so this is purely for those in the "yin sai fan club", of course.

They have a few chilli condiments here.  The usual would be the bird's eye chillies with soy that's available for your scooping pleasure on the table.  The chilli sauce on the left comes with yong tau foo while the bottom corner one, a fresh and tangy sambal, is served with the fish noodles.  There's also a cooked sambal for the curry noodles and spicy wan tan mee version.

I always have their Iced White Coffee @ RM3.50 even though (I was told) they come from one of those pre-packaged coffee.  Who cares if it's an instant still beats the crap out of a lot of other white coffees I've drunk before.  My only wish is if it was a tad less sweet.

Recently they introduced this Braised Pork with Soup @ RM10.50 that comes with some braised pork pieces, braised egg and a soup with some fish balls.  I once packed this for my mom but she told me not to buy it for her again as it wasn't nice, so I guess I won't be trying it for myself then.

I also packed some yong tau foo for her and they came neatly packed in a paper box like nice!

My Personal Opinion

Still a very decent option if you want fish ball noodles with a side order of pork (that's not available at their other branches of AK Noodle House)...kikiki! :D

Your best bet would be to stick to the fish ball noodles and yong tau foo, especially the fried (inverted) tau pok and fish cake, and nothing else really.

Ah Koong Eating House
No 172 Jalan Changkat Tambi Dollah
Off Jalan Pudu
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2143 3477

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Ra.Ft Cafe @ Lorong Binjai

After being here for both breakfast and dinner and trying out both breakfast and dinner dishes (not that they have a different menu for both times), I was back to Ra.Ft Cafe @ Lorong Binjai for more.

This time, I came with family as I wanted them to try the food I enjoyed so much at this cafe.  The cafe was bustling when we arrived for breakfast (and this is one of those cafes I see frequented by more expats than locals).  As usual, Filippo, the ever gracious host, was there to ensure his guests are always well taken care of.

To start, as always, we had to have the Ra.Ft Breakfast @ RM32, a fully-loaded platter with possibly everything one needs...bacon, sausage, eggs, mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, bread and butter.  I like just how consistent it looks in terms of cooking and presentation each time we had it (check it out here and here).

My mother-in-law initially asked for the sausage to be removed from her plate.  I told her she might regret giving up the sausage coz this was nothing like those poor-tasting commercially made sausages that she usually eats.  She took one bite and gave her 'silent' sign of approval by gobbling up the rest! ;)

However, if you do not want an already preassembled breakfast platter, you can also Build-Your-Own with your choice of protein (bacon, chicken sausage, pork sausage or home cured salmon), eggs (scrambled, poached, fried or sunny side up), bread (homemade multigrain, gluten free multigrain, croissant or english muffin) and any two sides (mushrooms, smashed tomatoes, roasted tomatoes or baked beans).

This was My (Son's) Breakfast (it could be Your Breakfast too) @ RM28 with pork sausage, fried egg (they even asked if you want your eggs flipped), mashed potatoes, mushrooms and croissant.  This is sure to please since you would have hand picked everything! ;)

I decided to go with something I've not had before, something simple, light and healthy, the Bagel with Tuna Sweet Corn @ RM19.50 served with fresh greens.  Other bagel combinations include eggs mayonnaise & baby spinach, cream cheese with home cured salmon, and bacon & fried egg.

Loved the nicely toasted bagel that was crisp and fragrant with sesame seeds.  As for the filling, I think it needed a bit more tuna and a bit more of that juicy sweet corn.  #JustSaying...hihihi!

And you know it's quite unimaginable to leave without having my current no. 1 favourite French Toast with Bacon & Maple Syrup @ RM21, right?  Obviously.

It's also unthinkable for me not to have the insanely delicious Ra-Ft Tiramisu (Italian recipe) @ RM15.  Unable to resist the tiramisu each and every time I'm here, I'm wondering if the other desserts will ever get a chance...haiz!

Drinks of Hot Latte @ RM9 and a Ra-Ft Healthy Mixed Juice, Sunny Day @ RM16 of orange, mango and pineapple, that's thick and yummy.

My Hot Cappuccino @ RM9...hey, I finally got a cat latte art....yay, so cute...but Cookie will forever be the cutie of my heart! ^.^

My Personal Opinion

I once read a comment by a reader of eatdrinkkl and couldn't agree with him more...that we all get caught up with trying new places (I have to since I'm writing a food blog) and, more often than not, we get disappointed with these new outlets and would return to our regular 'tried and tested' outlets that we know will not disappoint....and that for me is a meal at Ra.Ft's :)

Consistency is something that's extremely difficult to maintain and Ra.Ft has not let me down...their consistency in cooking, taste and presentation deserves a pat on the back.

And the good news is...they've recently launched their Ra-Ft Loyalty Card to reward their loyal customers. But let me share yet another piece of happy news.....a new outlet is in the works...and it's coming to....(ooo, let it be a surprise!) ^_*

Ra.Ft Cafe
G1, GF & N.2 Ground Floor
Binjai 8 Lorong Binjai
Off Persiaran KLCC
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2181 1091

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

What Some People Do at Buffets.....

When I first wrote about what some people do at "chap fan" stalls and followed that up with what some people do in supermarkets, I was surprised that these two posts got pretty good hits...even better than some of my cooking posts...aiks! ;P 

Maybe some of us have this "kepochi" streak in us and want to know what 'no good' our fellow citizens are up to...kekeke! :P  And a comment left on my previous post of what some people would do at "chap fan" stalls gave me an idea for this post.  So, here comes a third in the series...what I've witnessed some people do at buffets.

#1 - Those who pile a mountain top of food on their plate

Just because you've paid (in your opinion) an obscene amount of money for the buffet doesn't mean you have to pile it obscenely on your plate! O_o  Worst still, some can't even finish the food.  Even if you've paid for the food, it doesn't give you the right to waste food so, behave decently and take only what you can eat.  Luckily, nowadays, many have learned the etiquette of buffet eating (at least in classy environments like hotel buffets) though the same can't be said when it comes to "free makan" at festive buffets.

#2 - Those who pour soups into their bowls to the brim

Just as they pile a mountain top of food, they also pour soups into their bowls right to the brim and it's always fun to see them walk gingerly back to their seats and trying to keep the soup from overflowing.  Though it doesn't happen at buffets anymore since you can now make numerous trips to the buffet line, I do remember witnessing it before at a pizza place (the now defunct Shakey's, I think) where one is allowed only one serving of soup and salad at a set price with pizza (something like that).  It was pretty fun to see them walking slowly back to their seats while trying to balance their bowls...kekeke! :D 

#3 - Those who wipe out a particular tray of food without a care for those behind them

Just because the chef/server brings out a fresh plate of food, it doesn't justify you taking (almost) everything without a care for those in the queue behind you.  This usually happens to more premium food (like seafood) or those items that take a long time to cook and replenish (like satay and grilled items).  I've seen this happen quite often with satay...once the chef gets a handful of sticks ready, there'll be some inconsiderate people who would take them in all without even thinking about the few people who are waiting behind.

#4 - Those who don't bother to close the dome-shaped food covers

The food covers are there for a keep the food warm (and hygienic).   If there's someone standing next to you waiting to get the food, then yes, I can understand if you don't close the cloche.  Otherwise, please close the cloches, people! >:(

#5 - Those who don't use the tools that they're meant for

I once saw a diner using a traditional charcoal stove meant to toast bread to grill sausages...leaving remnants of the sausage stuck on the wire mesh! >_<  The buffet provides us with tools to pick up food from trays and sauces from bowls, so use the right tools please....and at no time should hands ever be involved.

#6 - Those who reuse their tableware

And then there are those who would reuse their glasses for refill of juices (sometimes even plates just for a few extra pieces of food).  Maybe you felt your glass wasn't that dirty, maybe the drink counter ran out of glasses (as they sometimes do), maybe you thought it wouldn't hurt to reuse...whatever your motivation is...please don't do it! >.<  We don't want to risk any contamination (in whatever form or shape) if your used tableware happen to come into contact with any food or drinks.

#7 - Those who would "chup chup" (reserve) the desserts first

And then there are those who would 'attack' the dessert counters first...and "chup chup" all the pretty desserts.  They'd probably claim they eat in reverse order (aka eat desserts first).  I may have been guilty of this one (once or twice) because circumstances made me do it.  Before the 'horde of bees' make a beeline and descend upon the 'sweets' and they're all gone, I too would take one...(maybe two) before all the pretty ones are gone...wakakakaka! ;P

#8 - If you have young kids, please get the food for them

I don't blame the kids for not using the right utensils and/or not following decorum.  I blame the parents for unleashing them and letting them run wild unsupervised at the buffet line.

#9 - If you have very young kids, please feed them

And if you have very young kids, please feed them instead of letting them eat by themselves and create a mess.  I've actually seen very young children being left to eat on their own and end up spilling food all over the table and floor (a little spillage is tolerable but not when you leave a big mess).  Mind you, some of these hotels use nice table linen and have carpeted floors...yikes! >.<

But I'm happy to say that the majority of buffet-eaters these days are a more civilised lot with the right dining etiquette (at least in classy environments) which is a far cry from the early days of buffet binging eating I've witnessed.

Anyway, why pile everything on one plate (and end up eating a pile of "rojak" with everything mixed together) when you can make numerous trips to the buffet line.  I, for one, don't like my food to touch and mingle with one another unless they're "related" in some way...wuahahahaha! ;D

So, have you ever come across such behaviour in any of your buffet dining experiences? ^_~

Monday, 23 October 2017

Auntie Lora Kopitiam @ Taman Segar, Cheras

Just as I'm always looking for a good bowl of curry laksa, I'm always looking for a good bowl of prawn mee as well.  So, that brought me to Auntie Lora Kopitiam @ Taman Segar, Cheras as I've read about them being the place to go to for Penang prawn mee.

As soon as I arrived on a Saturday morning, I can see the popularity of the place with all the outside tables taken up.  We found one last empty table inside.  Besides prawn mee, they also offer curry mee, loh mee, assam laksa, kuay teow th'ng (soup), gulai chicken, eggs and toast, and lots more.

I obviously came here for one thing and one thing only....their prawn mee.  A standard bowl of Penang Prawn Noodle costs RM8.50 while a bowl (with just pork ribs) costs RM12.  Of course yours truly here went for the whole works...the Penang Prawn Noodle with Pork Ribs @ RM14.90.

The bowl of prawn mee arrived with its usual ingredients of prawns, pork ribs, hard-boiled egg, lean pork, kangkung, bean sprouts and fried shallots.  This prawn broth, made with a combination of pork bones and prawn shells, was more savoury than sweet.  I think they could have been more generous with the broth looking at the hefty price I paid for this bowl.  The meehoon started soaking up the soup rather quickly and there wasn't much left by the time I finished my noodles.  Perhaps the description of 'good to the last drop' rings true here since there was hardly any broth left afterwards.

When my bowl of prawn mee arrived, it came without the sambal (I don't know if that was 'conveniently forgotten' or they actually forgot), so I had to ask them for it.  The sambal was much needed as I had to dunk all of it into the soup for it to offer any kind of spiciness.

They were rather stingy with the fried shallots too....and I will have none of that! :P  So I ordered extra Fried Shallots @ RM0.60 but somehow they didn't taste anything like the freshly fried, fragrant and thinly sliced shallots of my neighbourhood's prawn mee.

I can see why many customers felt that the prices are high here, I would too seeing that the bowl of prawn mee came with only two miserable prawns (and it's the same for the standard bowl too after seeing pics of it online).  Not only were there just two prawns, they were also tasteless, dry and had no sweetness at all. Judging from the shell left intact on the tail of the prawn, I could see that they were those hard-shelled type which I associate with el cheapo prawns.

No complaints on the three pieces of pork ribs as they were tender as they should be.

Since the looks of the curry mee didn't appeal to my husband (info for cockle junkies: do take note that cockles can be ordered by the bowl here at RM5) + he isn't into prawn me, he went with the Pork Ribs @ RM7.50 to eat with a bowl of rice @ RM1.50.  The pork ribs came in a bowl filled with the same broth as the prawn mee...and RM7.50 got him only four pieces of pork ribs! >.<

I saw Braised Egg @ RM1.80 on the menu and couldn't resist thinking it'd be hard-boiled eggs left braising in a dark soy concoction (like those from braised duck or braised pork shops with tofu).  But it came in a bowl filled with the broth from the loh mee instead and the white of the egg was exceptionally hard.  Overcooked?  Doesn't seem like it since there's no green ring around the yolk.  Left braising in the loh mee sauce for too long?  Maybe.  The hard-boiled eggs weren't freshly made?  Perhaps.  I've never had hard-boiled eggs tasting this hard before.  So, skip this altogether. >_<

I had their Pure White Coffee (Cold) @ RM3 while my husband had the Penang Nutmeg Juice @ RM4.60 (if you like the taste of nutmeg, I'm not a fan, then this nutmeg juice will appeal to you).  Their website says their white coffee is from the established Ipoh brand of Chang Jiang White Coffee.  Well, now I know I don't like Chang Jiang White Coffee! ;P

My Personal Opinion

The place is obviously popular judging from the brisk business they were doing.  A possible destination for a decent bowl of prawn mee although it won't be my regular haunt since I wasn't too thrilled about the price for the quality and quantity of prawns I got.

Auntie Lora Kopitiam
No 23 Jalan Manis 4
Taman Segar
56100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-9134 9998

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Nice Catch @ Pavilion

Located right at the end of the food court on Level 1 and taking over from where Manhattan Fish Market used to occupy, a newly opened two-week old seafood restaurant (when I visited) has joined the many new dining options at Pavilion.

Nice Catch @ Pavilion offers a selection of wholesome, premium seafood with a twist cooked western style with homemade sauces prepared fresh daily.

Glad to see that they have dispensers for freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt on every table unlike a certain Establishment (I visited recently) that shall remain nameless ;)...wuahahahaha (I'm so cruel)! :D

For starters, we had the Golden Squid & Salsa @ RM27 described as flash-fried Korean squid with ginger and dried chillies over seasoned onion rings with crispy basil leaves served with a warm salsa sauce.

The well seasoned squid with a light coat of batter had a pleasing balance of flavours...warmth from the shredded ginger, heat from the dried chillies and crisp of the fried basil leaves. ^.^

They were good on their own but even better dipped into their homemade salsa sauce of tomatoes and onions.  A word of caution though....this dip has quite a bit of kick which some might find too spicy (I did as the spiciness kicked in after a few mouthfuls but I relished the salsa even though it was a bit on the spicy side)! ;)

Other light bites include a Cheesy Lobster & Seafood Dip (RM27), Spicy Poached Mussels (RM17) and Crispy Prawn Cocktail (RM17).

Their Facebook posting threw diners a challenge..."If it's not nice, you don't have to pay for it"!  But here's the catch....only if you have a valid reason as to why you don't like the dish.  Well, fair enough + I love a I ordered the Lobster Bisque @ RM23.

The menu states that it's a bountiful bisque packed with rich flavours that comes with a decadent lobster tail with a unique umami twist of Japanese ebiko.  There was also a swirl of (what looked like) pesto oil drizzle on the soup.  It was served with a long piece of crusty baguette smeared with pesto which acted as a great vehicle to dip and scoop the creamy soup.

And yes, it did come with a nicely presented lobster tail (albeit a small one) sticking out of the soup that was firm and fresh to the bite.  There were some tiny bits of (what I believe to be) lobster meat in the soup too (unless they were prawns).  The soup had just the right consistency and I loved that it came piping hot, a good sign that it was freshly made.  And the final outcome?  It was nice, so I paid for it....kikiki! ;D

They have just one other soup, the Wild Mushroom Crema (RM17) or you might go with a salad (they have three), the Savoury Fruit & Funghi Salad (RM23), a Garden Crisp Salad (RM17) or a very decadent Lobster Salad (RM72).

For mains, our first pick was the Classic Grilled Catch of the Day @ RM55 with a choice of fish fillet of Norwegian Salmon or Grouper @ RM55, Sea Perch or Butter Fish @ RM35 (we chose salmon), that comes with freshly grilled prawns with salsa rice and sauteed zucchini and cherry tomatoes.

The way the Norwegian Salmon was sliced (thinly and diagonally like you would sashimi) made it impossible to cook the salmon skin side down to get it crispy, so don't expect it to be coz it won't.  I did enjoy the flesh which was moist and delicate though.

As for the prawns, they have this translucent look and the texture was way too crunchy for my liking.  Plus the prawns were lacking the natural sweetness that I seek.  I've come across this type of overly bouncy prawns many times and I don't like it one bit.  I hear that they'll have this texture if they were treated with baking powder to make them extra bouncy.

You can also select your choice of sauce between mustard dill or ginger soy.  I went with ginger soy.  I wasn't expecting it to look like a cocktail sauce and their was a heat element in it (from a combination of ginger and chillies perhaps) that I quite liked.

When I see the word 'grilled', I expect direct heat, over a hot open fire and flame-kissed food.  So, I was expecting to see at least a little bit of charring or grilled marks on the seafood...but (sadly) there were none.  I think pan-fried would have been a better description for the way the seafood was cooked here.

Our other main was the Crispy Battered Fish & Friends @ RM35 with a choice of fried fish fillet (choose between Norwegian Salmon, Grouper, Sea Perch or Butter Fish, we chose Sea Perch this time) with crunchy prawns and chips served with a side of fresh salad and their signature grapefruit tartar sauce.

The dish arrived with two pieces of battered sea perch and three prawns (which had the same crunchy texture).  The batter was not overly thick nor overly crispy, the chips were nice.  Served with a grapefruit tartar sauce that seemed to have a drizzle of pesto oil on top, I can't say I tasted grapefruit in the sauce though.

If you come in a larger group, you can order a bigger platter for sharing like the Great Ocean Fiesta (RM119) or the Captain's Seafood Spread (also RM119) which is basically the same smaller versions we had.  The former showcases the grilled version with additional items like squid and mussels while the latter is the fried version with extra items of squid and corn dodgers.  The platter could be ideal for four as we saw a family-of-four (two adults + 2 children) sharing one of such platters.  And if you want to go all out, there's the more premium Nice Catch's Spicy Seafood Feast with Canadian Lobsters (RM189), King Crab Legs (RM159), Whole French Crab (RM119) or a Mixed Seafood of Prawns, Squid & Mussels (RM99).

Our drinks were Botanical Passion @ RM13 (earl grey tea infused with Thai basil leaves and mint with a tangy passionfruit reduction) and a Bottled Juice of Chilled Orange @ RM12.  Two surprising items showed up in the receipt though but with no charges.  One was for two glasses of iced water which we requested (since none was served) and two wet wipes which we declined when offered.

#Interesting Observation
It wasn't until I was writing this post that I noticed something interesting in their receipt.  Right at the top of the receipt (under Nice Catch) were these words...MFM Restaurants Sdn Bhd and I only know of one MFM...and that is Manhattan Fish Market.  As I don't see any reviews done on this place (yet) since it's barely 3 weeks old, I can only deduce that this is a sister (and more premium) brand to their existing MFM chain of restaurants (though there's no such mention of this 'relationship' whatsoever on Nice Catch's website). Knowing this now, I can clearly see the 'similiarities' in some of the food offered and the sense of deja vu whilst I was dining here! ;)

My Personal Opinion

All in all, was it a nice catch?  I have to say it was a fairly nice catch.  Of the few that I tried, there were somethings that were good and somethings that could be better.

I was happy with both the starters I tried (and their prices too) but the mains didn't impress as much as I had hoped it would.  The grilled platter didn't quite deliver on its promise of cooking method, the quality of prawns could be better and I think the prices for the Norwegian salmon option is on the higher end (seeing that they were just two thin slices).

Someone told me that some of the restaurants/cafes in Pavilion pay close to RM100k in rental.  I wonder if the high rentals are driving food prices up and portions down for the outlets here.  From my last few dining experiences in this mall, that would seem likely! T_T

Nice Catch
Lot 1.18.02 Level 1
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2110 1387

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...