Saturday, 15 December 2018

Steaks & Lobsters @ Desa Sri Hartamas

Prices of steaks have been on the up and up that affordable (but good) steaks are increasingly difficult to find these days.  So much so that when I'm finally confronted with affordably-priced steaks, I second-guess myself if it's any good.  Of course, the safest bet is to go for wagyu beef but we all know how expensive those can be...haiz! :'(

But if there's a place where I remember having a positive dining experience of affordable (yet good) steaks and good (but not so affordable) lobsters, that would be Steaks & Lobsters @ Desa Sri Hartamas (you can check out my previous posts here and here).  So, another visit was due.  Parking in this area is quite nightmarish and you'd be pleased to know that they now offer free valet services if you dine here.

Well, it's pretty obvious from the name of the place as to what their main specialities here are.  The first difference I noticed was the tank that used to be filled with live lobsters was empty (perhaps the 'stock' was waiting to be replenished) or they don't keep so much live 'stock' these days.

After orders were made, we were served complimentary soft and fluffy bread rolls with house-made cinnamon butter.  Not a big fan of this sweet-flavoured butter which tasted sweet, almost like a kaya, would have preferred just a good, plain butter.

We began our meal with one of our favourite starters of Roasted Garlic Escargots @ RM21 (maybe not the best choice if you're on a date!).  The half dozen baked garden snails immersed in a garlic concasse coulis came with slices of toasted baguette that is the perfect 'vehicle' to mop up the sauce.

I have to say the escargots were a pretty good size, way bigger than most of the ones I've had.  The sauce, on the other hand, wasn't quite garlicky enough for was more creamy and buttery than garlicky.

We decided to go with one of their chef recommended dish of Signature Olio Asari Clams @ RM18 as our next starter as I love clams (+ I've already tried most of their other chef recommended starters).

The asari clams could have been fresher (and presentation better) as there were quite a few with broken shells but the well cooked sauce of garlic and chillies in a seafood broth was very savoury to dip the overly generous slices of toasted baguette in.

The Grain-Fed Ribeye (250g) @ RM79 was my option for the main as my initial pick of Pinnacle Grass-Fed Ribeye (MB 2+) @ RM99 wasn't available that day.

The steak came with sides of soft-sweet roasted pumpkinonion that was soft and well-charred to bring out its sweetness, slightly spiced and juicy sweetcorn with chilli flecks and fluffy-on-the-inside steak fries that were freshly fried with a nice crisp exterior.

The last time we were here, our wagyu steak was served with a very tasty black pepper sauce (not that it needed any) but we still asked for seconds to dip our fries in.  This time, I noticed that we got a different tasted like a mushroom sauce but without the intense and earthy taste of mushrooms (which I would have liked) but a strong taste of probably cream and butter (which I didn't like as much).  I'm not sure if this is now the default sauce (or the black pepper sauce is still an option) as we weren't asked what sauce we wanted.

I was a little disappointed when the ribeye first arrived lacking the looks of that wonderful charring that I adore.  Having said that, my medium-rare ribeye was very tender to the bite with a decent flavour (no complaints on that based on the price).  Anyway, we can't compare this to wagyu beef which is more flavourful...and also more expensive (there were even premium ones offered at close to RM400!).  Of course I would have preferred wagyu (but a more affordable 250g wagyu ribeye MB-7 now costs RM229!)...a 300g piece once cost RM198 (RM150 during promotion) when we had it last.

A server did come by to ask how the steak was and I did mention to him that it was a little fattier than I would have liked.  I think he was a little inexperienced when it comes to customer service by underestimating a customer's knowledge about steaks when he proceeded to bring me an uncooked piece to impress upon me that the ribeye is a fatty cut of meat (I may not be totally knowledgeable about steak cuts but I do have some knowledge).  Of course I'm aware that the ribeye is well-marbled and fatty as it's my favourite cut.  Just that I felt this piece had a little too much fat (there was a huge piece of fat in the centre and also a connective strip of fat surrounding the meat) or maybe the cooking did not render down the fats enough as it was lacking that great sear.

He was also the same server who went on and on explaining about the marble score (to a couple seated next to us) when they enquired about the same Pinnacle Grass-Fed Ribeye I tried to order earlier.  Why he would do that when it wasn't available, I have no idea, and, in the end, that's what the couple decided to order and only then he told them it was not what? >_<   On noticing that I was in conversation with the server, a more senior staff approached us to see if she could assist.  She immediately apologised for the fatty cut and said she can get the kitchen to fire up a new piece for me.  By then, I was already half way through my steak, so I thanked her for the gesture and I told her it wasn't necessary as I wouldn't be able to finish the new piece.

Our other next main, we chose a Surf & Turf combo of Angus Ribeye, Jumbo Shrimps & Baby Scallops @ RM105 that featured a 250g Angus ribeye, five jumbo shrimps and a dozen baby scallops.

The dish was complemented by the same delicious sides.  All the sides are refillable...and we loved them all, especially the sweetcorn, but we didn't need any refills as we couldn't even finish the ones on our plates. Because of the refillable sides (which I forgot all about actually), there's really no necessity to order any starters if you aren't a big-eater (and that would also help in making your meal here even more affordable).

From the looks itself, it was obvious that this piece of grain-fed ribeye achieved a better sear and because charring results in a deeper flavour, it ended up tasting much better than my piece.  It's also pretty obvious that this piece was less fatty.

The jumbo shrimps were sweet-tasting and true to its name in terms of size (understandably they look much smaller since these were totally de-shelled).  Appreciate that they were properly deveined too....and no complaints on the freshness.

But that can't be said of the baby scallops though.  They tasted of the frozen kind with a slight fishy taste (I can do without the baby scallops on the plate).  I'd probably add the word 'tiny' in front of baby scallops to truly describe the size...haha! :D

When we were done with our meal, we were presented with Spanish Churros @ RM26 (by the same male server earlier) and our initial thought was that he got it wrong.  I proceeded to tell him that we didn't order this.  He didn't mention that it was on the house.  It was at that instance that the senior female staff came over to tell us that the dessert was complimentary to make up for the earlier not-so-great cut of meat.  I thanked her for the gesture but told her she shouldn't have as we were so full we could barely eat another mouthful.

I don't want to sound ungrateful as it was a very nice gesture on their part but deep down I couldn't help but wished they had offered me a discount on the steak instead.  The fact that I was trying to refrain from eating sugary treats like this didn't help.  We had to summon all our strength to finish at least half of it, otherwise it wouldn't be very gracious of us.

The cinnamon sugar-dusted churros were served with vanilla ice-cream and a chocolate dip.  I shall refrain from giving my take on this complimentary dish as it'll be rather impolite of me to do so, don't you think? ;P

For drinks, we went with refreshing coolers of Berrylicious @ RM10.90 (a mix of wildberry & lemon) and Honey Twister (of honey & lemon) @ RM10.90 also (and realised when writing this that we had the same drinks the last time). >.<

I was in for a little surprise when we settled the bill as I found a 30% discount given on the steak I ordered. It was really nice of them to offer us both a discount and a free dessert to make up for the less-than-stellar piece of meat (which I wasn't expecting at all).  Thumbs up for their courteous and warm-hearted gesture! ;-)

My Personal Opinion

Even though this dining experience wasn't as solid as my previous visits, they're still in my good books for good and affordable steaks (I'm referring to non-Wagyu steaks, of course).  They have good maybe not-so-affordable lobsters (to some of us at least) but obviously reasonably-priced lobsters by market standards.

I applaud their effort of making sure the customer leaves with a positive dining experience instead of just being profit-focussed.  Not many restaurants are willing to do that these days when faced with a situation like this.  How can one stay disappointed after they give you a discount and a free dessert to make up for that little imperfection...I don't think anyone can.

If you're in the mood for steaks this Christmas, you're in luck as they're offering their wagyu cuts at 50% discount till the end of the year (but be prepared to pay more than RM150 even at half price)...shucks, I went too soon! ;P

Steaks & Lobsters
42 Jalan 24/70A
Desa Sri Hartamas
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 012-743 7167

Wishing everyone...

and a.....

It's the holiday season, so....enjoy, 
I'll see you in 2019
(where a small announcement is forthcoming) ^_~

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

How many ways can you eat potatoes?

Fresh off my last post on how many ways can you cook potatoes, here comes one on how many ways can you eat potatoes....and there are many.

What is it about this high-carb food that is so irresistible?  Well, I don't know but I know I just love them...whatever colour, form or shape they come in...hihihi! ;) 

#1 - French Fries (as a Side Dish or Nibble on its own)

Probably the most popular of way of eating them would be as fries!  It's unlikely they're not on menus of most cafes and restaurants as they're a sought-after nibble or bar snack and goes well with any type of drinks.  It's unthinkable to even fathom the next three dishes not accompanied by fries! ^o^

#1.1 - Fish & Chips

#1.2 - Steak & Fries

#1.3 - Burger & Fries

These three are classic combinations and you rarely find one without the other.

#2 - Begedil

favourite of mine when I see it at Malay rice stalls.  The mashed potato patties, studded with beef bits, are coated in egg before being deep-fried.  Love the frizzy, crisp egg bits on the outside and the soft potatoes within.

#3 - Mashed Potatoes (as an accompaniment to any protein)

It's very common to see proteins served on a bed of mashed potatoes as it makes a good base for your protein to sit on, don't you think?

Especially good with gravy and juices from your meat dripping into it...yum! ;)

#4 - Minced Pork (or Chicken) with Potatoes

This is a common dish cooked in many Chinese households.  Goes well with rice and adored by children.

#5 - Cottage or Shepherd's Pie

savoury, meaty, classic comfort food of minced beef or lamb blanketed by a smooth, buttery mashed potato topping.  It's pretty easy to make in large quantities that can feed a lot of people.  Great for freezing too.

#6 - Fisherman's (or Fish) Pie

variation of the meat pie, this one has a filling of fish chunks instead in a white sauce with a topping of creamy mash that's just as delish.

#7 - Chicken Curry & Potatoes

Potatoes in a chicken curry is a must-be-there ingredient.  Sometimes, they end up disappearing even faster than the chicken. ^_~

#8 - Baked Potato Skins

Baked potato skins stuffed with turkey bacon bits and cheese or minced steak chilli con carne (as the case here) is a favourite starter of my spouse when eating out.

#9- Tater Tots

These small cylindrical shaped potatoes are deep-fried till crisp on the outside.  Great as a starter or light bite.

#10 - Ikan Bilis, Kacang & Potatoes in Sambal

This dish of matchstick-sized potatoes with crisp ikan bilis and nuts fried in sambal is usually found in Malay rice stalls.  A favourite of my son, it's great with rice.

#11 - Potato Salad

Who doesn't love a good-old western-style potato salad dressed in mayo...usually perked up with added ingredients of hard-boiled eggs, bacon and chives.

#12 - Japanese Potato Salad

Or how about a Japanese version that's slightly tangy with thin slivers of cucumber and carrots mixed into it with a dash of vinegar?

#13 - Potato Dauphinoise (or Potato Au Gratin)

Potato slices baked in milk, cream, butter and/or cheese for a creamy, soft rendition with a wonderfully browned crust on top.

#14 - Potato Rosti & Latkes

A Swiss version of the classic potato pancake, rosti is made with grated or shredded potato formed into patties and pan-fried till crisp.  Topped with an egg, it's a popular breakfast food European style.  Latkes (a Jewish-style potato pancake if you will) are very similar, usually made with a binding ingredient such as egg.

#15 - Sweet Potato Tempura

A popular choice at Japanese restaurants are sweet potatoes with the lightest tempura batter fried to perfection to yield an enjoyable, crisp bite.

#16 - Potato Hash

These are cubed or diced potatoes that are pan-fried till golden brown, sometimes with onions, bell peppers, carrot and zucchini.  Topped with a fried egg, it turns into a hearty breakfast too.

#17 - Potato Soup

have to say this is one of my least favourite ways to have potatoes.

#18 - Meatballs & Potatoes

Oven-baked (or pan-fried) potatoes and meatballs with gravy is another classic combination that screams comfort food.

#19 - Potato Gnocchi

Gnocchi are fluffy little pillows of deliciousness made with potato and flour.  Pan-seared to achieve the desired browning, they can be eaten on their own or served with a hearty sauce.

#20 - Sweet Potato Balls

Now, these sweet, golden deep-fried sweet potato balls are an absolutely yummy treat fresh out of the wok.  Wonderful as a tea time snack with coffee.

Of course there are still many other ways to eat potatoes (some I've not even heard colcannon & totsagna) but, hey, I can only show you those that I have pics of (or those that I can find) in my archive!  So, what's your favourite way of having potatoes? ^_~

Monday, 10 December 2018

Qian Qian Little Kitchen (New Location) @ Pandan Indah

I have my sister-in-law to thank for telling us that she ate at a new place called Qian Qian Little Kitchen @ Pandan Indah (though she didn't think much of the food).  But little did she know that we've been patronising the shop regularly since 2016.

This is their new location but we weren't aware that they actually relocated to another address in Pandan Indah (coz when we googled it showed us that they were in a different location).  Although it would have been just a matter of time before we'd eventually bump into them again since they're still in our neighbourhood.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, we were 'reunited'.  I did ask the lady boss why the address on Google Maps showed a different location and she said it was her mistake as she left out the word 'Indah' in the street address...oops! >_<

They're essentially a pan mee specialist with some side dishes to complement their main noodles.  They also introduced nasi lemak when they were at their old location.  This time, I noticed they've got a brand new item on their menu they all Creamy Egg Pan Mee @ RM8.90.  It's basically like Cantonese fried noodles in egg gravy (otherwise known as wat tan hor or Kong Foo Chow).  The only difference is that they use pan mee as its noodles.

The dish comes with prawns, slices of lean pork and fish cake (the same fish cake that you can order as a side dish) with vegetables of choy sum and carrot before being topped with a sprinkling of freshly fried shallots.

The noodles are pre-fried into round discs (much like they do with meehoon or sang meen) and the sauce is then poured over it.  I actually liked the fried pan mee noodles as they were light and rather crispy though the gravy could be better tasting but I still enjoyed the noodles nonetheless.  It's now my favourite order here.

There's also the Spicy Creamy Egg Pan Mee @ RM9.90 for those who like a spicy version (something like ma lat pan mee).  It came with the exact same crispy noodles and ingredients as the Creamy Egg Pan Mee...just a lot spicier!

The lady owner confirmed that the original version is very spicy, so I asked for the spiciness to be toned down but it was still too spicy for me! >.<  I think I better stay clear of this one.

I've eaten most of their side dishes which I covered in detail in my two previous posts.  But for old times' sake, here are some of them again.

Fried Fish Cake @ RM6 - somehow I like this light version.

Fried Beancurd Sheet @ RM4.50 (for 5 pcs) - this one can skip.

Fried Wantan @ RM2 (for 3 pcs), portion shown here is RM6 - just something crispy.

The Fried Luncheon Meat @ RM6 (RM1.50 per piece) is always a good order no matter what and theirs is of a good and fragrant quality.

Their Salted Pork @ RM7.90 or fried nam yue (fermented beancurd) pork has obviously seen an improvement in taste over time.

Otak-Otak @ RM5 (for 5 pcs) - order this

Spiced Chicken @ RM4.50 (this one is new, I think).  It's like lor bak, the filling is just passable but, at least, it was freshly fried with a crisp skin.

My default drink order here (since I 'discovered' it) is always the Iced White Coffee @ RM3.50 as it's one of the better-tasting ones I've had even though they used store-bought all-in-one types, so the sweetness can't be tweaked.  If I had a choice, I would have preferred it less sweet.  My other choice would be the Teh Ais (Iced Tea).

My Personal Opinion

For those who are not into noodles, you can have their nasi lemak with either luncheon meat or fried chicken (go for the luncheon meat). ^_~  For a Chinese-style nasi lemak, they do justice to the sambal (but a little on the salty side).  The thing they need to improve is the always the over-fried egg.

Still a regular spot for our family weekday dinners even though we don't fancy their pan mee all that much. It's always for the nasi lemak and side dishes...and now the Creamy Egg Pan Mee for me. ^o^

Qian Qian Little Kitchen 
5G Jalan Pandan Indah 4/6
Pandan Indah
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-4287 7333

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...