Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Ficelle Boulangerie & Patisserie (Baked Goods) @ Pandan Indah

I can still remember how popular Levain Boulangerie & Pattisserie first outlet in Imbi was when they first opened (I think it was about 10 years ago)...and they're still around to this day.  This French-style bakery and cafe was the cafe to visit then before they opened a string of other bakeries and cafes that includes Fougasse, Ficelli and Shakespeare.  Shakespeare has since closed and Fougasse has been renamed Ficelli.

I was fortunate enough to have a branch open in my neighbourhood back then (in 2012), Fougasse Boulangerie & Pattisserie, which I had blogged about in 2014 and 2015.  The place is now known as Ficelle Boulangerie & Pattisserie @ Pandan Indah.

Although I've stopped patronising the place for hot food here for a few years already (I suppose breakfast dishes are still ok if you don't have too high an expectation), it's still the bakery I go to for baked goods and sandwiches.  There are still no other bakeries here except for one or two smaller ones and if there were, they don't seem to last very long (and that's probably the reason for the longevity of this bakery).

My absolute favourite is the Tuna Corn Bun @ RM3 that's filled with decent tasting tuna flakes and corn.  Just having one of this (nah, two would be better) with a cup of coffee makes an ideal breakfast for me.

I like the burst of juices of the corn in my mouth when I bite into the soft and adequately tuna-filled bun.  I have this for breakfast quite often, sometimes for supper too when I'm naughty (I'd purposely buy an extra one and keep it for later). ^o^

Their Croissant @ RM2.90 is probably one of their most popular item here, flaky and crisp (it used to be even flakier before), airy and slightly buttery at the same time (some would prefer it to be more buttery, I suppose).  Better than some from well known bakeries even.

The Turkey Ham Croissant @ RM3.80 is just like their ultra crisp and flaky plain croissant, only this one has ham inside.

Another favourite is the Turkey Ham & Eggs Bun @ RM3.90 and this one is quite filling, so one is enough for a light breakfast or as something for coffee break (or tea time for non-coffee lovers). ^_*

The soft bun comes topped with mashed hard-boiled eggs (now why wouldn't that be a favourite of mine) with mayo and some small turkey slices inside.

The Mini Pumpkin Bread @ RM3, decorated with a few pumpkin seeds, is a soft roll filled with not too sweet pumpkin paste.

The Mashed Potato & Ham Bun @ RM3.40 is a soft bun with a slight crisp exterior encased with a generous amount of really soft mashed potatoes with pieces of ham in between.  If you like to eat mashed potatoes, you'll enjoy this bun.

The Mexican Bun @ RM3.50 is a coffee-flavoured bun studded with chocolate chips.  It didn't have enough of coffee flavour for me...and they don't taste anything like the coffee buns from Rotiboy (even though they too aren't as good as they used to be).

I buy the Octopus Bun @ RM2.90 just for the cuteness factor.  Taste wise, it's just a simple bun with a processed sausage inside that's cut to resemble octopus tentacles.

The Honey French Toast @ RM3.80 is a sizeable round loaf of bread with honey, not too sweet but also not too good quality honey. >_<

I also buy the Raisin Roll (3 pcs) @ RM4.30 and Butter Roll (3 pcs) @ RM2.90 quite frequently as they're aren't sweet and can be kept (for a few days)...but they may be too airy and not buttery enough for some.  I would eat them with an extra spread of butter (or jam) though for more flavour.

Besides, their sandwiches (chicken ham & egg or tuna & ham) is a breakfast staple for me.  Good on the go and great with a cup of hot coffee.

My Personal Opinion

I like simple buns like these, not elaborate ones with too much cream or sugar, so it's a super convenient place for me to get my hands on some baked goods and sandwiches for a light breakfast as there's no other bakery option here really.

Their baked goods and pastries are average at best.  If I have at my disposal some better bakeries here, this probably wouldn't be my pick.....but beggars can't be choosers....this will have to do for now until a nicer one comes along in my neighbourhood (and that's probably the main reason why they've lasted so long). ^_~

Ficelle Boulangerie & Patisserie
No 25G Jalan Pandan Indah 4/6A
Pandan Indah
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-4280 0618

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Yi Poh @ PJ Old Town

It was in one of our recent visits to Jin Xuan Hong Kong for dim sum one Sunday morning that I noticed Yi Poh @ PJ Old Town just next to it across the road.

Yi Poh sounded like Ipoh to me (in Cantonese) but was told that it's actually grandma's sister (in Chinese). This restaurant, headquartered in Seremban, is best known for its loh shi fun (a recipe that dates back to 1948).

To start, I had to try the famed loh shi fun, so I went with the Yi Poh Lo C Fun (Dry) @ RM6.30 (for small) with char siew and minced pork.  Give the noodles a quick toss in its soy-based sauce (with pork lard fragrance) for a pretty delicious mouthful.

The rice noodles here are unique in that they look more like lai fun noodles (used in assam laksa) than the short noodles with pointy ends we're more accustomed to (which we also call loh shi fun or rat-tail noodles). One taste of the noodles and I soon realised that the texture is closer to (and firmer like) loh shi fun rather than gummy or soft like lai fun.

The bowl of soup that came with the dry loh shi fun was peppery hot but (luckily) that wasn't the same soup base (phew!) for the Yi Poh Lo C Fun (Soup) @ RM6.30.  This soup base was rather tasty and I enjoyed it very much.

On another visit, I tried the Soup Hor Fun @ RM6.30 and immediately regretted my choice.  That's because I detected the hor fun (aka kway teow) had a very slight offensive taste (that I disliked in some kway teow) but, at least, this was still edible.

Not So Fun Fact: Recently I finally decided to ask a noodle shop owner (I'm a regular at her shop) if there is such a thing as offensive kway teow that I've tasted.  Guess what was the first thing she said to me.  She said the noodles have this cockroach smell, right? >_<  She suspects it has something to do with the ingredient (rice or the poor quality of it) used to manufacture the noodles or the unhygienic handling/storage of the noodles (like cockroaches walking over the noodles).  Yikes!...I'd rather hope (and believe) it's something to do with the manufacturing process (be it rice, oil or chemicals) rather than the disgusting notion of cockroach contamination (in the factory or of the noodles!!).  So's real...I'm so glad to know that I'm not out of mind and that some people have had a similar experience.  I've even experienced it with meehoon and rice (though it's more rare).

The Yi Poh Hakka Mee @ RM6.30 is another noodle dish that Yi Poh is well known for.  And that's precisely why the char siew served here is more reddish-coloured (that's commonly served with Hakka mee) and is almost 100% lean.

You can also opt for Yi Poh Wantan Mee @ RM6.30 but don't hold your breath for dark coloured, sweetish, caramelised char siew that's a hallmark at other wantan mee stalls coz the ones here are similar to the ones you get with Hakka noodles.

The wantan mee is served with two meaty soup wantans and one fried wantan + some greens of choy sum. The wantan noodles here have more bite than those springy types and the flavour of the sauce is pretty decent.

Condiments of pickled green chillies and sambal for you to add to perk up your noodles (if you wish) are available at tableside but I found the taste of the sambal to be among some of the worst I've eaten.  You can even find jars of this sambal for sale at the restaurant but if they're similar to the ones on the table...thanks but no thanks! >_<

They also have a couple of side orders you can add on to complement your meal like pork balls, pork tendon balls, Thai tofu, Thai fish balls, fish balls, soup wantans, fried wantans, pork stomach soup and vegetables.

We got an order of Pig Stomach Soup @ RM6.90 which came sprinkled with lots of Chinese coriander (I like!) and some fried shallots in a peppery soup that my spouse said was not hot enough (by that he meant peppery, not panas).  It certainly was hot enough when I had it the first time as a bowl of soup with my dry noodles but that was lunch time...and this was in the morning (maybe that's why...the longer it steeps or boils, the hotter it becomes).  At home, when I make hot pepper soup, I would transfer the soup out and discard the peppercorns at the bottom coz I once left them steeping in the pot and the soup became much hotter at dinner time.

Their meaty Fried Wantans @ RM1 (a piece) were rather good.....freshly fried, crispy and not greasy at all, meaning the oil was perfectly hot (you can see from the pic that there's none of that glistening surface on the wantan skins).  I should have ordered time I will! ;)

Golden Fireworks @ RM6.90 were fried enoki mushrooms dusted with chilli powder and fried with curry leaves.  I wasn't a fan of the batter and the seasoning of salt was too heavy-handed.  Not sure why it was served with fried wantan skins at the side which were bland and tasteless.

We ordered a plate of greens of Choy Sum @ RM6.90 on my first visit with my sister-in-law (she asked for the oyster sauce to be omitted).  They came with crispy pork lard on top (not that I'm complaining).

For drinks, I had the refreshing Kedondong Juice @ RM5.40 on my first visit that was pretty acceptable though not the best around.  The Iced White Coffee @ RM4.40 on my second visit certainly ranks among some of the worst tasting white coffees I've had.  Not only that but the iced coffee was served lukewarm with not a piece of ice in sight (probably they made the drink too hot and the ice melted instantly).  I noticed a customer asking for more ice for his coffee...and so did I.

My Personal Opinion

Your best bet here, in my opinion, is their loh shi fun in a delicious soup base (so, you must like loh shi fun to begin with to come away with an enjoyable meal).....complemented by (perhaps) a side order of satisfying fried wantans.

Yi Poh Restaurant
A19 Ground Floor
Jalan Pasar 1/21
PJ Oldtown
46000 Selangor
Tel: 03-7772 1027

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Bo All Day Dining @ The Linc KL

The Linc KL is probably one of the most instagrammable malls in KL though this two-storey mall isn't quite a shopping mall like others but one influenced by art and art installations with a few home-grown stores for retail experience.

Of course, we (my sisters-in-law and I) made prior arrangements to be here for the same take photos of some of these instagram-worthy spots.  Once we did our requisite walkabout and photo-taking, it was time for lunch and my sister-in-law suggested this place (a place that she and her husband had eaten in before).

This place is referred to by many names...Bo & Banker, Bo All Day Dining, Bo Dining, B + B (or BNB).  I can understand the B + B moniker since they have Bo & Banker, Bricks & Barrels (ipoh) and the soon to be launched, Box & Butterfly.  But I think I'll go with the name of Bo All Day Dining @ The Linc KL (since it's on the menu, it's on Google and it's the most commonly used one by other food blogs).

The menu offers a range of starters for sharing, soups, salads, burgers & sandwiches, wood-fired pizzas, western mains, Asian favourites, desserts, breakfast & brunch specials, set lunch specials and tea time delights, so there are more than enough choices to keep everyone happy.

Besides their a la carte menu, set lunch specials are also offered on weekdays from 11am - 3pm and, on that particular day, we had 5 choices to choose from.  The set lunch special comes at RM28 (for 2 courses, beverage & main) and RM35 (for 3 courses, beverage, main & dessert).

And because it was listed in the menu as 2 or 3 courses (they should have said 3 or 4 courses), we were oblivious of the fine print that also mentioned that a deli salad (with unlimited refills) was included until much later...when our main course arrived and the server reminded us (probably after noticing that we didn't help ourselves to the salad).  On that day, we could have our fill of three...coleslaw, cous cous salad and mixed lettuce with a choice of Thousand Island or their house sauce from the deli counter.

Our first pick was the Rotisserie Quarter Roast Chicken (since it was their signature dish + my sis-in-law also highly recommended it), brined and air-dried for 24 hours before being slow-roasted in their French-made Rotisol rotisserie oven.  Unfortunately, it was sold out. I guess I'll have to try this another day then. Their Rotisserie Roast Chicken can be ordered a la carte as well (RM28 for quarter, RM42 for half & RM75 for a whole chicken).

So we settled for their Seafood Aglio Olio Supreme instead @ RM28 with fresh tiger prawns, clams, mussels, squid and bird's eye chillies (this dish is also available a la carte at RM42 with probably more seafood and a bigger portion?).

There was quite a generous serving of seafood though the prawns tasted like the frozen kind with an overly crunchy texture but devoid of sweetness of sea prawns + the clams could be fresher.  I also didn't detect any bird's eye chillies but the red chilli flakes were sufficient to bring some heat that's required of an aglio olio. The pasta was cooked just right, al dente without being too oily.  Overall, the dish was pleasant enough.

We were curious about the Wagyu Fat Char Kway Teow @ RM28 and picked that for our next dish.  This was wok-fried flat noodles with wagyu beef fat and grilled tiger prawns served with sauteed bok choy, fish crackers, shredded carrot and chillies + a dried chilli sambal (RM36 if ordered a la carte).  There was only one tiger prawn (though it was quite huge) and this one was at least of the fresh kind with a firm texture.

The wok-fried flat noodles weren't particularly outstanding but biting into the wagyu beef fat was a bit off-putting as they came in rather large pieces and some pieces weren't all that crispy.  I initially thought the wagyu beef fat would be more fatty beef but it actually turned out to be just fat only (much like chee yau char, only this one is not from the oink-oink but from the moo-moo).  Perhaps if it had been fried crispier and cut smaller (like pork lard crisps), it would have turned out better.  It definitely needed a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of the dried chilli sambal to cut through all that fattiness.

As the rest of the set lunch specials didn't interest us, we went with an a la carte order of Pan-Seared Red Snapper @ RM48 with lemon olive oil mash, poached pears and a citrus salad laced with a refreshing mayo-like sauce.

I was taken aback by just how huge the fillet was when it arrived, certainly well worth the price paid.  At first bite, it was the acidity and freshness of the whole dish that made it truly stand out for me.  The snapper fillet was fresh, tender and flaky...and the skin was perfectly crispy with a tangy hint of freshly grated lemon zest and (what looked like) chimichurri sauce on top.

The citrus salad of grapefruit, lemon and poached pears with radicchio and pea sprouts gave it the desired crunch and zesty flavours.  Even the potato mash tasted tangy because of the lemon olive oil.  It made the whole dish that much lighter and more appetising.  Just don't eat the whole piece of lemon like it's a piece of fruit (as the sourness will make you cringe) but cut a small piece of it and eat it together with a bit of fish and mash for a tasty, well balanced bite.

My Ice Latte (drinkable) & Ice Lemon Tea (from the set lunch)

With my tummy full, I can't very well end my post without showing you the photos I took of the The Linc. After all, it was the many beautifully taken shots of the greenery and artistic value of the place I saw on blogs that first tempted me to visit the place, so here are some of the shots I took (but you might want to check out better photos of them here, here and here) since my phone camera is ciplak and I suck at photography.

One of the two most instagrammable spots is definitely the majestic old tree that was retained to take centre stage with the mall design built around it.

#1 - Majestic-looking Tree

This tall, grand tree sprouting from the centre of the mall certainly gives you a sense of tranquility and nature just standing amongst the greenery.

The other much talked about instagram-worthy spot would be the colourful art installation of paper doves in rainbow colours hanging from the skylight.

#2 - Rainbow Paper Doves

There are more than 40,000 folded paper doves in 40 colours, it seems.

It's even more beautiful when natural sunlight streams down in the afternoons.

#3 - Rainbow Staircase

Besides the rainbow colours of the paper doves, there's also the rainbow-coloured steps ready for you to strike your best post...standing up or seated down. ^_*

#4 - Luna Lana Light Bulbs

As you stroll through the mall, unique artwork in the form of wall murals painted in vibrant colours emerge beckoning you to pause a moment and take a snapshot.

#5 - Flora & Fauna Mural with 3-D Butterflies

#6 - The Gift of Trees.....what a wonderful gift to us all :)

#7 - Hornbill

#8 - (Proboscis) Monkey & Leopard (or is that a Cheetah?) ^_~

#9 - Octopus (in disguise) & Wooden Hut

Whether it's artwork or greenery, you can find influences of that too in the eateries at this mall, notably in De.Wan 1958 by Chef Wan, Bo All Day Dining and Bean Brothers to name a few.

#10 - Bo All Day Dining

My Personal Opinion

Its beautiful interior and classy ambience invites you to come and linger to savour reasonably-priced western mains and Asian favourites, some of which should please.  Luckily, we chose the 2-course set lunch (since the dessert on that day, bread pudding, wasn't something we fancied) which actually turned out to be a 3-course lunch (with the refillable salad).  This was very filling and really good value at RM28!  Count yourself lucky (if you happen to work around the area) as you can feast on such great value set lunch specials. ^_~

But, most of all, it's the attraction and charm of a little tropical oasis in the heart of KL, within a non-crowded mall with a quiet ambience, that makes it the perfect destination for those who want to relax and take a stroll in a non-hectic mall.

I'm sure I'll be back since there are quite a few potential food options to explore in this mall.

Bo All Day Dining
Lot 1-10 & 1-11 The Linc
No 360 Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 017-211 2842

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