Saturday, 4 January 2014

Victoria Station (2014 New Year's Set Menu) @ Ampang

Welcome my first post for 2014!  Everyone has been saying that the year 2014 is going to be a tough one, so let's tighten our belts and spend.....wisely!
Along these lines, I thought I would start the year with a value-for-money New Year's Set Menu at one of my favourite 'go-to' places for affordable steaks, Victoria Station (VS) @ Ampang.
Before I get to the food....a little 'history' between me and this steakhouse.  This is a place I like to frequent for its affordable, fairly decent steaks and close proximity to where I stay (although I have been to their Medan Damansara Station as well).  They have other stations in PJ, USJ, Bayan Baru and Seberang Jaya too.
Over the years, I have eaten their a la carte menu as well as set menus on quite a few occasions before.  This was the last set menu I tried there.
This set comprised of their starter of a battered piece of fish, accompanied with a Thai chilli dressing, a soup, a steak served with their VS sauce, a dessert of panna cotta and coffee to round up the meal.  All in all, the dishes were pleasant enough and definitely value-for-money.
So, with that in mind, I decided to go for their 2014 New Year's Set Menu @ RM89.90....and, boy, did I make a "mis-steak" (pun intended)!
The set meal started off with an appetiser of Lobster Claw with Cream Cheese & Papaya.  The smooth, velvety cream cheese with small chunks of papaya lent a unique flavour to the whole lobster claw.  Sadly, you can taste that the lobster claw was clearly of the 'frozen kind' as there wasn't an ounce of freshness or sweetness at all and the claw was pretty hard and, obviously, not 'defrosted' enough.  If this was a hint of what is to follow.....I'm in for some major disappointment!
Next up was a Creamy Celeriac Soup with Apple & Walnuts.  The addition of walnuts gives it the crunch while the apple adds some sharpness to the creaminess of the soup.  This soup was ok, for me, as it was different, but not everyone is gonna like celeriac though.
The main course (which looked better than it tasted) featured an offering of Half Lobster with Chanterelle Sauce with a choice of Grilled Grain-Fed Sirloin (or you can opt for the Chicken Roulade served with VS Roast Sauce).  It is served with jacket (baked) potato and prime vegetables (of cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and corn.
Again, the Half Lobster tasted like the 'frozen kind' and was far from succulent.  It looked more like a crayfish in terms of size.  What saved this dish was the luscious chanterelle sauce (an excellent edible type of mushroom).  The Sirloin Steak, on the other hand, was the thinnest piece of steak I had ever seen (it's 1/2 inch at the most, but probably less than that).  Although the flavour of the meat was alright, it had a layer of inedible fat at the top and some sinew in between the meat.  The best thing on the plate, unfortunately, was the jacket potato...sigh....which I finished completely, something I don't normally do when the other components on the dish are good.

The dessert was supposed to be a Summer Berry Pudding but they served me the one on the left instead.  It looked like a traditional minced pie with some kind of fruit cake.  When I complained that it tasted like yesteryear's frozen (and hard) Xmas leftovers (and I was right)...this was the dessert that came with their 2013 Xmas Set Menu!  They then replaced it with the right dessert, not that it made any difference because this dessert was unpalatable as well.  It's made up of bread soaked in a concoction of mixed berries juice with a mixture of fresh berries inside.  The dessert was just too tart to eat.
Finally, the meal ended with an invigorating cup of brewed coffee (or tea).....the perfect way to end an otherwise imperfect meal and it couldn't have come any sooner!
My Personal Opinion
This was the worst set menu I have eaten at VS.  Over the years, I have eaten their set menus on a number of occasions, and they have tasted alright but, after this disappointing meal, the better option is to go 'a la carte'.
Lessons Learnt:
  1. Never go for their set menus even though the price may be cheaper and value-for-money.
  2. You just can't get a decent half lobster at that price because, if you do, they are probably 'frozen' and 'dead' for a long time.
  3. The only way to eat lobster is to eat live ones---those still kicking and swimming in the tank!  Better still, if they bring a live one to your table for your approval first (a good size would be one that is at least 800g).  I had one like that many years ago in VS and I can still remember vividly that the flesh was succulent and sweet.
  4. Don't attempt to eat a dessert that, if thrown at someone, can cause a concussion!
  5. Never go on festive/special occasions because that's when they are really busy and the food suffers as a result.
  6. Last but no least, if you still want to go for their set menus, read the menu carefully---if you see any lobster claw or half lobster in the menu.....NO, if you see any kind of pudding or minced pie....NO, (thin) sirloin.....NO!
Even though I had a bad dining experience this time around at VS (maybe their chef had an 'off' day), I am not going to let this one time mar my opinion of them just yet, but instead give them the benefit of the doubt, as their a la carte menu had turned out quite well each time.
I will try their steaks again, just to be sure that they are still the 'House of Fine Steak', as claimed (no more set menus for me), and post another review here soon.
Victoria Station
House of Fine Steak
243 Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-4257 3388

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