Thursday, 27 August 2015

Beam @ Bandar Sri Damansara

After a delightful brunch at Fork D World, we proceeded to our next destination for our caffeine fix...Beam @ Bandar Sri Damansara
BEAM (abbreviation for Bean Expedition at Manufactory), opened a little over a year ago, is located in an industrial area that's a bit off the beaten track. 
The surroundings isn't a pretty sight (with many unflattering car repair shops) but push through the doors and you'll be greeted with the feel of spaciousness (with high ceilings and seatings not cramped together) and the warmth of the place illuminated by the many hanging light bulbs.
The menu is rather limited to basically paninis, salads, cakes and nyonya kuih....and coffee, of course.  Although we already had our fill at our last venue, I just had to order one of the paninis to try since they're recommended by many blogs.  We had the Beef Bacon Panini @ RM18 served with a side of potato salad and some leafy greens.  The panini was nice and toasty but the gooey cheese was a bit much (even for my friends who love lots of cheese).  I think I enjoyed the side salad more than the panini.

Besides cakes, Beam also offers a small selection of nyonya kuih which you can clearly see and pick from the counter.  All goes well with a good cup (or glass) of coffee!

This was the Pulut Tekan (aka Pulut Tai-Tai) @ RM2.20 served with kaya.  This is a traditional nyonya kuih of steamed blue glutinous rice which get its colour from the blue pea flower aka bunga telang.  We enjoyed this as the glutinous rice was sufficiently soft and the homemade kaya was not overly sweet (but I wouldn't mind a bit more kaya on the plate though).

Another nyonya kuih you can find here is the kuih angku.  This is the Purple Sweet Potato and Orange Sweet Potato Angku (with mashed mung or green bean filling) @ RM1.50 each.  I did like that the skin (made from a combination of glutinous rice flour and sweet potato) was silky thin and sticky but the filling turned out crumbly and a bit dry (not the smooth paste I'm used to).  This one certainly looked better than it tasted.
When at Beam, a 'must order' is their signature cake, When Tea Meets Coffee @ RM8.50, which is actually a jasmine tea infused cake served with a shot of coffee caramel.  This miniature cake was incredibly light and spongy and I think it went well with the coffee caramel (poured over it) that tasted more bitter than sweet but some in our group preferred the cake on its own...they didn't want the tea to meet the coffee, in other words! ;D  Either way, it's a good cake, not sweet.....and mighty pretty too.

Looking at how this cake was described, it tempted me to order a slice of the It's Real Banana Cake @ RM3.90.  There was an intense banana flavour in the cake and I was more than happy with the texture and flavour...and it stayed true to its name....there was a layer of real (and ripe) chunks of bananas!  Definitely could eat a few more pieces of this :)
But the main reason why everyone flock to this place is for their speciality....and that's their coffee.  I guess their food will 'always be the bridesmaid but never the bride'! :D  These were the coffees we had:
Beam Signature Ice Coffee @ RM10.50
(their all time best seller)
The Bee Ice Coffee @ RM13
(just as popular...a mixture of espresso, honey and milk)
Hazelnut Mocha (Cold) @ RM15
Hazelnut Latte (Cold) @ RM15
(my favourite)
Caramel Macchiato (Cold) @ RM15

Though I like to drink coffee and have drank endless cups, I'm no coffee, for me, there's just two types of that I like and coffee that I don't! ;D  Most of the coffees here I did like...except maybe the Caramel Macchiato.

My Personal Opinion

The cafe's atmosphere will be liked by many, I'm sure.  It's a nice place to chill and hang out with friends over a cup of coffee. 
The coffees may be the star attraction here but making a stand is their 'When Tea Meets Coffee' and 'It's Real Banana' cakes, which are a wonderful accompaniment to the coffees, to round up a gratifying caffeine experience.

Beam (Roastery Café)
No 25 Jalan Gangsa SD5/3B
Bandar Sri Damansara
52200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-6261 8255

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Just One Food - Cockles

Who doesn't like cockles?  Not me!  But many will refrain from eating for fear of getting Hepatitis A.  Yes, you do run the risk of getting Hepatitis A from eating contaminated raw or partially cooked cockles (you can too from any other contaminated shellfish like oysters, clams, mussels or la-la for that matter) but you can also easily contract it from contaminated food and water in general (by contamination, it means food and water contaminated by human waste like sewage-contaminated sea water).  So, why only cockles get a bad rap for this? >_<
I've been reading a lot of articles in the papers last month about the shortage and dwindling supply of cockles from Kuala Sepetang, the largest cockle breeding ground in Malaysia.  Harvest was reported to have dropped by 90% causing prices spiraling upwards for these cockles.  Unless something is done to arrest this diminishing cockle yield, there will come a time when they will no longer be available.  In fact, many cockle farmers have quit (or are planning to quit) because of the dwindling harvests, their cockles dying and the losses suffered.

After reading these articles, I went looking for a plate of cockles to appease my craving just in case I don't get to do that in future. 

And what better way to eat cockles then to have them lightly blanched in hot water resulting in barely cooked, blood dripping cockles! :D :D :D  I've not eaten it this way for a long time, so, I'm due for one, don't you think?  I better have some before it's too late :)

To enjoy these almost raw cockles, you need a 'kick-ass' chilli accompaniment and this one fits the bill......a bit watery but it still kicks up a storm!

Just look at that plump and juicy cockle that needs just a dip in the fresh chilli sauce.  Put it in your mouth and thank me later! *muacks*
Well, guess how much I had to pay for this plate of cockles?  I think there were probably about 40 or so cockles on the plate.  I'd say these are medium-sized, definitely not the puny small ones, with a few larger ones.  I paid RM9!!! O_o  I was like....what!  I couldn't believe my ears!  That just goes to show how much the price has gone up. T_T

The signs of trouble started since 2012 and if these problems are not resolved quickly, it'll only be a matter of time before cockles completely disappear from our favourite dishes like char kway teow, curry noodles and "lok-lok".  I can't imagine my plate of char kway teow or bowl of curry noodles without just won't be the same! :'(  Of course, on the other side of things, some will not miss it at all especially those who have already omitted this 'forbidden fruit' from their diet.....for health reasons...I'm just not one of them!

You might not have the opportunity later, it's now or never.  So, have yourself some blood cockles......they're bloody good!! ;)

Monday, 24 August 2015

Tokyo Kitchen @ ikon Connaught

We didn't want to take the chance to venture to the city centre due to the traffic lockdown for the KL City Grand Prix in case there's a massive jam.
So, we decided to go towards Cheras for dinner that weekend.  I chose Tokyo Kitchen @ ikon Connaught after seeing a reasonably good review on it.  And since they have 8 branches in Klang Valley (from their Facebook), I thought it should be alright.
Walking in, I must say that I was intrigued by the lovely décor of the place.  I was liking my first impression already.  Little did I know that this would be the only thing I'd be impressed with.
Our meal started with an order of one piece each of the following roasted sushi: Roasted Salmon, Salmon Toro, Red Tuna & White Tuna @ RM4.30/pc.  This was how it looked like in the menu.
This was what we looked like they've died and went to heaven!  The top two were the salmon while the bottom two were the red and white tuna...and they didn't look anywhere near torched.  The white tuna one was probably the best (or shall I say the least worst) of the lot as all four weren't exceptionally fresh, especially the red tuna which looked dry (a sign that it has probably been in the fridge for way too long).

From the stand menu on the table offering some seasonal items, I ordered the Ko Ebi Karaage (Fried Shrimps) @ RM9.80 for sharing.  These were crispy and acceptable although some of the shrimp heads were detached from the shrimps (a sign that they were not super fresh).

Another was the Salmon Gyoza Karaage @ RM16.80 (for 5 pcs).  These fried salmon dumplings were chewy and barely crispy.  In fact, it looked like the dumplings were not properly drained of its oil before they were served.  But what was worse was that the minced salmon filling didn't taste all that fresh.

For our mains, I went with the Beef Teriyaki @ RM23.80 (with additional bowl of rice @ RM2.80) since it was recommended as a 'must try' by a blog.  As far as I was concerned, it was more of a 'must avoid' kind of dish.  I've never had beef quite as bad as this in a Japanese restaurant before.
The grilled beef with teriyaki sauce was so overcooked, it was tough, dry and chewy.  It had this very beefy 'not in a good way' smell to it (not sure if that's due to the beef being not fresh or the type of beef).
I tried dunking it into some Japanese soy but it didn't help either as the soy tasted like a poor quality one.
I had to request for some pickled ginger to help relieve my taste buds! >.<  Well, at least I was glad to see that the pickled ginger was sliced extremely thin but then it was also extremely tart.
The other main we were attracted to was the Ebi Tempura Don with Black Sauce @ RM23.80 as it was different from the ebi tempura don we usually have.  The tempura prawns and the batter were alright, just that the black sauce didn't do anything for us.
More interesting was this paper mat on our table....note the print out at the corner of the paper.  I shudder at the thought of how this could be true! :D  Anyway, I snapped a photo of it, not because of this but, because I have a story to tell.  When we were seated, we noticed that some of these paper mats on the table were used ones and have stains on them! o_O  I realised then that the restaurant don't replace all the paper mats once the diners leave (and we saw it with our own eyes when the some of the tables were vacated).  The wait staff would replace some (the dirtier ones I suppose) but not all. cheapskate can the restaurant be (well, if you can't afford to replace a simple paper mat, then don't have it at all)!!  I don't think the wait staff is at fault, they've probably been told to do so.  As if the food wasn't bad enough, this thing sure was!
Our drinks:
Iced Lemon Tea @ RM6.80
I was attracted by the Honey Milk with Red Bean @ RM6.80 which, surprisingly, turned out to be pretty good, so much so that I'd like to show you two pics of it...kekeke ;)  I don't usually enjoy the taste of milk but this honey milk I liked.

I thoroughly enjoyed the sweetness of the softened red beans in a not overly sweet cold honey milk concoction.  It ended up to be the best tasting thing on the table! T_T

My Personal Opinion

Regrettably, I was more impressed with the décor than the food.  What I had, I wouldn't want seconds....except for the cold honey milk with red bean...that I want!

With a meal that cost RM65 a person, I can surely find better options elsewhere.  I'd much rather have a sumptuous bowl of Tendon @ RM26 at Yuzu anytime.
Am I enticed to return to sample other food?  Not unless you have a gun to my head! >.<

Tokyo Kitchen
Lot G-01 & GR-01 ikon Connaught
Jalan Puncak Gading
Taman Connaught
56000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-9108 3080

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Fork D World @ Damansara Perdana

Last Saturday, my food crawl with friends brought us to the Damansara Perdana area looking for a newly opened café serving wholesome comfort food with emphasis on bacon, bacon and even more bacon!  The place is Fork D World @ Damansara Perdana and JoAnn Tan's first foray into the restaurant business. 
A home cook with a bubbly personality best describes JoAnn who has been cooking since she was 10 (which I found out when she engaged me in conversation later), a time when the rest of us were probably still playing with our "masak-masak" (cooking toys).  It's precisely this perky persona that has her injecting a bit of humour into the name of her café and the description of some of her dishes.
Finding the place was a little bit tricky (especially for one of us) as this one-month old cafe's signboard was still not up.  Luckily, one of their staff was sharp enough to spot a hungry entourage and came out to beckon us in! :D
We ordered a couple of starters (for sharing) from their nibbles menu.  This was the Bacon Twist @ RM18 which featured four twists of puff pastry encased with sharp cheddar and wrapped in bacon.  Anything wrapped in wrapped in love! ;)
The twist was baked to perfection with its fragrant and slightly charred bacon, the crispy puff pastry and the gooey cheese all worked in unison to create a moreish bite of food!
We enjoyed the Bacon Twist so much that we went with an extra order of the Bacon Bombs @ RM18 which came with eight little nuggets of mozzarella cheese, encased within a crusty puff pastry, and (again) wrapped in love.  These were deep fried to crunchy perfection, finished with a sprinkling of brown sugar (which it didn't need, in my opinion), and skewered with some cherry tomatoes for a burst of freshness. 
The menu described it as 'da bomb' and I suppose it was though, personally, I liked the bacon twist more.  Some may say that RM18 is a bit much to pay for just 4 twists or 8 bombs but I beg to differ.  These are streaky bacon we're talking about and they don't come cheap (if you've bought them before to make breakfast at home, you'd know).  I paid more than RM14 for just 6 pieces of streaky bacon (and that's last year's price).  These dishes probably need 4 pieces of bacon each, so RM18 is, in fact, quite reasonable.
Our last item from the nibbles menu were these Cheesy Bacon Garlic Toasts @ RM10 which I thought the little ones would like...but ended up the adults adored it too!  Nothing quite like a garlic toast made with fresh garlic and topped with bacons crumbs and just the right amount of cheese.  I could eat the whole plate myself.....yum! =)
After these itty bitty bites, we were ready for something more substantial and you'll be glad to hear that their breakfast menu is available all day.  We skipped the usual big breakfast and went with Eggs Florentine @ RM18.  The Eggs Florentine version here is made up of poached eggs on top of a bed of rocket (instead of the usual recipe made with baby spinach), streaky bacon and sautéed mushrooms with a drizzle of hollandaise sauce on rye bread.
I also loved the fact that the poached eggs here are done free style, and not in a mould (like many places).  I think this method produces a much softer egg white than the slightly rubbery ones done in a mould.  But I wonder how long they can keep this up as it's difficult to do it this way when the kitchen becomes super busy.  The oozy egg yolk passed the eggs cooked to perfection test.  I think substituting baby spinach with rocket gives the dish a slight bitterness and peppery flavour that I liked.  Overall, a very good and successful dish that I will gladly have seconds.

Next up was the Baked Eggs Breakfast @ RM18, a common dish on many cafes' breakfasts menus but what attracted me to this one is the description of the eggs baked in a bacon cup.  Look at the bacon doing a peekaboo from underneath the eggs...and to know that it's lining the bottom of the cup makes you want to dig in straight away! ;)
The baked eggs remained runny even as we ate because it was served in a porcelain dish (and not a heat retention vessel like a cast iron pan, in some places, which would continue to cook the eggs).  It was served with some hard but very crunchy sticks of toast which were excellent for dipping into the baked eggs.
With two egg dishes already, I decided to go with a Salmon Pot Pie @ RM18 from their pies+tarts+quiches menu.  This beautiful golden crust of the baked pot pie was filled with salmon chunks, carrot, potatoes and celery in a cream sauce.
The salmon chunks within were incredibly soft and tender (unlike some really overcooked salmon chunks I've had before)....and the cream sauce was not overly thick and creamy (like some that can be cloying in the end).  And what can I say about the puff thin, light and crisp!  You'd want to tear off every last bit of the pastry.  This is a pot pie I won't want to share coz I'd want the whole thing for favourite, hands down! ;D
To finish off, I thought we'd go for a light dish with a zesty flavour.  I ordered the Lime & Chilli Shrimp Pasta @ RM18 from their pasta menu.  Finally, a refreshing pasta that's not 'heavy' (creamy based) or swimming in oil.  This pasta with sautéed shrimps, tossed in chillies and spring onions, was simple but scrumptious.

Just as we were coming to the end of our meal, Jo-Ann reiterated that we must try her brownies and so Orange Chocolate Brownie @ RM12 it is then!  I'm not much of a brownie fan but I did find the brownie moist with an oozy, chocolaty layer inside.  My friends seemed to enjoy the decadent brownie.
As we had plans to head somewhere else for coffee, we opted for their fresh juices for this round and they were all decent. 
Skin Care x 2 @ RM12 (a mixture of lychee + watermelon)
The predominant flavour was watermelon

Green Juice @ RM12 (a mixture of apple + cucumber + celery)
You can taste the celery in the mix

Hot Rock @ RM12 (a mixture of apple + carrot + watermelon + ginger)
I liked the subtle hint of ginger at the end
All the juices were served chilled with no added ice (to dilute the taste) and, of course, no added sugar.  Don't they look vibrantly colourful sitting prettily in a row?
The service is warm and friendly, especially Jo-Ann's, and it was a nice gesture on her part to offer to keep the food warm for a friend (who turned up late).
My Personal Opinion
Overall, it's not among the prettiest café in terms of décor and ambience as the design is very simplistic but the food speaks volumes.  I was pleased with everything we had that day as all the dishes turned out to be more than decent.  But, if I had to choose, my favourites would have to be the salmon pot pie, eggs florentine and bacon twist.
It's a great place for those who live or work around the area to enjoy warm, satistying comfort food, made well, at reasonable prices.  They also offer real value set lunch deals (on weekdays) for RM12.90 (inclusive of drink).  I would certainly like to return to try their mains or to revisit some of my brekkie favourites (if only it wasn't so darn far from where I live).
So, if you've had a crappy day, you might want to go Fork D World.....and enjoy yourself! ;D

Fork D World Bistro
D-G-3A Ritze Perdana 1 Commercial Lot
Jalan PJU 8/2 Damansara Perdana
47820 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7731 3827

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