Thursday, 28 February 2013

Dancing Fish Malay - Indo Cuisine @ Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur

Today we had a little gathering at the office and this restaurant was decided by most number of votes. I had never tried this place and some of my friends, who have tried, were boasting of the good food that this place had to offer. Well, it was dinner and as usual Bangsar Shopping Centre was bustling with crowd. Luckily today, as it was a working day, parking was a little easier.  This restaurant offers Malay and Indonesian Cuisine and is located on the third floor of this shopping centre.

Dancing Fish at Bangsar Shopping Centre

Entrance to the restaurant
Inside The Restaurant

Top 20 Restaurants in Kuala Lumpur
We were here pretty early, around 6 pm I think and the restaurant was still empty. I was told that come 7 pm, it would be full house. We had made prior reservations and hence we got a pretty private dining space accommodating the entire group. There was also a sign on top of the tables which claimed that this restaurant was one of the top 20 restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. The set up was surely posh and I had a quick glimpse at the menu and the price is on the high side. If it still attracts such crowd, then surely the food must be good.

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu
The menu and the dishes offered was definitely lavish. They had a very good offering of Malay and Indonesian dishes. The Indonesian dishes were once again very well representing the best dishes from across the huge nation. I sighted Balinese dishes, Sumatran dishes, Javanese dishes, Sundanese dishes and a few more. Definitely, it is a tough decision in deciding what to have here, at least for me.

Set Menus

Set Menus
And for those who have difficulty in deciding what to have, their set menus are quite helpful. As for us, we decided to go Ala Carte as we had a number of people who were reasonably familiar with the food here.

Emping @ RM 5.00

Super Spicy Sambal Terasi
Everyone that comes here must try these Emping and the Sambal Terasi. It is one of the starters that you must not miss. The Emping, made out of  Melinjo Nuts are dipped into the spicy Chilly paste called Sambal Terasi. Beware, the Chilly paste is super spicy yet delicious.

Pomegranate Pink Fizz @ RM 11.90
Though there were many interesting drinks that we ordered, this one really attracted me. One of our friends ordered this drink and I could not resist taking a photo. It is a mixture of  Pomegranate Syrup with Mango Juice and Soda. I however ordered my favourite Indonesian drink, Teh Botol.

As for rice, they have two varieties here. White Rice which is charged at RM 3.00 per person with free top ups and Yellow Spiced Rice at RM 4.00 per person but top ups are restricted to the White Rice variety only. We went for the White Rice.

Pucuk Paku Kerabu @ RM 12.90
This was the first dish to arrive. It is Pucuk Paku Kerabu which is young jungle fern shoots cooked in a tangy sauce. Also in this dish you find some local herbs, onions, fresh chillies and it is simmered in lime juicy giving it its tangy feeling. An absolutely lovely dish. Simple yet tasty. I would rate this dish 9/10 .

Tauhu Tempe Goreng @ RM 5.90
This is another simple yet tasty dish. Tempe, a common Indonesian food made from soy beans is fried along with Toufu and served with Sambal Terasi and Sweet Soy Sauce. In Indonesia, this is a common side dish for almost every meal. I would rate this dish 8.5/10 . The additional rating was for the spice coating and also for the Sambal Terasi.

Terong Sambal @ RM 12.90
This was another wonderful dish here. Simple as it seems, it is just a brinjal which has been split into two and grilled. Over it, a slightly sweet and sour sambal or paste is spread and that gives it a delicious taste. I would rate this 8/10 .

Soft Shell Crab with Mango Kerabu @ RM 38.90
This is surely a very good dish. It is soft shell crabs eaten with the Mango Kerabu. The crunchy crabs added by the sour Kerabu taste was simply heavenly. I would surely rate this dish 9/10 .

Cumi Belado Goreng @ RM 20.90
This dish was pretty nice too. It is calamari wok fried in Sambal Belado paste. It is not really spicy but has a unique taste and the dark colour is due to the fact that it is finished with wok flame before serving. Something different for sure. I would rate this 8.5/10 .

Chicken Satay @ RM 15.90
This comes in a set of six Chicken Satay. This was one of my favourites here. Absolutely delicious. Charcoal grilled and it was so juicy though slightly charred on the outside. You can even eat it without the peanut dip sauce. I would rate this 9.5/10 .

Kailan with Oyster Sauce @ RM 13.90
Another good dish here. Wok fried young and tender Hong Kong Kailan with garlic and oyster sauce. Decently prepared without letting the Kailan to be over cooked. My rating for this would be 9/10 .

Wok Fried Mixed Vegetables @ RM 13.90
This I find it to be only average. The typical mixed vegetables that we find in Chinese restaurant. Compared to that, this seemed rather ordinary. I would only rate this 6/10 .

Dancing Fish with Tangy Acar @ RM 45.90

Rear view of the fish

This is the signature dish of this restaurant, the Dancing Fish. You could order this in a number of sauce options and we went for the Tangy Acar. The way the fish is presented is how it got its name of Dancing Fish. Well, the best part of this dish is the gravy. Definitely a must try item here. I would rate this 9.5/10 .

Mango Lolo @ RM 8.00
Now, desert time. The above is called Mango Lolo. It is sliced mango served with shaved ice, mango puree and fresh gelato. It is also topped with some basil seeds. An interesting desert and worth trying. I would rate this 8.5/10 .

Cendol @ RM 6.90
Well, every Malaysian knows Cendol as it is a common street desert. However, for a restaurant this was pretty good. I would not say that this was the best I have tried and you can surely get better ones in Masjid India area, however I repeat again that for a restaurant, this was good. I would rate this at 8.5/10 .

Lemongrass Jelly Pop Pops @ RM 5.50
I do not really know how the name was derived but it was nice. A mixture of everything and it was pretty decent. I would rate this 8.5/10 .

Caramelised Bananas with Palm Sugar and Ice Cream @ RM 10.50
One of the best deserts at this restaurant. Absolutely heavenly and a must not miss. I would rate this 9.5/10 .

Well, I would say that this is surely a good restaurant and most of the items which we had tried was pretty good. They are maintaining their food quality to be consistent over the years and the service is very good. There is always someone waiting somewhere close to your table to be able to attend immediately. The total bill for today came to RM 580.00 as most of the dishes you saw above was ordered in doubles and there were many more drinks which I did not capture. Definitely I would come back again to this place in the near future. Please do note that they also have another outlet in Setia City Mall, Shah Alam.

Address: Lot T 120, 121 & 123, 3rd Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre,
                285 Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Telephone: +603 2095 6663


Opening Hours: 1000 - 2200 Daily

Yeoh's Bah Kut Teh @ Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya

I have heard a lot about the Klang Hokkien Association Bak Kut Teh but never ever had the chance to go there. As I was browsing the web this evening, I learnt that they have a few other branches spread throughout the Klang Valley and the closest one to me is either in Publika Dutamas or Damansara Utama. I decided to head to Damansara Utama to try this place out. It is not difficult to locate this restaurant in Uptown if you know the area well. This restaurant is located on the same row of shops as Satay Kajang, just a few doors away from Restaurant Private Kitchen.

Restoran Yeoh's Bah Kut Teh at Damansara Utama
Well, it is not that I do not know how to spell BKT but that is how they spell it here. Anyway, there was a reasonable amount of customers here when I arrived. The restaurant was pretty simple in layout and design but lots of it had to do with trying to sell the idea of them being the branch of the one in Klang Hokkien Association building.

Interior of the restaurant

Interior of the restaurant
Well, once I entered the restaurant and took a seat, I had to wait close to 15 minutes before anyone attended to me. There were two foreign workers which were pretty much running the kitchen and an old Chinese gentleman running the front. When I got off my seat looking out for people, that is when I heard a voice saying that he would come up to me but never did. I did read some comments in Foursquare that the service here is very slow and their action today proves the same. Honestly, only four tables were occupied and that too of couples. If it takes so long with minimal crowd, I wonder how would they handle a full house situation.

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu
Finally when I gave up waiting, I walked over to the counter and picked up the menu myself. That is when a guy ran up to me and asked me what I would like to order. Hey, I just picked up the menu. You kept me waiting this long when you were doing absolutely nothing and you can't wait a minute or two for me to go through the menu. I deliberately kept that guy waiting beside me for a few minutes before I decided my orders. He then took quick strides and disappeared into the kitchen.

Herbal Tea @ RM 1.80
Well, yes this is their Herbal Tea. When he first brought the drink, I thought that he may have mistaken my order for the standard Chinese Tea but no, I took a sip and it was sweet. It was okay, though light coloured. I don't know how they make this but it was not bad but lacked the oomph that the darker version gives. I would rate this drink 7/10 .

White Rice @ RM 1.20
The weird thing about this restaurant is that the white rice is served in plates. I have never seen this practiced anywhere else, unless the customer does not know how to use chopsticks. When it was served in plates, I insisted that I wanted it in a bowl and he went back and made the change for me. Many customers were staring at me when I made the request but that is how it is most convenient to eat BKT. All the other Chinese customers there were all eating their rice on flat plates with fork and spoon and I wondered how they accommodated this.

Claypot Bak Kut Teh @ RM 12.50
Here at this restaurant, you cannot choose your meat cuts unless you go for the bowl style Bak Kut Teh. I wanted to try the Claypot and hence it was a mixed cut, excluding the intestines as that is an additionally charged item. Well, the meat portion was right sized for the price and it had a few Tofu, a few leafs of vegetables, and two mushrooms cut into quarters and a piece of Fu Chok. That pretty much sums up the contents of this single portion dish. The soup however was not up to the mark. To me it tasted more like diluted soy sauce. I have tried BKT so many places and it has never tasted this bad. Well, that again is a matter of personal opinion but that is what I felt. I called the guy later and asked them if they really were the branch of the outlet in Klang and he was mumbling something and then finally said, something like that. I think this is a franchise and the cooking is not up to the mark. I would rate this soup pretty bad but the meat was tender and nice. I guess I am not alone here. Subsequently I did check some reviews on this outlet and everyone commented the same. I am very sure you do not get this taste in Klang as in the original outlet at the Klang Hokkien Association.

Lor Eggs @ RM 4.00
These eggs were quite okay I should say. They may not be the best ones but were definitely good and was on the sweet side of taste. I would rate these 8.5/10 .

On the whole, this outlet is below average in its service and taste of food. It is selling just based on the brand name of the main outlet in Klang and perhaps most people would only come here once. As for me, I would not return to this outlet.

Address: No. 95, Ground Floor, Jalan SS 21/37,
                Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya,
                Selangor, Malaysia.

Telephone: +6017 276 6634

Opening Hours: 1000 - 2130 Daily

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Devis Corner @ Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Kuala Lumpur

It has been ages since I came to this restaurant and as I was passing here tonight, decided to have a quick stop for dinner.  As usual, parking in this area is never easy and this restaurant is always full day and night. To those who do not know, this restaurant is located along Jalan Datuk Sulaiman in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.

Devis Corner @ TTDI
I was pretty hungry today as I have been starving the whole day and decided to head for the rice station. I know that some of their other items are pretty famous like the Bombay Toast and Roti Sardin, but preferred to stick with rice this evening. Generally, the yardstick for any Indian restaurant should be their rice and curry as the others are just supplementing dishes.

Rice and Curry Station
It seems that they only cook for lunch and heat up the dishes later part of the day. Many of the dishes were sold out but it was still okay for me.

Open Air Seats At The Side
I was promptly assisted and then carried my plate over to a table close to the road. I preferred this place as it was open and breezy and since I would love to have a smoke after my dinner, did not want to make anyone uncomfortable by smoking inside though smoking inside is not prohibited.

Teh O Ais @ RM 1.50
Within minutes, my drink arrived. Then a guy came up to the table, assessed my dishes and the wrote the bill which was then placed into a plastic cup. Typical of a Mamak style restaurant.

My Dinner @ RM 8.50
Well, as you can see from the photo above, the rice was a little over cooked. The gravy that I helped myself to was Mutton Curry. This was a little diluted for Mutton Curry and definitely a little salty. Surely not the quality I expected for Devis. I would only rate the Mutton Curry 4/10 .

Egg Sambal
The Egg Sambal however was quite nice. Not the best that I have ever tried but surely meets up to expectations. It was more on the sweet side but nice. I would recommend this. Would rate this Egg Sambal 7/10 .

Mutton Varuval
The Mutton Varuval was just average. I was taken back by this as the Mutton Varuval in Devis Bangsar is very good. Is the cooking decentralized, I guess so. The meat was cooked well i.e. the right level of tenderness but the spices were just a little off. Something was seriously missing to give it the full flavour. I would rate this Mutton Varuval at 5/10 .

On the whole, this place is pretty decent. I would suggest to try their other items from the ones I tried today, except for the Egg Sambal. I know for a fact that the Roti Sardin and Bombay Toast here is good. Interestingly, there is this Malay girl that sits at the cashier and when I went up to her to pay the bill, she told me to wait for the Indian guy who was also waiting tables. From the moment I arrived at this restaurant, she was standing there but did not transact. Pretty odd I felt. Anyway, this place is open 24 hours a day and can be a good joint to hang out late nights for a decent meal or snack.

Address: 38, Jalan Datuk Sulaiman, Taman Tun Dr Ismail,
               60000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 24 Hours Daily

Monday, 25 February 2013

Kafe Hailam Kopitiam @ Bandar Damansara Perdana

Angie and I were scouting around Damansara Perdana this evening for another new place to have our dinner and we came across this place called Kafe Hailam Kopitiam. Looks like a pretty popular place as they had quite a number of people at their restaurant when we arrived. It seems that this is a Hainanese Restaurant which originated from the town of Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan. I did some research on the internet while I was there and it seems to have mixed reviews and also quite a number of outlets in Kuala Lumpur.What was most interesting was that their reviews varied by outlets. I guess, this is something that they would need to take note and make their food consistent across all their outlets. Well, there were no negative reviews on their Damansara Perdana outlet and so we decided to give it a try. It is located along the same row of shops as the hotel in Damansara Perdana. I can't remember the name of the hotel though.

Kafe Hailam Kopitiam @ Damansara Perdana
Kafe Hailam Kopitiam @ Damansara Perdana
I like the way they have used the potted ferns to form a natural screen at the entrance which gives greater privacy to the patrons.

The Entrance
The restaurant, just like other Kopitiams has been divided into two sections. Outdoor seating for the smokers and indoor is a smoke free zone. All the workers here were Bangladeshis but they were pretty efficient. We took the table outside as the weather was nice and breezy. Within seconds of seating, the waiter brought the menu over to us.

The Menu

They had a very comprehensive menu. They range from Hainanese Buns, Sandwiches, Western Food, Chinese Food, Nasi Lemak, a few Minangkabau Food items and a full page dedicated to vegetarian dishes. It is good that they have a good variety for vegetarians too as this is a segment of people that are growing in numbers in Malaysia. We then decided on our orders and placed them. Unlike other Kopitiams which are self service, here the waiter takes your order at your table. No chits to be filled by customers.

The Cutlery
While waiting for the meals, the waiter came up to the table and places a small basket with the cutlery.

Hailam Special Roasted Coffee @ RM 3.20
This was the drink that I had ordered. The Hainanese Coffee was nice. I have no complaints. I would rate this 8.5/10 . Angie ordered a glass of warm water and that was charged at RM 0.80 .

Hailam Nasi Lemak Special @ RM 9.60

Hailam Nasi Lemak Special @ RM 9.60

The Nasi Lemak was good. Their rice was fragrant and nice. The sambal, was the spicy type. It was not sweet and exactly the way I like it. The rendang chicken was the best. They only use drumsticks and the flesh was very tender and juicy. The gravy was also lavish and tasty. I loved this dish very much. One of the best Chicken Rendang Nasi Lemak's in town. I would rate this 9/10 .

Fried Kuey Teow @ RM 7.80

Fried Kuey Teow @ RM 7.80

Angie ordered this Fried Kuey Teow and I did get a bite to taste it. The Kuey Teow was good too. It was more of the dry style and it had loads of prawns and cockles in it. Once again, this was more to the spicy side. It may not be the best that I have tried but it is pretty decent. I would rate this dish 8/10 .

Spicy Otak Otak @ RM 5.80

Spicy Otak Otak @ RM 5.80
Honestly I am not much of an Otak Otak fan but I really loved it here. It was very spicy, did not have the usual smell and was very well done. Strongly recommend this dish! I would rate this 9/10 .

Deep Fried Assorted Seafood @ RM 7.80
Well, this was just like any other place. I doubt if it was homemade. Most likely the usual stuffs bought from supermarkets and sold here. However for the number of items, I feel that it is slightly on the expensive side. Just another dish that your can find in other places.

On the whole, this place was quite decent. Some of the items that I would recommend here are the Nasi Lemak and Otak Otak. I did not try their Hainanese Chicken Chop but did see some mixed reviews on that dish. They also did have some Hainanese Buns and sandwiches which definitely looks good. Total dining cost today including taxes came to RM 36.75 which I feel is generally reasonable.

Address: 32-1, Jalan PJU 8/5G, Bandar Damansara Perdana,
               47820 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 0830 - 2300 Daily

Telephone: +603 7725 4654