Monday, November 19, 2007

Restoran Berputar Seri Angkasa (Revolving Restaurant) on KL Tower

From the first time I heard about the revolving restaurant at the top of KL Tower, I have always imagined a classy and romantic settings. Two people sitting at a table, holding hands, face towards the high window, eyes overseeing the lights in the city with fragrant of wine lingering at the tip of the tongue. Zip!

That's the sound of my wandering mind came back to reality. The restaurant's target market are businessmen and tourists. Buffet with a spread of some asian and some western food. Long squarish or big roundish table for at least 6. Sigh... Does reality always has to be so hard to swallow?!

Location: K.L. Tower, Off Jalan P. Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur
Rating: Average

I don't normally assess the ambience because food is my main concern. Sometimes best food can be sitting next to a large sewerage drain for all we know. An exception here because this is... "Da Revolving Restaurant". Rumours that bookings for this place lined up to the next year. Well that's why they are called rumours.The settings were generally simple but slightly crowded and narrow, as there is limited space for the restaurant to utilise. I would suggest diners to come earlier in the evening so that you can witness the darkening skyline. It is more interesting to experience the twilight than pure night lights.
Now about the food. They have 3 stations. The one below is solely Malaysian fare. Rice, meats, veges, kerabus (mixed local salad), and some roti (bread). Taste wise, nothing to shout about.
The second station is more international mix of asian and western. You've got sushis, pastas, roast lamb, fresh salads, fresh oysters, and appetisers.The sushi rice was too moist and pressed too hard, making the rice lost its texture. Too lumpy for my liking.The variety of appetisers are ok. Average taste.These are supposed to be fresh oysters, but I smell a little not-so-fresh. Just a little, but enough to make me stay away. Anyway, I have decided to stay away as I realised I am eating something live and raw. When I think bout it, it's kinda cruel.
The last station is for desserts. A variety of western and local desserts, including pengat durian (cooked durian fruit with coconut milk and palm sugar).
What I find delightful is the way they decorate the desserts. It is quite beautifully done.There are also a number of chocolate cakes, all for the ladies.

Then there are mini chocolate tarts and mini rum ball (minus the rum, as this place is halal).
Even more mini chocolate and vanilla cakes and rolls.
The local fruits are also attractively displayed. I would say the effort is quite commendable at this station.I can't say this is the best buffet spread, but the effort is there. Business wise, this might actually work better than the dreamy restaurant I imagined. But taste wise they are just average.

Quickie: Uncle Yeong's Curry Puff

Last time, when I was working in Wisma Sime Darby, I used to love Mondays and Fridays. I know you would say "Fridays I can understand, but Mondays???". Haha... These are the days that Uncle Yeong would come at about 11am and sell his infamous curry puffs and doughnuts. That is until I found out where is his port. That's when Mondays became less meaningful.

Location: Off Jalan Tun HS Lee & Jalan Tun Perak, Masjid Jamek Area, Kuala Lumpur

Rating: Very good

By looking at this chart you should be able to deduce that Uncle Yeong is quite a curry puff expert.I have bought myself a big fat curry puff with egg that cost me only RM1. The beauty of this is the generosity of Uncle Yeong. hehe... You can find chicken meat and half an egg in each of these curry puff. The curry aroma is not too overpowering but spicy enough. It is hot and the skin is not too thick. I know there are some curry puffs sold at Rm1.50 to RM2.50 because of its size and very thick and crunchy skin. I know being able to make a crunchy layered skin is an art. But I am not willing to pay that much for a thick skin curry puff with tasteless (and substance-less) fillings. I prefer this. Substance counts..

Hainanese Dried Curry Noodles @ Kedai Kopi Yee Fatt

Since we talked about Ipoh-Hainanese dried curry noodles in my previous post, so I thought I better show you the real deal. Can you see that the curry topping is thicker? We'll analyse further under "review".

Kedai Kopi Yee Fatt is situated at the Kampar Road round-about, somewhere opposite Methodist Girl School and near Tow Boo Keong Temple.Now, about this shop. It has been in business for at least 3 generations. How I know? When I was a kid, I witness handling over of the business from the grandpa to his sons. And the last time I visited, the grandson is already there learning the trades. Last time when we made orders, they would write it down, shout out the orders to the back kitchen for drinks and the cook for the noodles. And every time, there are bound to be one order made wrong. hehehe... Knowing that they have really put in the effort to take down the orders and all, what else can you blame them? The latest practice is for the waiter to take down the orders and the cook will again write down on his own booklet to match with the waiter. Sigh... Aren't they a cute family?

Location: Round-about at Jalan Kampar, Ipoh, Perak
Rating: Good

The standard order by most people would be their dried curry noodles. There are choices of bee hoon (rice vermicelli), mee (yellow noodles), hor fun/koay teow (flat rice noodles) and loh shu fun (tubed rice noodles). Garnishes would include beansprouts and mint leaves. Toppings include curry chicken with potatoes, as well as bbq pork. What's makes it good? The topping curry has to be thick and fragrant. But prior to that, the noodles must be tossed well with the dark soy sauce, light soy sauce and cooked oil. The combination has to be perfect where the curry can complement the mixed noodles. Although it is called dried curry noodles, it must not be too dry. This is what makes this shop good.
For those that do not fancy spicy food in the morning, you can also order clear soup. But I can't guarantee you anything, as I have never tried it before. Not even when I was young.
Another famous food here is their glutinous chicken rice. Why is it famous? Purely because of its freshness. The rice are cooked but remained individually solid, so that when you sink in your chopsticks, it breaks easily. A simple dish.A Chinese saying that "It's hard to start a business, it is even harder to maintain a business". It feels good to see that some business remained viable even at its third generation (as far as I know lah).

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Restoran Sin Hoy How - Dry Curry Mee & White Coffee

This is pretty Ipoh-Hainanese style of dried curry noodles. What with its famous white coffee. A potential for Ipoh-ans to quench their cravings for dried curry noodles. The place is quite easy to find. It is along the

Location: Jalan Tun H.S Lee, Masjid Jamek Area, Kuala Lumpur
Rating: Above average

There are curry noodles too, but its standard would be average to below average if my review is on the curry noodles. The dry curry noodles is at least better.
Now, how is this a typical Ipoh-Hainanese dried curry, you might ask. Well the noodles will usually be doused with thin curry soup and then topped with another layer of thick curry chicken sauce. Other accompaniments usually include bbq pork and some beansprouts. Are they good? Well, I would say above average when compared to most Kuala Lumpur stalls/shops. The curry is quite fragrant. But other than that, the remaining ingredients are rather average.
Its white coffee is very famous among its patrons. It is fragrant and smooth. I find it a bit strong and sweet too. But at least it is not 3 in 1 white coffee.
The thick coffee coupled with the thick froth forms part of the pull factor. Did you notice something on the surface of the coffees? These are not created by us. Work of art by the "taukeh" (boss/owner) maybe?Note: Although they open on Saturdays, the quality is somewhat lower. Suggest you go during weekdays.

Gai Wor Pau by Clan Restaurant

At 2am in the morning, my dad bought this "gai wor pau" (cantonese literally translated as chicken nest bun) for us to try. I kept the box with me, thinking of visiting the place some day. That some day came when my ex-colleagues called for breakfast reunion.

Location: Jalan Radin Anum, Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur
Rating: Average

The address pointed to the back door of the shop. When we walked in, we were greeted with stacks of gai wor pau. This pau must really be in demand. So without further ado we ordered 2 gai wor pau. It is quite interesting, really. You have steamed buns pre cooked, then stuff cooked glutinous rice with bbq meat and wine chicken. Then they are put in the rattan tray for another round of steaming. When served on table, the buns were cut into sixes.

The glutinous rice filling is very moist and fragrant. One thing I found interesting is that they included fried large onions in there as well. I supposed it help improve fragrance, sweetness and moisture of the fillings. Other than that, the remaining ingredients are quite standard of "lo mai kai" (glutinous rice with wine chicken).
Another type of pau called "wor jai pau" or "kai wor jai" I can't recall. Basically it is smaller in size and has a topping similar of steamed brown sugar cake for topping. The brown sugar steam cakes are also called "ma lai kou" (malay cakes).
The filling is just normal bbq meat. Something different, yes... but the mix doesn't really match. I don't taste the fragrant of the meat or the pau or the cake. The combination didn't really cause a synergy. As Malaysian would say it - so so lah.. Next in line is the black pepper meat pau. Well this is quite good. The meat is fragrant enough, but not too over powering.Of course there are many more choices of dim sum as shown on the trays below.Our standard order of siew mai (pork dumpling) was just average. Not especialy fresh or tasty or bad. Really average.Even the "har mai" (prawn dumpling) is so average. The filling isn't like Ipoh's dim sum filled with fresh whole sweet prawns. More like mince meat wrap around 1 prawn per mai. Nothing special.Sigh... verdict same as the mai's above. We also ordered porridge. The look itself is just disappointing. No garnishes and limited ingredients. More suitable to be taken when sick. As a last resort, we ordered chee cheong fun (white rice noodles rolled with pork/prawns). The noodles weren't hot enough. The sauce is too little. How can things go so downhill?
As a conclusion, I can only say the shop offers something different that are not bad. But other stuff are just so average.

Quickie: Yik Mun - The famous pau from Tanjung Malim

20 over years ago.. Whenever my family followed my dad on his business travels to Kuala Lumpur, I would bug my dad to stop at Tanjung Malim along the north-south trunk road. The steamed curry chicken pau (bun) used to be my favourite. Was it really that long ago?

Location: Tanjung Malim
Rating: Poor

The pau's skin is crusty, hard and dry. Even the filling is dry and not fragrant except salty. Where did that soft and sweet skin, plus fragrant filling went?
The coffee is thick alright. But that's all it is. No fragrance and not even smooth.
It was very disappointing. A reputation that was built since pre-independence era (1926) was all destroyed. What went wrong? Was it the mass production that loss the human touch or was it that the later generation did not really care anymore. It is just too wasteful..

Restoran Soong Kee - Beef Ball Mee

As you can see from the signage, the shop offers beef ball mee. This shop has the right to claim it because they really produce their own noodles and beef balls. Something rare nowadays, as most shops just get their ready made supply instead.
The shop is situated between the intersection of Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin (Silang) and Jalan Tun HS Lee. The owner (Mr Siew) is the 3rd generation running this store since 1945. Even the cook (Mr Chan) has been working with the shop for forty over years. What it says here is about quality and experience.

Location: 3 Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin (fka Jalan Silang), Masjid Jamek area, Kuala Lumpur
Rating: Good

Although most people ordered mee (yellow noodles), I actually prefer their loh shu fun (rice noodles shaped in short tubes). The yellow noodles may sometimes be over cooked and become less springy. You can't find the same loh shu fun here anywhere else. The texture has more substance and less chemicals. When compared to the normal fare, you'll find the loh shu fun here less springy but also less transparent.
Another attraction here is the minced meat laid on top of the noodles. The aroma is balanced between the sauce and the strong smell of beef.
Although I do eat beef meats and parts, I prefer to order beef balls and fresh meats here. Long time ago when the wet market was still situated in central market area, the beef that is used to prepare the meals in Soong Kee were fresher. Fresh meats spells springier and better texture beef balls and meats on the table. Nevertheless, the cook's experience help overcome the shortcoming by deciding how much salt to add for which part of meat, how long to cook for older or younger meat, and how long should the meat be pounded to ensure the springing texture is obtained. So coming here, you are assured of beef balls that can bounced off the table hihi..
A simple meal like this cost you about RM5. The owner has tried to maintain its price at affordable level. Can you feel his passion?
By the way, another reason why I love coming here is to enjoy lyrical whistling/singing by the cook/owner. They sing or whistle with vibrant tones while cooking us tasty meals. Some people say you have to maintain a peaceful and blissful heart if you want to cook a good meal. Maybe there is some truth to it after all.
This won't be my blog if I do not try its chili sauce. Now this is the Cantonese style chili sauce made with vinegar. Mixing it with the noodles or the meat brings out the flavour and appetite. Yum yum.. If you plan to go there, please note that there is limited parking space around that area and the shop opens from 11am till night. Bon appetit!