Saturday, May 30, 2009

Phai Lin Thai Restaurant - Bandar Sri Damansara Club

Phai Lin - Thai Restaurant

PS - Had since closed down. Updated May 2011

The old had gone and the new has come! The old Jade Palace demise was on the cards for a while. Twice, I have the whole restaurant for lunch with no one else! Then what herald the coming of another restaurant to replace the predecessor. Surely something went wrong. Bad landlord? Bad location?

Phai Lin must have been very confident that they have a good product, promotion, place, price and people? Definitely, otherwise who want to dump a few hundred thousand down the drain. Sri Damansara Club is a nice place to eat with the staff or entertain guests. I wish them every success.

Here are some of my thoughts. They have a good product and positioning as there are not many Thai restaurants within 5 kilometers radius. But the people in food preparation has dished out a lack luster but edible food that ranked 6/10 overall on my scale. I do hope they improve themselves. But then food presentation was encouraging and the service was good. The price was ok given that this is a restaurant with comfortable surroundings, ambiance and neat table wares.

Fish cakes that has a bit more flour than I like, therefore less springy. Taste wasn't as authentic as the aromatic 'ummph' from the Thai herbs were not there. RM18.
Another popular starters. Pandan Chicken. 10 pieces for RM22.00. Enjoyed it. Tender and succulent but slightly rough in parts as they used a mixed of the rougher texture fillet with more tender thigh. Pepper-laden and pandan leaves fragrance is a winner.
The red snapper (but on checking it looks more like a Jenahak - Hung Joe) steamed with soy sauce was packed with ginger, Chinese parsley, celery and what else, soy sauce. I checked the cheeks but found that there was not much meat - evidence of a lean fish! The fish could have been fresher and it is definitely from the chiller for a 2-3 days. Sometimes it is so difficult to manage the restaurant esp logistic. Who would want to go to the market everyday for fresh produce and seafood? Even though the fish is acceptable, I hope they will raise the bar.
This moderate to large plate of kailan was slightly overdone but the chewy salted fish was a welcome though an not too healthy choice. The sauces were delightful, salty and sinful. Just as it should as else it would not qualify as salted fish kailan.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Thrill of the Grill - Grilled/Baked Seafood @ Petaling Street

Grilled and Baked Stingray with Petai in a sea of gray.
What do you get when a bank is crossed with an entrepreneur in Petaling Street? Business ventures? Yes of another kind. This makeshift stall qualify as a fly by night operation and is well frequented by locals and tourist alike. The food at RM12.50 a tray is also not expensive.

It is situated on the five-foot way of the Hong Leong Bank. And shielded (look for it) from the cacophony of incessant wheeling and dealings in night market stalls by plastic groundsheets that form the rear wall of these stalls fronting the road. Placed your order and be quick about it as the lady boss is impatient. They are running a tight operation. We were asked to pay up as the first of our 4 trays arrived.

The food is kind of limp (from a local used to overdosing with strong flavours). The fiery chili used by local Chinese and Malay in their ikan bakar (grilled fish) were not present. So were the must have sourish component that comes from the some lime juice or vinegar. Some say this stall is Macanese in style but looking at and tasting the condiments used for seasoning and marinating it is more akin to local stuff of a milder kind. Caveat emptor here: I am not an expert in Macanese fare though.

There were also some missing ingredients and maybe by grilling the food in aluminium foil bag took the zing away that only a direct flame can give. Maybe they were looking after the palate of foreigners not used to our local overdose of salt, chili and other hers and spices. Therefore the food did not reached its zenith best.

But the thrill of grill is the seafood in a sea of gravy! That was intact. I noticed that there were little salt and MSG. And the baking sealed in the natural juices. But alas that will have to give way to my last grouse, if only the seafood was fresher. I will rank the freshness at 5.5/10. The taste overall were 6/10.
Stingray with lady's fingers and longbeans. Baby SquidsLala

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Revisits - Pan Heong and Yook Woo Hin

Revisited YWH as I took my Indonesian partner and family for a meal. Chicken boxing was available available. Foodbin recommended this and I am glad to report all 5 of us enjoyed this. 10 pieces for RM25. But their butter prawns was disappointing. Did not put pics in as prawn was smaller than usual and there was no 'lai yau' to spruce up the plate and gives some body to chew on.

Why bother revisiting? Many reasons and possibly excuses.

1) The food is too good. Got to have another fix. Strike the iron while its hot. And some have the peculiar habit of having their new found passion in such frequency till the food's diminishing returns register zero. No need to illustrate :)?

2) Sampling more from the extensive menu due to lack of foodie 'quorum. A costly love affair like I found out in my revisit to YWH. Have spent a total of RM180. Stay or to go. No love lost when it comes to dough! Enough is enough!

3) Recommendations from fellow floggers. As they sometimes able to vicariously visit and eat through the blogs of others and then re-constructing their previous visit that may be 10-20 years ago. Recommendations come fast and furious. Revisit and re-living their nostalgic visits is not a favour but a service. That's the beauty of being part of the www.

4) A certain dish was not available or sold out. Some purposefully limit the availability of their signature dish/es for the others in the menu to see the light of day and a chance to become another signature dish. Like Yut Kee rolled pork roast. Only available at 11:30 am Friday and Sunday. Usually gone by 1:00pm.
We also ordered 'wat tan hor'. Their most saleable item.
And their dry noodles Singapore style with cubed 'char siew'. Another must have the 'char siew' regrettably was sold out at 1:00pm. Pan Heong spare-ribs porridge with dry oyster. Was surprising bland and ribs were flat. Oysters' flavour have not been released into the porridge. As far as I know meat from the butcher must never be washed with water or the flavours will be gone. Not sure what's gone wrong but certainly I am not trying to teach the duck to swim.The 'wat tan hor fish fillet' was good but the fish fillet was lacking in taste.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Manhattan Fish Market - Ikano

I am guilty of lumping MFM with McDonald or KFC. Just not bloggable unless there are some redeeming features. But think again. There are many interesting features in MFM and there will be more if they care to enhance and improve on the brand. I like the blowtorch stunt. Comfortable not too tight seating and inter-tables spacing and nice ambiance. Their food sometimes come close to be associated with staples from the deep south of the USA rather than just northeastern Manhattan.

Having eaten there for a long-time esp in Puchong it is a kind of a comfort food once the yearning surfaces for western style and Cajun-like seafood dishes. This time round they have some special offers and a new addition - swordfish fillet. I can imagine the angler momentous fight before landing this mighty fish. Of course that's from my over-the-top imaginative mind.
The drinks that came with the food. The Dilmah Earl Grey was very strong. Total infusion from the teabag. Dilmah prides itself for their fair labour practices and is from Sri Lanka.The moribund clam chowder. Can't flourish with the flour and starch! Clams were very well chopped up leaving little to the imaginative feel from the palate. My swordfish with shrimps and chips with a drink! The fillet was firm and juicy not boring but alive with the smell from the sea. RM18.90. Good deal! 7/10. Love it to bits though slightly oily.
Love those flakes. Reminded me of the huge grilled tuna chunk I had in Mindanao! Excellent NOT run of the mill fish and chips fare. The herbs had permeated the dressing thoroughly. Its the sauce that makes the eating world go round! RM18.90. 7/10.

New Wing IOI Mall Puchong - Sakae Sushi

IOI Mall has got a new wing! There was no lack of takers despite the difficult market. These players have an eye on the long-term and definitely have deep pockets also. I took some shots of the F & B outlets above.

I was one of the early pioneers in the new Puchong (since moved to Sri Damansara) having moved in there in 1992. From a laidback one-lane Jalan Puchong to a congested one-lane Jalan Puchong in 1994 then enduring the super-jam for 4 years before the Kesas, MRR2 and Puchong Sg Besi Bypass were opened. We also paid the price as early pioneers with a poor stable of mediocre F & B outlets. But then the rewards were as the 1st mover the value of these early houses appreciated at least 100+%.

P/S - Business and studies have kind of taken some edge off my writing and I am suffering a mild bout of blogger's block. I hope the excitement will be back to permeate through my posts in the near future. I am not writing out of desire now but that of discipline. I am still visiting the various blogs on my blogroll but haphazardly and will comment as and when I can.

Sakae Sushi was my choice as I made a quick trip to Puchong and then another quick exit.
Its no fun to eat alone.... Anyway the food is not exactly to die for. The only redeeming factor is I like the salmon slices more than I thought I could. Imagining it as pieces of butter helped and some drops of lemon squeeze took the rawness away. Since it was nice I threw caution to the wind and took a plate of quite thick slices of salmon of the belt for a second helping (not posting pic as it did not turned out well).I like marinated baby octopuses on a bed of julienned cucumber but find this gunboat sushi not to my liking. The other stuff that I took from the belt were soy skin sushi with crab roes and unagi sushi. Nothing to shout about. No pics as I put in the wrong setting on my E90 causing the pics to be orangy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Restoran Yook Woo Hin - 100, Jalan Petaling, KL

YWH is larger than life and is etched in the food psyche of many KLites. Septuagenarian whizzing past and black and white portrait of YWH's creator (with the lower case 'c'). It was less busy than when I was a regular patron a dating haunt for my girlfriend and then wife and I until my son came along. A lean spell for a decade and a half followed. Neither of us have father and grandfather that introduced this place to us as we were from the North . It was the common bond of loving a good bite. My wife actually competed with me for food on the table for years until just recently.

There was a new coat of paint and new floor and wall tiles perhaps 'MML' or 'White Horse'. Even the toilets were clean with no accumulation of grime and dirt through the times. No wonder there was a DBKL 'A' eatery classification for them. The utensils and many of the table wares plus work area are all in stainless steel. A sign of their intentions that business will be as usual for another few generations. A fresh face young man (3rd generation?) was at the till. I spotted the matriarch with hawkish eyes still keen and sharp losing none of the years, seating nearby though no longer on the hot seat.

It was 12:15 when I arrived. I asked for my favourite Braised Beef with Kailan. Looks like I was many years too late. Even the middle age waitress didn't know it was once on the menu! Started with some dim sum. They were duds. May be an off day but I will give it a 4/10. Skin for 'Har Kow' was thick. Can't feel the prawns... and the list goes on. I suggest go earlier. Babeinthecitykl seems to have better luck.
Without my Braised Beef with Kailan, I went for 'Wat Tan Hor Ngau Yoke'. This Wat Tan Cantonese style is the most popular. It flew off the kitchen to almost every occupied table. I give it 7.5/10. BTW lots of tender cooked just nice beef strips.Its the season for 'Bachang'. It was hung all over for 'cannot miss it' promotion. Very popular and at RM15 this YWH signature 'Bachang' is not lacking in attracting buyers. I estimated it is 3-4 times the size of the regular 'bachang' sold at RM3.20-3.50 in coffeshop stalls. It has the regular stuff plus dried oyster, whole and big chestnut and big portions of the rest of the regular fillings. It was yum. 7/10.Address: 100, Petaling Street, KL. Approach from the south side (Stadium), immediately after the archway on the right.

For a touch of nostalgia check rasarasa out for original photo of the interior.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

De Pastry Chef - Medan Putra, Bandar Menjalara

My wife and I have returned to this quaint little place on different occasions esp for tea or even something heavier than tea. We are happy with its extensive menu ranging from cakes, pastries, tart lets, pasta and westerns.

It is doing well serving the Menjalara crowd as well as the more affluent Desa Parkcity and SPPK Sunway across the road. For lack of variety or competition De Pastry is doing a roaring business. It is positioned below the Secret Recipe but above the neighbourhood cake shops King's, Sweetly and Berry's. Their competitive advantage lies in their menu. And I dare say at the moment there is no competition in the horizon. Very solid business and caters for all types of crowd and all ages. Their only drawback is their lack of concern for ambiance. Make it a bit more comfortable, add some space next door and get some better chairs and tables and someone with an eye for colour and interior.

The pasta is yummy with a bit of local/Asian fusion. The tart lets are lovely to behold and my wife was enticed to the extend that she found time bringing the staff there for tea and to sample their oven-baked products.

We have yet to find fault with their food until this visit. The scones (RM5.50 plus coffee or tea from 3-6pm) that my wife recommended to me fell flat to me as well as my wife. It hard and almost becoming a biscuit. But still the style is unmistakable. Pic is right at on top of post.

I ordered my Green Curry Chicken Pasta. Taste exactly as the last I ordered a few months ago. Lots of diced chicken, al dente pasta and delectable and Thai/Malaysian green curry. Comes on a hot plate. RM7.50.
The Choco Coffee never fails to satisfy the sweet tooth. As good as it comes and worth more than the RM5.50 per slice. Sweet, creamy, coffeed with a walnut.The range of cakes, tarts and pastries.My previous visit and directions.
Address: 34, Jalan 3/62D, Medan Putra, Bandar Menjalara

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mei Keng Fatt Seafood Restaurant, Ampang, Selangor

MKF started from humble beginnings almost 2 decades ago and has now become a leading restaurant in Ampang New Village. This is a local favourite, I believed in times past, and as its fame has spread far and wide they have to surrender their favourite son to expatriates living in nearby Ulu Klang and also food tourists. It goes to say that the price has also gone up to cater for the demand of a more sophisticated palate for exotic and extensive local and international menu.

I did drop-in once a while through the years for their seafood and other Chinese delicacies. Its New Village roots may have inspired its Chinesey decors which to some may have reached the point of almost gaudy trinkety heights. My son wanted to retreat deeper into the restaurant as he/we smelt burning incense wafting in from the compound. But as for the food, no complains.
An example of exotic menu - Geoduck where my son described it as over viagraized.
I am not linking these raw oysters at RM8 a piece with the above pic. Tasted fresh but had better ones before.
This was our mains - Braised noodles with Jumbo Fresh Water Prawns (300+gms). De-shelled the long claws for its firm and tasty 'muscles'. The gravy was at its prawny goodness best. Worth the RM45.This Yam Basket with Diced Chicken was unique has a thin layered walls of yam. Its crusty and frittered surface gave a light crunchy feel. Sauces from the diced chicken flavoured the yam's crunchy, sticky and rough textured into a carbo-fillicious delight.It was a mistake ordering this Lime Sauce Squid. Should have gone for deep-fried and battered kind or even 'kun-po' style with delightful sauces.Free desserts - 8 Treasures.
Air-con dining and off course al fresco too. Lots of carpark around with parking attendants. But surprisingly lunch was not crowded and so were a few other restaurants nearby.
Map and Address:
Mei Keng Fatt Seafood Restaurant
1, Lorong Awan 6, Kuala Ampang,
68000 Ampang, Selangor.
Tel: 03 4257 3232 and 03 4256 6491

Tummythoz had been there in 2007 and 2008.