Friday, July 31, 2009

Rama V @ Jalan U Thant

In terms of number of pictures and the quality of food, this post is as epic as it can get.

How else would one want to describe a Chef Table menu that was tailored to showcase a balance of freshness, quality ingredients and the house specials.

If there is one phrase that sums up the whole experience, it is definitely "you get what you pay for"

For an approximately RM300 a head, make a call to Rama V and book yourself a Thai cuisine journey.

Stepping inside one of the few bungalow restaurants around the area, there is a feel of exclusiveness and serenity. If you want to make it a private dining event for you and your guests, apart from the main dining area, there are also 4 chalets that can fit groups of 8-20 people.

This is fine dining Thai but prices ranges from affordable to unaffordable. If you don't have RM300 to spend, the menu has starters, mains and desserts that ranges from less than RM20 to RM 60. Live seafood is based on the market price, so please ask.

Peek outside the main dining hall and its another haven for photography.

After all that photography and the meal starts.

The traditional Thai Mieng Kam.

The first daun should always contain everything, abit of sour, sweet, salty and spicy. After that, decide which bits you like and dislike, voila!

Crispy rice served with minced chicken in shrimp sauce.

This was lovely and I would definitely recommend it everyone. The tasty chicken and sauce seats nicely over the rice cracker which is not oily, before it is popped inside the mouth.

If you google Rama V, this is about the most associated dish to them and rightly deserves so. The pretty flower dumpling with a filling of chicken, peanuts and coconut coating is a play of sweet and salty.

Shrimp cakes with chunky pieces of prawns in there is served with a typical thai chilli sauce.

From appetisers, we move to salad.

Pomelo Salad with Australian Abalone and Shrimp. The salad has been obviously been pimped with luxurious ingredients, like a car fitted with 22inch rims opposed to the usual 15 inch rims. However luxury is optional, order it as an ala carte item without the shellfish and you will still be just as happy. Although given a choice, the abalone was a must as it had the right level of bite without being too chewy or soft.

The marinated Raw Prawns served with heavy duty garlic and chilli sauce is only for the brave and those who can take their chillis. The prawn texture is similar to ama-ebi without the sweetness. With the pungent sauce and kick, dont sweat about getting food poisoning from eating raw prawns because i guarantee everything is cooked by the time it enters the stomach.

Before the mains are served, a soup is placed upon us.

Again, a Chef Table Menu focuses on prime ingredients and the usual clear seafood/chicken tom yum in the young coconut was replaced with scotland clams. The sweetness of the coconut water and the clam temporarily lingers in the mouth as you sip while the chilli kicks in the second you stop to rest. It is addictive and at the same time, spicy that causes sweat to trickle down the forehead (for me at least).

As we paused to soak in all we have eaten and realised the main course had yet to come, our attention led to Andre and Danny talking about the history of the place. Having opened in 1994, there are still signs of aging in the bungalow which reveals the age (in a good way) from the parquet floors (similar to my old house where i lived in since 1985) to the structure of the building. Targeting the high end niche market and people looking for a nice quiet meal, this place definitely deserves a re-visit in the near future.

Service was prompt and in no time the mains had arrived VIP style.

The humongous sauteed live spider crab in thai chilli paste. The crustacean was still moving moments before it was cooked. So in terms of freshness, the meat was super sweet. The sauce was not spared as it was flavoured from the crab as we drowned the sauce with rice. However knowing the market price of this creature, this would probably be the first and last time.

A more affordable but still equally as grand and expensive, the thai steamed soon hock with lime and chilli. It was cut and served to us individually and i don't think i got my favourite parts (i.e. near the belly). The fish texture was alright eventhough it was swimming moments ago too. Either there was too much acidity that may have effected the fish or it just goes to show that it is so hard to get a quality firm soon hock compared to 10 years ago because the good ones all travel to the richer asian countries.

The roast duck curry with lychee. I think i might have found a competitor to the duck curry in My Elephant. This is more affordable too, ala-carte order is RM28-30 (if i am not mistaken). The roast duck is cut into smaller pieces and thus soaks up the flavours easily. This dish screams out for rice.

Lightly sauteed NZ lamb with young pepper and basil. The meat was very tender and i loved the addition of the green young pepper seeds. Those who don't like the smell and taste of lamb would probably still fall for this for the melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Lastly a stir fried asparagus with sea snails and oyster sauce. The sweetness of the shellfish lends the flavour to what is an ordinary vegetable dish.

By now one would be full, i mean how can you be not full?

Not full once they bring you the platter of desserts. Take a pick from all of the "live" samples before they prepare for it in the kitchen.

Meanwhile take a sip of champagne (not part of the RM300 meal of course)

The custard with pumpkin showed how sweetness can be in different ways; naturally from pumpkin or using sugar. Smooth custard with equally soft steamed pumpkin flesh.

Tapioca with a coconut dip. Love this dish as i find the mango with sticky rice hard to digest. Looks like it is rather hard to find fault with this place unless i am being a prick.

Fried bananas, which only fault is the lack of ice-cream to go with it.

The obligatory mango with sticky rice. Riped mangos that were consistently sweet from the few pieces i had.

To cool things down, we also had the red ruby and cendol.

By now, we were stuffed to the brim, satisfied by the fact that one can actually pay RM300 and be such a happy man/woman treated like a king/queen.

If you are looking to splurge on a grand Thai meal, i think this is it.

Address and contact details:

5 Jalan U Thant, 55000 Kuala Lumpur,Wilayah Persekutuan
Tel: 03-2143 2663

Verdict: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. The place is catered to the better equipped wallet but at the same time i don't see why the usual ala-carte menu will not shine if the quality of the sauces and style are maintained throughout. For special ocassions or a quiet night out, Rama V has really impressed me with their Thai cuisine.

Thank you so much Andre and Danny for being the generous hosts!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sri Nyonya @ Section 22, Petaling Jaya

It must be the gazillionth time that i am saying this, i love a nice quiet meal, preferably the whole if not a nice part of the restaurant alone to myself. Sad to say whenever we find a place that suits the criteria, one of a few things happen:

1. Other people like me, swarm there thinking that it will be nice and quiet for them resulting into a warfare.
2. They continue to be quiet until they cant survive on my business alone and close shop.
3. The food is crap and they follow the path of no.2.
4. You are damn lucky in visiting the restaurant when its all quiet and having it all to yourself.

So when my girlfriend asked me to go to Sri Nyonya in Petaling Jaya for lunch, i expected throngs of people (the norm of PJ life, i presume).

What a pleasant surprise, throughout the whole lunch, there was only one other couple. Although the ambience is not exactly "romantic", "rustic" or "welcoming", you can still seat without having to sweat buckets and eat in peace.

However since the weather was darn hot, the cendol was welcoming as a starter rather than a dessert. The chewy snake like pieces is a transparent-like colour as compared to the usual milky limped snakes you get.

We ordered a kerabu that was spicy and came with a kick. The cloud ear fungus lend a crunch to the dish.

The Eggplant dish done their speciality style which escapes me at the moment came in a very spicy but addictive sauce. The shallots were welcomed for the aroma.

The beef rendang pieces were aromatic but lacked the tenderness. By now, my tongue was rather numb and i had no idea what level of spicyness was emitting from this dish.

Pardon my lack of knowledge in Nyonya food but i thought this was quite a decent meal for under RM50. Especially since its hidden in a neighbourhood and its quiet too.

Address and contact details:

14 Jalan 22/49
Petaling Jaya 46300

GPS Coordinates:

N 3o 5.947 E 101o 37.48

N 3.09912 E 101.62475

Tel: +603-7875 1031
Fax: +603-7873 7702

Verdict: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. For a restaurant that has been opened since 1986, it can only mean one of the few things i mentioned above. I was just damn lucky, i reckon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Not So Secret Curry Prawns @ Nibong Tebal

Nibong Tebal sounds and probably is a nobody's town where the residents live their lives peacefully and satisfyingly. Although there have a secret that has been rather well kept and we are not talking about Cheang Kee.

It is the freshwater prawns.

With the amount of freshwater prawns lurking around the rivers, i would be guarding the secret of Nibong Tebal very possesively too.

So the deal was this.

We were to get there through a secret GPS co-ordinate, eat the prawns like no tomorrow but we swear upon our DSLRs and cholesterol levels that we shall not reveal the exact location.

All i can say is EUREKA!

Sip at some freshly bottled sugar cane.

While the secret coding conversation was going on i.e.

Who are you?

Mrs So and So son. She called for some uber fresh prawns to be kept for us.

Really? Hmmm (At this point, i am not sure if there was any photostating of IC)

Ok, you sure right?

Yeah, serve me the damn prawns, would ya?

There it was, a huge plate of effing prawns. Coated in a chinese thick style curry. Look carefully and the roe oozes out from the head. The high you get is probably as good as it can get. If people are already heading to chocolates to substitute orgasms, you just might want to try curry prawns.

If you are lucky, there get fresh batches from the local Malays which went into our stomachs too. The meaning of fresh goes to a whole new level.

Dip in steamed bread. Soft but with character as it is chewy and doesn't get soggy from all the curry.

Combine it together, and you got a prawn sandwich.

The fish was beautifully steamed too with preserved vegetables, you want proof?

Here you go.

Some classic cabbage fried with true "wok hei".

Still not sure whether we enjoyed it?

Just look at the DJs in da house!

Location: Secret, however if you are smart enough to Google, you can try searching for curry prawns, nibong tebal. You just might get lucky.

For RM60, you get a cholesterol laden prawn meal, this deserve the ultimate 5 stars.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pasembor and Mee Rojak along with some Pork Satay @ Bangkok Lane (The Jalan Burma End)

Just a short walk away from the Appom place, is Bangkok lane.

The place is a real beauty for photography, a mixture of old shop houses, refurbished with hints of western, nyonya and chinese. However by the time we walked from Jalan Burma into Bangkok Lane, i was instead lured to the uncle doing this thing.

Frying his mee.

Off the others went to snap away at the buildings as i sat down and admired how the man fried his mee with style, swirling his wok and making a symphony of noises as the mee cooked under the fire.

While you admire him frying his mee rojak, enjoy a plate of pasembor (also known as Indian Rojak, to me). The lime definitely plays a big part in lighting up the dish and tones down the big flavours you usually find in the sauce. The fritters, squid and the lettuce, oh so yum.

Looking for something more substantial, and they permeate the pasembor flavours into the noodles by tossing them all in the wok. What you get is a substantial meal or a great way to have a light snack for a few fellows.

The Pasembor and the Mee version is worth a try.

Not enough? Meet the uncle and auntie selling pork satay down the street. For 50 cents, what you get is a rather toned down version as compared to the heavily infused ones in Kajang. Some of us tasted tumeric, but my poor tongue could taste nothing much except that it is pork. The mildly sweet sauce and the bread did the satay no good too. I would be much happier if i took the pork down to the satay guys in Kajang to plead them to cook it for me.

I would have rather not ate the above.

Moving along as we ate everything up, should i continue with Penang Food? Or shall we start on our Prawn Fest?

Stay tune.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wanton Mee @ Sai Lam (or Nam?) Coffee Shop, Corner of Chulia St and Carnarvon St

Where the stars meet and the sky darkens almost instantly in broad daylight, its known as a solar eclipse.

Where Lebuh Chulia and Lebuh Carnavon meets, you find Sai Lam (or Nam?) Coffee Shop and oh wonderful wanton noodles.

Basically the same phenomenon; the element of surprise.

The unexpecting wanton noodle stall that opens after lunch and closes when he finishes which is known to be before dinner time. Welcoming as a snack. A small little stall, how good can the noodles be, you would think.

Busy man and women cooking up the storm.

Good old fashion vegetables, a quick boil, sesame oil, oyster sauce and pepper along with some tightly packed with minced pork wantons. Freshly made by the auntie like shes in a world of her own.

You have two choices as to how you want to eat your jumping al-dente egg noodles; with beef parts or the usual char siew and wanton.

By just looking at the picture, the crunchiness of the noodles is evident from the curly look. The last thing you want is to bite into limping noodles and this was certainly not the case. The flavourful tendon completes the dish.

The Red Char Siew threw me off, so i gladly dug into my beef noodles.

If you thought that this was it, you got to wait for the price.

RM 2.70 a bowl.

Where to get a portion thats just nice (not a hefty portion that is more than one should handle) and a ohh so affordable price?

At Sai Lam (or Nam) Coffee Shop; where Chulia street and Carnarvon street meets.