Friday, February 28, 2014

Magic 1 @ Lotus State Cineplex & Private Corner @ Tung Shin Hospital

Checking out a couple of unconventional venues for food reviews: Petaling Jaya's Lotus Five Star State Cineplex ...

 ... & Pudu's Tung Shin Hospital.

First up, PJ New Town's Lotus State Cinema, where Magic 1 opened this year, serving hawker specialities in a setting that's well-lit, clean-looking & completely comfortable.

 Penang favourites form the focus; the selection ranges from a passable char kuey teow (below RM6, with several somewhat shrivelled cockles & a few fair-sized prawns) to assam laksa ...

 ... & Hokkien Char with sambal belacan (relatively uncommon in the Klang Valley) to chicken lor bak, ais kacang & cendol.

The big surprise: Magic 1 offers wine (!!!), including an unusual Australian red laced with green tea (a little less alcohol, a lot more antioxidants), pleasant-tasting & refreshing for hot afternoons.

Next up, Private Corner, a basic cafe that gets pretty busy near Tung Shin Hospital's main lobby. 

 Private Corner's advantage: its low prices. A bowl of pumpkin soup is RM3; not the most memorable, but (fittingly enough for a hospital eatery), it tastes wholesome.

The latte costs RM6, but it can be skipped. Not much flavour in this cup.

 Magic 1
Ground Floor, Lotus State Cineplex, Petaling Jaya
Daily, 8am-midnight

Private Corner
Tung Shin Hospital, 102, Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur

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As a separate initiative, the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favorites for January-March 2014 is now online, featuring 100 pretty nice eateries, including more than 20 new entries for this quarter. This eBook of restaurant recommendations is available for free, convenient reading on computers, tablets & smartphones at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.publ.com/Eat-Drink-KL-100-Favorites-Jan-March-2014 (This link expires March 31, 2014; see blog entries after that date for new link).

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Boat Noodle @ Empire Damansara

Bangkok's 'boat noodles' have sailed into Damansara Perdana, stirring up a sweet-&-spicy storm for fans of Thai fare.


 Boat Noodle _ which isn't officially open but has been hosting test sessions _ plays it somewhat safe by sticking to the beef & chicken versions of its namesake, shunning porcine blood & crackling for resolutely bovine & fowl broths. But even without pork, these little bowls still pack plenty of nuance, with undercurrents of a savoury-sour tang.

The broth relies on beef bones or chicken stock, depending on which one customers order. The flavours so far seem pleasant instead of punchy, but what we tasted here might not exactly be what this outlet serves when it launches, likely next month; the kitchen is still tinkering with the recipes, so Boat Noodle should prove unsinkable by March.

 Customers are advised to order three bowls per person for a fairly filling meal. Each bowl here will likely clock in at RM1.90, more than what they cost near Victory Monument, but calculative customers should appreciate being able to save on airfare to the Land of Smiles.

 Chilled pandan-coconut desserts that could pass off for Nyonya puddings, served in small bowls as well, constitute the ideal wrap-up to a meal here. Absolutely addictive.

 Boat Noodle is a friendly place that harbours no pretensions of striving to satisfy patrons with anything but freshly assembled soul food; this place could float close to the top of eateries to check out once it opens.

Our one request: Add offal to the noodles here. We love our liver, we'll be thankful for tendons & tripe.

Boat Noodle
G3A, Empire Damansara, Jalan PJU 8/8, Damansara Perdana

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As a separate initiative, the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favorites for January-March 2014 is now online, featuring 100 pretty nice eateries, including more than 20 new entries for this quarter. This eBook of restaurant recommendations is available for free, convenient reading on computers, tablets & smartphones at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.publ.com/Eat-Drink-KL-100-Favorites-Jan-March-2014 (This link expires March 31, 2014; see blog entries after that date for new link).

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Elizabeth @ Setiawalk Puchong

Decked out with gleaming chandeliers, Elizabeth could be the closest thing to a fine-dining restaurant in Puchong, whipping up European specialities at prices that are blessedly not as punishing as feared.

Inventiveness is the kitchen's watchword; Elizabeth's menu ditches mushroom soup for a sweeter starter, a chilled broth that blends pureed strawberries & oranges into something that succeeds as a refreshing recipe for these heat-troubled times. RM15.

Coffee-scented risotto with mussels (RM38 nett). The execution for some of these could be fine-tuned though; this rice is mushier than necessary, while the fragrance of coffee seems illusory. Still, the idea itself is nice, so there's certainly hope.

No lack of meat on offer: Everything from blackcurrant duck (RM33), a fun way to feast on fowl ...

... to chicken confit (RM23) with buttered peas, olives & an herbal medley of sage, rosemary & thyme (no parsley? heh) ... 

... to lamb rack with fried bread (RM48), a main course that illustrates Elizabeth's strengths & weaknesses all on one plate. This restaurant deserves admiration for its ambition & its passion to produce interesting dishes, so we hope it'll take time to reflect on how to make its ingredients really shine & leave a memorable impression.

Elizabeth is located incongruously inside Setiawalk's Grand Shanghai Food Theme Park; it's an odd neighbour for the dim sum & bak kut teh restaurants that populate this fourth-floor section of the complex beneath the TGV multiplex.


Elizabeth Fine Dine
Level 4, Setia Walk, Puchong
Park in the basement at Zone E and take the elevator up

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings (even before they're featured on this blog), F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
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As a separate initiative, the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favorites for January-March 2014 is now online, featuring 100 pretty nice eateries, including more than 20 new entries for this quarter. This eBook of restaurant recommendations is available for free, convenient reading on computers, tablets & smartphones at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.publ.com/Eat-Drink-KL-100-Favorites-Jan-March-2014 (This link expires March 31, 2014; see blog entries after that date for new link).

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Lao Jiulou: 老酒楼 Old Restaurant or Bukit Desa Kopitiam @ Taman Bukit Desa


What's old is very much new again: Lao Jiu Lou, or Old Restaurant, is the latest bulwark of F&B emperor Seiji Fujimoto's dominion over Taman Desa, a ramen specialist that's poised to become Fujimoto's fourth suburban smash after Sanuki Udon, Taishu Yakiniku BBQ & Maruhi Sakaba Yakitori.

Lao Jiu Lou feels like a cool hybrid of an old-fashioned Japanese izakaya & a roadside Chinese hole-in-the-wall; it's atmospheric without overdoing it, evoking elements of Fujimoto's earlier eateries to stir up something with triumphantly singular charm. Bravo.

Fujimoto has repeatedly proven that he's more than savvy enough to know what works for Taman Desa; Lao Jiu Lou is well-thought-out in every respect. Its food falls unfailingly in the 'cheerfully cheap' classification, with RM9 tonkatsu ramen reigning on top of a one-page menu, costing a third of what patrons pay in malls.

Sure, this isn't as sumptuous as the best ramen out there, but it's satisfactory; the broth might not plumb rich, brute-force depths of pleasure, but it's sweet & tasty enough. Half a seasoned egg & a substantial slice of pork cha-siu round up the fundamentals for a freshly made, fuss-free lunch that's filling & fulfilling.

Pork gyoza clocks in at RM5 (a lamb variation will be available soon), pillowy-plump & juicy, with thick but soft skin, delicious when gobbled up piping-hot with ginger & vinegar. 

Chinese components offered here include spiced roast pork (RM12), siu yok that's nothing if not absolutely addictive. 

Moreish morsels of flavoursome succulence, with a golden-brown topside that's notable for its firmer-than-expected crunch. Served with melt-in-the-mouth potatoes & crisp carrots. 

More meatiness: Cha-shu with cabbage (RM10). Best with rice or noodles. 

Lao Jiu Lou's menu is less than descriptive: Some customers might dismiss what's simply typed out as "Steam Chicken," but they'll have missed a memorable mix of chicken leg with flat rice noodles & veggies on a platter of salty soup (RM10). 

Similarly, the cryptically named 'Special Rice' is something less ordinary, a balanced meal with minced meat & waxed sausage. Not quite lap mei fan, but comfort food always makes for delightful discoveries nonetheless.

Alas, no sake is available, but Japanese Asahi & Chinese Tsingtao beers are.

Lao Jiu Lou is on the same street as Sanuki Udon & the two other neighbourhood newbies, The Soda Factory & Encore Patisserie. Look for the lanterns, since the permanent signboard isn't up so far.  It opens all day long, 11:30am-9:30pm, but is closed on Mondays, like Fujimoto's other outlets. 

Lao Jiu Lou 老酒楼 Old Restaurant
Also known as Bukit Desa Kopitiam
Jalan Bukit Desa 5, Taman Bukit Desa, Kuala Lumpur


Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings (even before they're featured on this blog), F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter will be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

As a separate initiative, the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favorites for January-March 2014 is now online, featuring 100 pretty nice eateries, including more than 20 new entries for this quarter. This eBook of restaurant recommendations is available for free, convenient reading on computers, tablets & smartphones at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.publ.com/Eat-Drink-KL-100-Favorites-Jan-March-2014 (This link expires March 31, 2014; see blog entries after that date for new link).

Monday, February 24, 2014

Frisky Goat & Thursdvys @ Taman Tun Dr Ismail

It's been an action-packed weekend for folks in TTDI, where not one but TWO terrific new cafes roared open to brisk business: Frisky Goat at Burhanuddin Helmi ...

 ... & Thursdvys, which opened on a Saturday, ironically, at Datuk Sulaiman 1. Note that Thursdvys is pronounced 'Thursdays' _ the spelling quirk is simply meant to help this outlet stand out on Instagram & Twitter.

Frisky Goat & Thursdvys have very little in common, except that they're both filled with buoyantly friendly people & both places radiate plenty of positive vibes. Frisky Goat's probably our better bet for now, since it's serving hot food, while Thursdvy's kitchen will only open late next month.

 Let's not save the best for last: Frisky Goat's baked eggs (RM18.50) seem like the most satisfying ever in Taman Tun ...

 ... perfectly prepared, beautifully balanced in both flavour & texture, mixed with slices of spiced sausage, cherry tomatoes & beef bacon that's surprisingly tastier than the norm, partnered with Frisky Goat's own-baked crusty toast. Absolutely adore this.

Poached eggs are served with a difference too, atop a fresh-tasting Belgian waffle (waffles are becoming perceptibly trendy in the Klang Valley) & partnered with seared salmon, sauteed mushrooms & an eye-catching, tomato-tinged hollandaise sauce. RM21.  

The French toast (RM20) employs a less ordinary recipe as well, expertly executed & convincingly complemented with apple chutney, spiced roasted walnuts, honey, vanilla ice cream (super-smooth) & chantilly cream.

 Cakes here are also distinctive: The strawberry-raspberry Red Opera, topped with crimson-coloured almonds, will turn heads.

 Love Frisky Goat's espresso creme brulee, soft & sumptuous. Actually, our only possible complaint about this place is that it's not big enough; seating can feel cramped & vacant tables will be scarce on weekend afternoons.

 Frisky Goat's owners graciously acknowledge that their prowess in coffee-making might not be this neighbourhood's most impressive, but they still do good work with their Colombian beans. The outlet will extend its hours through dinnertime soon; expect heartier bistro-style fare including beef bourguignon. Frisky Goat is also a bakery, so head here for pastries galore.

 Also totally worth a stop: Thursdvys, one of KL's most handsomely designed caffeine bars. Hats off to the people who worked on constructing this place; there's a lot to admire here _ we're not sure where to start.

Blends from Singapore's Common Man Coffee Roasters surface again in KL; the coffee's nice & nuanced here.

 Beat the heat with a peach cooler mocktail or an iced latte.

Hot food should be served starting March 22, but customers can trifle with various desserts at Thursdvys for now. All in all, both Frisky Goat & Thursdvys are set to soar in the popularity stakes. Take note, writers of "Twelve Brunch Places in KL You MUST Try Before The Zombie Apocalypse Hits" lists.

 Frisky Goat
72, Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi, Taman Tun Dr Ismail. Beside Public Bank.
Open Tuesday-Sunday starting 8am. Through 5pm for now, 11pm eventually.

Thursdvys
22, Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail. Same row as Presto supermarket.
Open 9am-10pm, closed Thursdays (!!!)

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings (even before they're featured on this blog), F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter will be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

As a separate initiative, the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favorites for January-March 2014 is now online, featuring 100 pretty nice eateries, including more than 20 new entries for this quarter. This eBook of restaurant recommendations is available for free, convenient reading on computers, tablets & smartphones at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.publ.com/Eat-Drink-KL-100-Favorites-Jan-March-2014 (This link expires March 31, 2014; see blog entries after that date for new link).