Thursday, 10 November 2011

Spanish Buffet @ La Gomera

Last Sunday afternoon saw us at La Gomera, a Spanish buffet & dining restaurant in Damansara Perdana. It has been a long time since I've had Spanish food. Spanish restaurants, for some reason, don't last in this country.

My first Spanish food was back in the 1990s at a restaurant in Park Royal Hotel. The restaurant no longer exists. 

There was a joke flying around then, about how when the bull lost the fight, its balls were sold to restaurants. But what happens if the matador lost?? With a straight face, the waiter replied that the balls served would be smaller.....

Anyway....we arrived at 12:30pm and there was a large crowd already seated and chomping away (the buffet starts at 12 noon). Spanish food is mostly meat, so it was no surprise to see the crowd couldn't really devour a lot of meat in one sitting. By 1:30pm the restaurant was almost empty.

The all-Spanish beef tripe, lamb stew, meatball (I think it's a human's size!) and some Spanish-beef-something (forgot what's the name) was truly delicious. The Spanish spaghetti was different, too. I loved it all.

Unfortunately, many of the patrons there did not know how to appreciate authentic Spanish cuisine. They put the ladle into the pots, pushed the food around and left empty-handed. Some even scooped up the food to take a closer look at it, then dumped them on the side plate with comments like "don't know what's that" in Cantonese. I guess they must be illiterate, since there were tags on each pot. They went for the less authentic Spanish fare, opting for the grilled stuff and salad. 

We tried the grills, too.....they were good, but anyone who goes to a Spanish restaurant should try the Spanish food at least once. How do they know they don't like it if they hadn't tried it?

The grilled salmon was lovely

The grilled tenderloin was ok, it was a bit too fibrous for me

The girlled lamb and squid were fantastic, while the Spanish pizza was a tad too salty for me.

Hubby's mess....paella, mussels, Spanish spaghetti and I don't know what else. He doesn't believe in ladling his food into neat little categories on the plate.

More of hubby's mess

La Gomera is not big on dessert. There wasn't much variety, with only a limited selection of fruits and ice cream. There were two puddings....egg pudding and mango pudding. And one type of cinnamon rolls and butter cake with raisins.

Still, I enjoyed my sojourn there very much. 

La Gomera
Block E-LG-1, NeoDamansara
Jalan PJU 8/1,
Damansara Perdana
Tel: (03) 7710 0262

Sang Har Lor Mee @ Dengkil

I'm not big on lor mee as I'm not a fan of those big, thick yellow noodles. However, I made an exception each time for this special lor mee at Dengkil. This is the only lor mee hubby could drag me to, and I think it's time I blogged about it for posterity. 

Hmm...posterity...I know, a weird choice of word, considering that we don't have kids...well, for the general future generations, then, for someone 100 years from now who stumbles upon this food journey of mine. They might be interested to see what we dinosaurs eat in our time.

What's so special about this lor mee? First, the sang har (fresh water prawns) meat was removed from the shells, and cooked together with the noodle, allowing for the taste to be fully absorbed into the gravy. Each spoonful has that distinctive sang har aroma. 

Second, with the meat deshelled and cut into bite sizes, it makes the dish less messy to eat. The price has increased from RM40 to RM42, but the portion remains enough for two.

The stir-fried kailan was not that great, however. They did not use Hong Kong kailan. It tasted more like green mustard leaves than kailan. They retained the price of vegetables at RM6 a plate.

To get there, one can either take the Jalan Banting-Jalan Kajang/Dengkil or Pintasan Dengkil Bypass.

Restoran Yew Hin
No. 94, Jalan Besar,
Dengkil, Selangor

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Poco Zakka & Kitchen @ Sunway Giza

Poco Zakka is a Japanese fusion cafe. The deco and ambience, however, is the least Japanese-fusion like. The setup is bucolic, more a la scones and tea cafe. I wouldn't have blinked if the waiters had started serving scones, pancakes or muffins. I guess the owner of the cafe must have a penchant for things rustic.

The first dish to arrive was grilled salmon with fries, french   
beans and mushrooms. In Poco Zakka, the staff does not believe in serving the soup first. When I enquired as to where was our soup, the staff told us not to worry, "the soup will come soon." When I said that the soup should be served first, he replied rather rudely that "this is how we do things here." 

The pumpkin soup arrived shortly. It was cold. No, not the chilled soup that you take in summer, but hot soup that has gone cold.
If it wasn't for the lovely grilled salmon which was went well with the buttery lemon sauce, I would have screamed murder. There's nothing I hate more than being served hot soup gone cold.

We finished off with a chocolate molten cake served with ice cream. Now, that was what I lived for. Dessert has always been my favourite part of a meal. 
Look at the chocolate fudge....sinfully delicious!! 

Will I return? If it hadn't been for the rude staff and cold soup, I would have given a resounding yes. As it is, I am not sure.

C-01-G, Sunway Giza Mall
Jalan PJU 5/14, PJU 5
Kota Damansara
Petaling Jaya
Tel: (03) 6151 1268

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Han Woo Ri Korean Barbecue Restaurant

Last Sunday afternoon, mum had one of her 'better' days. Her drugs were able to mask her pain, and after getting lunch for her, I could escape for a couple of hours. No doubt, 1pm is a little late to leave for lunch at USJ, but the outlet is opened till 3pm and we knew we would arrive by 2pm. And we did, despite the traffic jam.

Why all the way to USJ? We had bought two Groupon vouchers, at RM25 each, for a meal valued at RM45 each. And we hadn't had a chance to use it since we bought it in mid-August.

The meal came with marinated pork ribs, a savoury Korean pancake, 12 refillable side dishes, tea and watermelon slices. 

Like all Korean barbecue restaurants, the pork ribs were cooked in front of us. We were drooling as the aroma wafted out and into the steel 'ventilation exhaust' suspended over the grill plate.

I found the pork to be a tad salty. I had to go easy on the dipping sauce which was made of tau cheong (preserved soy beans paste) and used more of the honey. But hubby was fine with it and didn't find it salty at all. Maybe it's just me, after all, hubby keeps telling me that I have a low tolerance for sodium.

Rice was not included in the set, and was priced at RM5 each. A little pricey for plain white rice, I think. We ordered two bowls, but each of us finished only less than half of our rice. It was a very filling meal. Look at the spread! 

1D & 2D Jalan USJ 10/1J
Taipan Business Centre
Subang Jaya
Tel: (03) 8023 3357

Monday, 19 September 2011

Kenchara Tibetan Vegetarian Food

Two Sundays ago, mother-in-law wanted to try a new Tibetan restaurant at Viva (formerly known as UE3) and asked us to take her there. She had never tried Tibetan food before and wanted to try it. 

However, upon arriving there and having studied the menu, we were disappointed to find that Kenchara was not a genuine Tibetan restaurant. It was a vegetarian restaurant with a wide selection of Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese and Taiwanese food. There were only three Tibetan dishes on the menu. We ordered all three plus one Taiwanese dish.

The first dish to arrive was the Asa Bhima. It was baked Tibetan bun with carrot, cheese and potato fillings served with Masala sauce. 
It didn't look like a bun to me, but it had an interesting flavour. There were eight wedges, and four of us, but I only got to eat one piece. Hey, who took my other piece?? I have a feeling it was hubby that took my share....

Next to arrive was the Dong Po Yak Beef. According to their menu, it's steamed black bean with soy bean and mushroom. Hmm....I must be really naive, but where's the black bean, soy bean and mushroom?? 
Although it's supposed to be mock beef, it didn't resemble beef. It looked more like pork belly. It's quite good, though I prefer the tai wong mooi vegetable. But then, I've always preferred the green vegetables and tofu over mock meat.

The Amdo Yak Beef with Tingmo looked more like mock beef. The mock meat was stir fried with soy protein, chickpeas, dried chilli and plenty of black pepper served with steamed plain buns. Again, where were the chickpeas??
I must say the steamed plain buns went very well with the dish. I'd say the taste is quite close to our local kong poh style.

Those three were the only Tibetan dishes the so-called Tibetan restaurant has. Our fourth item was a Taiwanese dish, Xiang Chun Steamed Tofu.  
I'm not sure how to describe the has been two weeks, and I don't really remember what it tasted like other than unusual.

Friday, 9 September 2011

T.G.I.Friday's @ Hartamas Shopping Centre

Ever since hubby had to go on a special diet, meat has not featured in our menu for a while. We used to go for steak or burgers every now and then, and I miss burgers so much. I know, it's junk food, but I do so love burgers. 

Not able to stand the craving for some real burgers, I managed to persuade hubby to go to T.G.I.Friday's for some burgers for lunch during the long Raya break. I only like those thick patties served at Friday's, American Chillies or Tony Roma's. Those patties at Carl's Junior, Burger King and McDonald's (especially McDonald's) are so thin, so pathetic, they ought not to be called burgers.

However, when we got there, I changed my mind and opted for tacos instead. Tacos is another thing I missed having. 

The sliced barbecued beef tacos were stuffed into two tortillas with melted cheese, deep-fried onions and a tangy creamy sauce. It was a huge serving, and I left the chips untouched. I couldn't eat another mouthful, I was that full. RM26.90 (price included for the benefit of friends who asked).

We ordered the Eggplant Rollatini to share. They were grilled eggplant rolls stuffed with ricotta, Parmesan cheese and basil, and topped with bruschetta marinara and melted Parmesan cheese. It's one of the new "Small Plates for RM10.90 each" on the menu. Super yummy.

We found something hubby could eat, cedar seared salmon pasta. The salmon fillets were pan-seared and coated with cedar smoke seasoning and served over zucchinis and fettuccine. The sauce is a blend of creamy Alfredo, bruschetta marinara and lemon. Really nice. If I hadn't been craving for beef, I would have ordered this, too. RM27.90

One thing I have to say about American portions - I didn't need any tea time break, and up to 8pm, I was still not hungry for dinner.

Shogun @ Fahrenheit 88

When Shogun, a Japanese buffet restaurant, first opened its doors at 1-Utama, we were one of those crowd that tripped in to try its buffet spread. We were disappointed in its sub-par sashimi spread. I remember the salmon, tuna and butter fish wasn't that fresh. And so we declared war on it. For outlets that are sub-par in either food quality, service, or value, hubby and I would turn to each other and say "war" simultaneously. It means we are never going back to that outlet.

So, when we chanced upon Shogun at Fahrenheit 88 (formerly known as KL Plaza), we were skeptical. We were given to understand that this outlet was opened not too long ago, and are holding some promotions. One of the promotion was, on the date of your birthday, you get to eat for free, provided that you are accompanied by at least another paying guest. Besides this promotion, there was an ongoing 15% discount off the menu price.

As it was hubby's birthday, we would only be paying for one person (RM62.90 after less 15% discount), so it was a question of whether we want to give Shogun another try. Perhaps this new outlet would be an improved one. And we made the right decision. It was a  better outlet than the one in 1-Utama, both in terms of the buffet spread and quality.

The deep-fried lotus root and kangkong (water convolvulus) wasn't great, though. They were soft and not crispy as they should be. I guess that's probably due to their lying at the tempura section for too long.

The prawns tempura were better, since they had just been removed from the wok. However, I did not quite like the batter. I prefer the lighter tempura batter.

Imagine our surprise to find steamed cod fish. I mean, cod is sold at RM109.90 a kg here. What gives? 

The teppanyaki was made to order. When the cook at the teppanyaki saw that I only had a few slices of beef and salmon for him to fry, he gestured to the array of chicken, vegetables and mushrooms and invited me to add more as the amount I had would not fill a plate. He was surprised when I told him that I like my plate to contain only a small amount of food at a time.

Cawanmushi and miso soup are staples that are must-have....for me, anyway.

After filling myself to nearly choking level, here comes my favourite....dessert. I just love dessert. Another must-have whether I'm about to puke or not.

The sago Melaka was not that great. Totally not fragrant at all, and I think they cheated with evaporate milk. I mean, it didn't taste like coconut least, not the coconut milk I'm accustomed to. The green tea cake was hardly worth a mention, but the chocolate orange cake was super yummy. Not too sweet, it had loads of chocolatey flavour plus a hint of orange. Just a hint, mind you. The peanut mochi was so-so, I prefer the local ones found at kueh stalls.

The pumpkin custard was also another so-so, and neither is the coffee cake anything to shout about. See another chocolate orange cake there? :)  I swear, this plate was not mine, it's diabetic hubby's, LOL!

 I was almost about to puke when I took two more chocolate orange cakes and honeydew sago and chocolate ice cream. Even hubby was shocked for once. His jaw dropped and he asked "Again?? Are you sure?". Yup, I love ice-cream and chocolate cakes. 

The promotion is valid till end of the year and is available at any of Shogun's four outlets. There's also a promotion for senior citizens. If you are aged 55 and above, you get a 50% discount. The regular price is RM63.80++.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Wok Sifu

Wok Sifu opened its doors for business a month ago at Jusco Metro Prima. It took over the premises vacated by Food & Tea. 

A couple of Saturdays ago, after we had purchased our tickets for Cowboys and Aliens, we decided to have our dinner at Wok Sifu. The decor looked promising....mmm....don't ask me why I thought a restaurant's decor is related to its food quality, because it really isn't. Wok Sifu turned out to be a disappointment.

Hubby had the noodle soup with Taiwan pork meatballs. The meatballs (only three of them) were good, but the soup wasn't anything to shout about. Price: RM9.90

I ordered the cheese baked rice with beef, but there was hardly any cheese flavour, if at all. It was mostly evaporated milk and egg baked rice. They had just opened, and were already cutting corners! If they can't make a cheese baked rice at RM14.80, they should have just marked it up a bit more. I am sure their customers wouldn't have minded.

The only thing that was good was the hot almond tea with egg. 

They gave us the above vouchers for our next visit, but we left it behind. Sorry, even though there are freebies and discounts, we won't be going back.

Wok Sifu
1st Floor, Jusco Metro Prima,

Room Eighteen

Room Eighteen, one of the Tai Thong Group of Restaurants, first opened in April 2009 at Tropicana Mall. The restaurant offers Hong Kong style cuisine.

Last Saturday, not feeling well, I was in no mood to explore the myriad of restaurants at Hartamas Shopping Centre. I wanted only porridge and Room Eighteen seems like as good an option as any.

The crispy lotus root with salted egg yolk caught my attention right away. I love anything deep-fried in salted egg and I knew I had to try it. No regrets ordering this dish. The thin slices of lotus root coated in mashed salted egg yolk was unique and crispy. Truly delicious.

The deep-fried brinjal was not bad either, although I found it to be a tad salty and not so unique. 

The fish and duck meat congee was superb. The fish fillet was thick and chunky and the congee was cooked in that perfect, smooth texture that Hong Kong chefs are famous for.

Hubby ordered the egg and beef congee....he loved it. 

Michelle ordered the Thai soup rice or something.....sorry, I can't recall the name of the dish as I forgot to take the receipt...blame it on my unwell condition. Michelle was a bit disappointed with this, said it was not authentic. Hmm....well, it's not a Thai restaurant, it's a Hong Kong style restaurant, so I suppose they do not know how to prepare a Thai dish. :)

Simon ordered the spicy brinjal rice. I tried a spoonful and found it to be spicy.

Simon had the sweetened sago with mango for dessert. He was the only one who still had room for dessert that night. It looked good. They had some interesting desserts that I would have tried had I been feeling better. As it is, I could not finish my porridge even though it was good.

I would like to try their other dishes, especially their signature menu, when I am feeling better and could really eat.

Room Eighteen,
Hartamas Shopping Centre,
Lot G18 & G19, Ground Floor,
Plaza Damas,
Sri Hartamas