Friday, 29 July 2011

Payung Cafe @ Cherating Village

Payung Cafe, a reggae pub-bistro is one of the very few cafes in Cherating that sells beer. Carlsberg is its only 'vice', there's no other alcoholic drinks on the menu. Did I say pub bistro? Yes I did. If Payung Cafe were located in KL, it would have been a full fledged reggae pub bistro, I'm sure.

With this kind of welcome, how could I stay away?  :P

At the entrance, beneath the roof, is this sign.......

It was a good thing I went as Mrs Potato, and not my alter ego, Blackie Bond. Blackie Bond would have been armed. As Mrs Potato, my only weapon is my huge elephant-sized thighs. 

The reggae-look interior, with reggae music playing in the background

Photos of the  proprietor and his wife

The proprietor, in his dreadlocks hairstyle, was about to leave with his wife when we arrived at 12:45pm. His wife is the cook, and we had to persuade them to cook for us before they went gallivanting. Other guests were not so lucky. They were turned away.

The menu was rather limited, but it's ok. We are not too fussy when we're on one of those "back to kampung" holidays.

Baked tomatoes with bolognaise and cheese

The baked tomatoes with bolognaise and cheese were yummy, but not so the garlic bread. The latter was rather common.

Penne Arrabiata

Speaking of common, I ordered a very common dish, Penne Arrabiata. It was a little disappointing. The tomato sauce was way too diluted.

On a totally unrelated subject, rice is supposed to be the Chinese's staple food. Some Chinese must have rice for every meal or they'll feel like they haven't eaten yet. We call those people fun-tong in Cantonese, or pnui tang in Hokkien, which literally translated, means rice bin. It makes me wonder, what would people call me? Pasta bin?? 

A non-paying guest.....hubby's cousin??

For other non-food related stories on Cherating, please visit my other blog:
1. Turtle watching
2. Mangrove river tour
3. Cherating, The Good and The Bad

Friday, 22 July 2011

Beef with tomatoes for my guinea pigs

I admit I'm hyper and I get bored easily. I like changes and anything new. That includes what I serve for dinner, to the delight of hubby and dismay of mum. They never knew if one day I might serve them roasted mice on skewers.

But I haven't figured out yet where to get my mice or how to marinade them, and until I do, I'll just have to contend myself with trying to replicate the food that I had enjoyed on my pigging out trips.

Last Sunday I had beef with tomatoes in Uncle Duck. It motivated me to try to recreate the 'real' beef with tomatoes that I had enjoyed so much at Wong Kei. 

I'm not good with beef, I'm not one of those who could churn out slices of tender moist beef strips. So I cheated by making beef balls instead.

The ingredients are: minced beef, bread crumbs, 1 large onion, 2 medium-sized tomatoes and 1 celery stick. Cut the onion and tomatoes into wedges, and slice the celery about 1/2 inch.

To make the beef balls, mix minced beef with some ground black pepper, a pinch of salt and breadcrumbs. Deep-fry until golden brown, remove and set aside.

For the sauce, combine 2 tablespoons ketchup, 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 1/4 teaspoon chicken stock, half teaspoon corn starch in half cup water. But please note that I did not use the measuring spoons or cups. I was too lazy to take them out of my drawer and simply used the dinner spoons and tea spoons. I used a regular mug, but the amount of water was about half a measuring cup. 

Heat up the wok with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, stir the onions until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and celery. Stir fry for a while, then add the combined sauce and simmer for about 2 - 3 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft. Pour in the deep-fried beef balls, and simmer for another minute or so. Serve immediately, or keep warm while you cook another dish.

Accompanying that beef with tomatoes is bitter gourd in black bean sauce, a dish that hubby and mum would not touch until hubby was diagnosed diabetic. Bitter gourd (or bitter melon) is good for insulin production.

I do not believe I need to go into details on how to fry the bitter gourd (it's just like any vegetable), so I'll just focus on the ingredients I use for the black bean sauce. They are: 1 tablespoon preserved black beans, washed and rinsed, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon anchovies stock.

Hubby's verdict? Two thumbs up. Mum gingerly spooned the sauce onto her rice and tentatively raised it to her mouth.....

Bon appetite......

*disclaimer: the author shall not be held responsible if any readers suffer from diarrhea as a direct result of following the above recipes......*  :P

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Nelson Tan Cafe & Restaurant

Nelson Tan has been around for at least three years, and has undergone several changes. Yet, I had never blogged about them. I could never be sure if this cafe is named after its owner, or if it's just a pronunciation of its Chinese name. On its signboard, in Chinese, are three words that are pronounced as "Neow Sen Tan" which, literally translated, means bird lays egg. No, don't ask me any questions.....

Anyway, when it first opened its doors for business, Nelson Tan started off as a Japanese-fusion food restaurant, then it changed its menu to local fare, but before long, it changed itself into a Japanese buffet restaurant. And now, it's back where it began....a Japanese-fusion food restaurant.

With KL locked down by the police on July 9, 2011, we decided to stick within Kepong township for lunch and dinner. Moreover, we were keeping an eye on the live news coverage of the rally, and the place we had our lunch would need to have the Astro tuned to either the BBC, CNN or Al Jazeera. Nelson Tan fit the bill.

Tempura Unagi Roll - RM6.90 do I describe the Tempura Unagi Roll? *scratch head* Waxing lyrics over food is never my forte, and that's the reason why I could never make the mark of a food blogger. So, let me put it this tastes as good as it looks.  

Bacon mushroom pepperoni spaghetti - RM12.90

I ordered the bacon mushroom pepperoni spaghetti. Lightly tossed in olive oil, the bacon and mushroom flavour was subtle and not overwhelming. I loved it.

Japanese octopus pepperoni spaghetti - RM18.90

Hubby, the octopus lover, had the above. Although the two dishes looked similar, the taste was quite different. Mine had the unmistakable bacon flavour, while hubby's had an indiscernible taste. To me, anyway. Hubby gave it one-thumb up.

Prawn fried rice - RM6.90

Mum, who don't usually go out with us, joined us for once, as she also could not figure out where to eat. Mum is not adventurous where food is concerned, and tends to eat only what she's familiar with, so, of all the many interesting items on the menu, she picked prawn fried rice. It wasn't bad........just 'boring'.

My drink - orange banana ice blended smoothie - RM7.90. Ever since hubby was diagnosed with diabetes, he could only order either water or Chinese tea, whichever is available. Mum has never been interested in all those non-traditional drinks, so it was water for her, too.

The bill came to RM32.65......after a 50% promotional discount.  :))

Nelson Tan
Jalan Metro Perdana 2
Kepong Utara
Tel: (03) 6258 5871

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Chatterbox @ 1 Utama Again!

Yes, we went back to Chatterbox again, barely one month later. Nope, restaurants in KL are not closing down their business one by one, leaving us with no other places to eat. Rather, hubby and I decided to take his mother and sister there last Sunday, to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday.

The stir fried beef with ginger and spring onions was overcooked and slightly on the tough side.

The deep fried golden pumpkin balls in salted egg was super yummy. The contrast between the crispy salted egg and the sweet, soft pumpkin was out of the world. Much better and more interesting than any of those crab or prawn dishes in salted egg.

Yup, we ordered the same thing again, steamed ladies fingers with lotus roots. Okra is called ladies' fingers here in Malaysia. We wanted hubby's mother and sister to try this 'unusual' topping.

Another repeated dish, steamed salmon head in black bean sauce. Mother-in-law did not enjoy this dish, however. We found out that she does not like salmon......oops.

The dessert this time was red bean soup, but I forgot to take any photos until after we've finished the last drop. The total bill came to RM76.55, inclusive of four Chinese tea.

Lot 338, LG (Rainforest)
One Utama Shopping Centre
Tel: (03) 7710 - 8833

Monday, 4 July 2011

Gino's @ Kepong Village (Tesco)

"What do you want for dinner?" hubby asked. "Pizza!" I had a craving for something really unhealthy and yummy. "Do you want to go to Bel Pasto?" Bel Pasto is an Italian restaurant on the ground floor of our condo and the owner, from the little Sicily island at the foot of Italy, looks like a Hollywood heart-throb. "No, let's try Gino's, since we are going to watch Transformers at MBO." 

So Gino's it was. The restaurant was packed and we had to wait for a while before they started to serve our soup. It was a Zuppa Fruitti Seafood soup, and I forgot to take any photo until it was finished. 
Zuppa Fruitti Seafood Soup - RM15.90
Yup, there's nothing to show except that we licked the bowl dry. Blame it on the long wait. After the soup, we had to wait for some time before hubby's spaghetti was served. This time, I remembered to take a picture.

Spaghetti Aglio Olio Beef Bacon - RM18.90

Surprisingly, considering that Gino's is owned and run by a local and not an Italian, the spaghetti was excellent, cooked al-dente. The aglio olio flavour was subtle, not overwhelming and there were loads of olives hidden under the pile of spaghetti. Yum-yum. I 'helped' hubby with the olives.  :))

Beef Salami Pepperoni Pizza (10") - RM19.80

My pizza arrived after hubby had finished his spaghetti. But it was worth the long wait. They were very generous with the mozzarella cheese and it pulled and stretched at each bite. I nearly fainted with delight.

On the subject of cheese, one of my favourite home-made tea-time snacks when I was a student in the UK was baked beans and cheese toast. I'd plop a chunk of butter on a slice of bread, stuck it inside the oven, and when it has melted slightly, I would add a few tablespoons of baked beans, and grate a huge heap of mozzarella cheese to cover the beans. I then stuck it back inside the oven. When the cheese melted and started to sizzle at the corners, I'd retrieve it and ate it while I did my assignment. It's a wonder I didn't keel over from a heart attack.

Ok, before I forget, here's the address of Gino's. And yes, I enjoyed Transformer 3 very much! I watched it in 3D, so perhaps that's why I felt that it is way better than the first two, which weren't filmed in 3D.

Gino's PIzza & Pasta
L-F08, No. 3, Jalan 7A/62A
Kepong Village
Tel: (03) 6273 4143