Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Dragon-i @ Pavilion Bukit Bintang

Ever since Dragon-i opened its doors for business a few years ago, hubby has wanted to try their food. The restaurant specializes in food from Shanghai, Szechuan, Beijing and Lanzhou. But each time, a walk past their many outlets in a number of shopping malls would see a long queue of customers waiting to be seated. We have never felt a desire to get in line.

But last week the Dragon-i outlet at Pavilion, Bukit Bintang was relatively empty. That was the week of the Chinese New Year. Many KL-ites have taken the opportunity of the long holiday to get out of town. We seized the chance to try the food.

Three stringed instruments, without their strings, were exhibited on the wall.

A couple of rather strange concoction, some peculiar tea with what looked like corals. Tasted a little unusual, too. I wished we had simply stuck to the more traditional Chinese tea like Jasmine or 'Heong Ping'.

I ordered the La Mein (handmade noodles) in Szechuan Hot & Sour soup. I adore the spicy and vinegarish flavour of the soup. The taste was right up my alley.

Hubby wasn't so fortunate in his choice, however. He ordered the Szechuan La Mein in Hot & Sour Soup. Note the difference in the name of this dish and the one I had ordered. It sounds more or less the same, right? Wrong. It couldn't have been more different than night and day.

The Szechuan La Mein in Hot & Sour Soup was neither hot nor sour. It was nothing like the Szechuan Hot & Sour Soup. Instead, it was sweet with peanut-butter flavour, something we had had before at Low Yat Plaza. 

At that time, we had thought the restaurant in Low Yat Plaza made a mistake in naming the sweet peanut butter soup as 'hot & sour soup', but they must have gotten it right, for Dragon-i produced an exact replica of the soup with the same name. To say it tasted yucky would not begin to describe it. 

I am sure the other items on the menu must be good, though, and that hubby had just made a wrong choice (even though this item had the restaurant's specialty and chef's recommendation on it.) How else do we explain the crowd?? Unless....the majority has no discernment when it comes to food?? Surely not. 

Friday, 13 January 2012

One Sweet One Night @ Solaris Dutamas

The name does not sound promising. One Sweet One Night sounds more like a shop specializing in dessert and any main course on the menu is suspect. But at only RM11.80 for a set of 1 spaghetti dish, 1 set baked scallops, 1 French style cream pumpkin soup and 1 chrysanthemum tea with jelly, it's too good a bargain to pass.

At that price, our expectations weren't high. Even though the deal clearly spelt out that the set was worth RM56, and RM11.80 was a 79% discount promotion. 

While waiting for our orders to be served, we looked around the little setup. It's a cozy little cafe with live music at night, and the menu is in an iPad. You surf the menu on the iPad and place the order yourselves. The order gets transmitted to the kitchen. We looked around to see if elderly customers would have difficulty placing their orders, and saw that a couple, in their late 50s had to depend on their son to order for them.
They had an interesting version of Mona Lisa on their wall. I must admit I prefer this tubby Mona Lisa to the original skinny one.  :)

The French style cream pumpkin soup had a hint of curry powder in it. Hmmm....if I hadn't known better, I'd have thought it's Malaysian style cream pumpkin soup. I didn't know the French add curry powder to their cream soup?? It made me wonder if this is the current fad, as it's not the first time I had pumpkin soup with curry flavour in it. Perhaps it's part and parcel of fusion food.....

I wasn't too taken with the baked scallops. It would have tasted better without the onions, in my opinion.

The soft shell crab spaghetti was superb. The crab was crunchy on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside. Simply wonderful. The pasta came in a carbonara sauce, hmm....a rather ordinary sauce for me. But I just loved the soft shell crab. 

We were glad that we ordered the seafood spaghetti rather than the salmon spaghetti cream sauce. After looking at the pictures on the iPad menu, we felt certain that a tomato-based spaghetti would better complement a cream-based soft shell crab spaghetti (we like to share the dishes instead of having one to ourselves). And we were right. The piquant tomato sauce gave a 'variety' to our tastebuds that would not have been there had we gone with the salmon spaghetti cream sauce. 

The chrysanthemum tea with jelly was just a long fun (glass jelly) drink. No chrysanthemum taste was detectable.

Will we return for a regular-priced meal? Hmm....I don't think so. But if there's another promotion deal like this, we will. 

One Sweet One Night
A2-G2-3A, Solaris Dutamas
No. 1 Jalan Dutamas 1
Kuala Lumpur

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Authentic Penang Koay Teow Soup @ Old Town, Petaling Jaya

Born and raised in Penang, I grew up eating and loving certain quintessential Penang hawker food. Koay teow th'ng (soup) is one of them. When I was growing up, the best koay teow th'ng was found at the Kuantan Road market. But the stall has since ceased to operate, and there isn't any other stalls in Penang or KL that could match its quality. Until a friend recommended the koay teow th'ng at Old Town, Petaling Jaya, that is.

What's so special about the Kuantan Road koay teow th'ng, or, the one at Old Town, PJ, for that matter?

For one, the soup is made from duck meat. Others used only chicken, and the taste isn't quite the same. This stall hires a lot of workers, as they are very busy. We've been there a few times since I got to know this place a few weeks ago, and almost every table would order at least one bowl of the noodles. Some tables saw 5 or 6 people slurping away at this delicious noodles.

Besides the koay teow soup, I've tried the popiah and prawn mee (on different occasions). Hubby and I would order a bowl of koay teow th'ng each, and shared another bowl of something else.

The popiah was not bad, but the koay teow th'ng was the star. On the occasion when I ordered the prawn mee, I did not have my camera with me, so no pics. That said, the best prawn mee is still in Taman Tun. (Best for me is defined as being comparable to the best ones in Penang.)

The coffeshop is located at the road facing KK Mart. It is usually very crowded, and to find a parking space at Old Town is like looking for a needle in a haystack. So be prepared to park very far and walk, or waste half an hour or more circling the block waiting for someone to leave so you could take over the vacated bay. Yes, it's a hassle, but it's worth it.

Onepot Paper Grill @ Kepong

Updated: 30 June 2012
Onepot has closed its doors and is no longer here.
Onepot opened its doors for business in mid-December last year. It serves dim sum, papergrill and steamboat. Papergrill??

Curious, hubby and I checked the restaurant out a couple of weeks ago.

There! That is a papergrill. A baking sheet placed over the grill. Those who bake would know immediately what purpose this serves. 

To prevent the batter from sticking to the baking pan, we could choose to grease the baking pan before pouring the batter in, or we could line the pan with a baking sheet. In this scenario, lining the grill with the baking sheet eliminates the need to grease the grill. Such a simple method for healthier food.

The waitress grilling the food for us

Watching the food cook

There is a selection of 27 sauces to choose from. I don't remember what I took....I chose the more exotic names, but they were all great. Look at the spread of sauces below. Amazing!

That was the Papergrill set, at RM29.90 for 1 to 2 pax. Do not order this if you're dining alone. You won't be able to finish the food. There is more than enough for two people, and hubby has quite an appetite.

We also ordered a pot of clear sweet corn soup, at RM4.90. The soup was refillable, but we were too full to ask for refills. 

Our conclusion: it's a place we will frequent often. Not only is it healthier, but the food is fresh, not those processed food like fish balls, meat balls, etc., that you find at most other steamboat and barbecue grill restaurants. 

Incidentally, they serve dim sum in the morning. And they're opened throughout the Chinese New Year holidays, so no worries about food!

Block C, Fortune Avenue
Jalan Metro Perdana 3
Taman Usahawan Kepong
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (03) 6252 1277

Thursday, 5 January 2012

New Year Eve Dinner @ Jarrod and Rawlins

With mum having just passed away on 17 December 2011, I wasn't in much of a mood to celebrate Christmas or New Year. I wasn't even aware that it was Christmas eve until I asked my neighbours what festival they were celebrating when I saw them barbecuing skewers of food. 

Similarly, I wasn't aware that it was New Year's eve on 31 Dec until I was wished "Happy new year". I remember being stumped, and just stared at them with a puzzled look. That was in the late afternoon.

Hubby, who has been very supportive all this while, then took it upon himself to get me out of the home for a nice dinner. Being an eleventh hour decision, we were faced with a rather limited choice. Most restaurants were fully booked. Just as we were about to give up, we got lucky with Jarrod and Rawlins. No, it's not a law firm, it's a restaurant. 

We ordered one each of the starter to share.
Left: Pumpkin soup with curry essence, coconut cream & crouton
Right: Rocket & walnut salad with feta cheese & citrus vinaigrette

The curry flavour made an interesting change to an otherwise regular pumpkin soup. I did not detect any coconut cream flavour. The feta cheese was superb, and went very well with the citrus vinaigrette salad. I wish they had given more of the cheese.

Jarrod & Rawlins is famous for pork. The gratinate grilled pork loin was tender and moist with a light, crispy top. It reminds me of the Chinese siu yok (seoh bak in Hokkien) skin. Heavenly.

The tomato salsa was great, but we found the seared fish fillet a little wanting. It's not bad, but after we've tasted the pork loin, the fish just paled in comparison. Rather ordinary, was our conclusion.

The homemade creme brulee was creamy, soft and sweet. It tasted a bit like egg pudding. Yummy.

We proceeded home to watch the fireworks after tea and coffee. We have a panoramic view of the city and have been watching the fireworks at Petronas Twin Towers, Bukit Bintang and Dataran Merdeka from our balcony since we moved into this apartment four years ago.