goodbye. for now.

i have been thinking for this for a while now. and finally I’m ready to face the truth. i need more time in a day! so with so much happening on the home front, and work getting busier, i guess it’s time to stop blogging. for now. many heartfelt thanks to those who have kept reading or left comments somewhere along the line.

but fret not, i’ll still be eating (and eating, lol) and documenting it. so feel free to check it out here or here.

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Putien, One Utama PJ

One Utama’s old wing is undergoing a facelift and recently, we see quite exciting new establishments opening up. Putien may serve Heng Hwa cuisine but first opened in Singapore. An ex colleague suggested to meet here for dinner and it was a 30 min wait before we got a table. I must admit the crowd gave me high hopes for the dinner I was about to have…

I like the decor of the restaurant. Bright and light, it exudes a very clean and contemporary feel. I only realised how big the restaurant was as we walked further in to our table. The menu had so many beautiful pictures that we wanted to order almost everything! The one thing I really wanted to try, i.e. the deep friend yam & duck was sold out. Ah, just my luck.

The accompanying chilli sauce is worth a mention though. Has quite the zing to it!

We started off with the cold starter of Pork Belly with Garlic 蒜泥白肉 (RM11.90). I wasn’t really wowed by this and for those sensitive to strong “porky taste”, this dish you should definitely steer clear of. The garlicky sauce was probably the saving grace.

The Seaweed with mini shrimp 虾苗拌紫菜(RM8.90) was nice albeit being a tad too salty and briney.

Deep Fried Chicken with Garlic 脆皮蒜香鸡 (RM18.90 for 1/2) was golden and crisp-skinned. The meat was tender and juicy and I am glad it was low on sodium.

Mee Sua is kinda like my comfort food so naturally Putien Mee Sua 妈祖面线 (RM15.90 for S) was one of my choices. Their version has a lot going on with the prawns, clams, egg, peanuts, deep fried seaweed etc. In fact there was so much ingredients I could barely see the noodles itself. It’s very different from what I am used to, but the seafood stock does do wonders for the taste.

The Claypot Fish Soup 砂锅鱼汤 (RM34.90 for S) was also a winning dish with us. Tummy warming and tasty. Brimming with the sweetness of the fish and wolfberries, we enjoyed drinking this.

I felt that the Spinach with Salted Egg & Century Eggs in premium stock 上汤苋菜 (RM24.90 for M) was somewhat average. The gravy was so thick that there wasn’t enough to go around with the pile of greens.

The Iced Abalone 冰镇南日鲍鱼 (RM19.90) was plump and juicy but I probably won’t order it a second time as this was so delicate tasting. I prefer it flavoured from braising.

As an opening promotion, the Heng Hwa Bee Hoon 兴化米粉 was complimentary. As it’s somewhat the signature dish and so many praises have been sung about it, I was rather disappointed with what we were served. It was clumpy and lacked seasoning. I couldn’t taste the stock it was supposedly to have been soaked in. I wonder if a second chance should be given on a return visit.

Overall, I think there are some hits and misses in the menu. Still, there are quite a few items we would like to try, so I reckon some return visits are in order. We had no problems with service and our dishes were served quite promptly but the table next to ours kicked up quite the fuss when one of their dishes was left out. But since they were there earlier I could understand their frustration.

Putien 莆田(www/fb)
G213A Ground Floor, Promenade,
1 Utama Shopping Centre (Old Wing),
Bandar Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya
Tel :

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Group Therapy, Singapore.

Happy New Year all! 2011 was a year of changes for me but the one I embraced most of all is going away for short getaways over weekends whenever I could. Even the last weekend of the year was no different. Made the drive down south and was pleasantly surprised to find the roads clear to and fro.

Had our first brunch of the new year at Group Therapy, an upstairs cafe along Duxton Road. I was quite happy we found the place as the ambience and mood of the cafe is what I enjoy. Cozy, intimate and full of character. Being there with company I enjoy, great coffee and unpretentious food was group therapy indeed.

As it was New Year’s they did offer a champagne brunch set but we still ended up ordering ala carte. I read later that their menu changes from time to time.

First sign that greets you on your way up is “Fresh Hot Coffee” and that’s exactly the caffeine kick I was looking for that morning. Beautifully made Latte ($5.50) & Mocha with Lindt dark chocolate buttons ($6.50) were our choices. I found the Mocha a tad lighter than I hoped for. It seemed to lack a certain punch. Maybe I should have gone for a double shot latte instead. But still, frothy and milky.

My choice was the Scrambled eggs with parmesan, mushroom and bratwurst ($18). The scrambled eggs were a wetter than I usually like them, but sandwiched in between the crisp, buttered toasts, it was still comfort food.

The grilled Panini with Ham & Mozzarella Cheese ($16) was served with couscous and potato chips. I liked how the couscous was prepared with both fresh and sundried tomatoes and bits of red cabbage which gave the sweetness to the side dish.

To make the Croque Monsieur even more decadent, the grilled ham & cheese sandwich is topped off with an egg, usually a sunny side up to make a Croque Madame (S17) (apparently due its shape looking like a hat). But my friend wanted scrambled ones on hers instead. Garnished with Kaiware sprouts, this was deliciously cheesy.

To end the meal on a sweet note, we chose the seasonal Caramel Apple Crumble ($8). Very cinnamon-y and chock a block full of apple dices. One thing though, this is served chilled.

Must say, the laidback vibe of the place has won me over. Great place to catch up and hang out with friends. Only question now is, when ah to go back Singapore?

Group Therapy (www/fb)
49 Duxton Road,
#02-01,
Singapore 089513
Opening Hours: Tue-Thu: 11:00-18:00
Fri-Sat: 11:00-23:00
Sun: 09:00-18:00
Closed Mondays.

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Restoran Ka Lok, Sekinchan

Since the last time I wrote about heading down to Sekinchan, I have made a couple of trips there as it’s still an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. And now, with the new Latar highway, getting there is even easier! But prepared for the RM12(!) toll charges to and fro…so it’s either saving money and spending more time on the road or whizzing there and paying for it. Haha.

Utilising another long weekend, 5 of us made a trip there to see if we could be lucky to snap some golden fields. Well, we were a tad early as it was still mostly green with some golden grains. But despite the current rainy season, the sun smiled down on us and gave us gorgeous weather.

So when in Sekinchan, eat like the locals do? Check. My friend wanted me to try this really fresh steamed fish head, she said. But she didn’t mention a single word about the size and when we got there and this hulk of a fish head was placed on our table, everyone fell silent for a bit before nervous laughter ensued. Trust me, it was gigantic! Don’t let the pile of sliced onions fool you. But the fish was very fresh and succulent. Despite our earlier doubts, it was soon polished off. Lucky we had a fella who truly knew how to enjoy the fish head, doing it justice by almost licking the bones clean. Price was based on weight and this portion was at RM75.20.

We also had Steamed Lala at RM12. The shellfish by itself was very fresh though I thought some of it were a tad overcooked as it was a bit tougher to bite.

As per the norm of shark meat dishes here in Sekinchan, the stir fried shark meat(RM15) was cooked in a heavy black bean sauce along with ginger shreds and onion. The meat itself was tender and flavourful and perfect with a bowl of steaming, hot rice.

I have had shark meat in my hometown on many occasions but mostly there were rather coarse in texture and just as I wondered earlier about the smoothness of the shark meat dishes here, was told that baby sharks were used…ouch. But the locals reassure me that these baby sharks are bred and farmed for this purpose and not those caught from the wild which I guess sits better on the conscience just a tad. Other ways to have the shark meat in Sekinchan is to either to have it in soup or porridge.

Restoran Ka Lok 嘉乐茶餐室
372, Site B,
Lorong 6,
45400 Sekinchan,
Selangor.
Tel : 012-6867173
Opening Hours : 6:30am – 3 pm daily

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Mukha Cafe, TTDI


My motto, really.

Sometimes the power of word of mouth is a force to be reckon with. A quick chat with another cafe’s owner on good coffee brought me here to Mukha. Located on the quieter side of TTDI, imo, parking was easier in the evenings and the crowd more relaxed.

Mukha is actually the name of a seaport town in Yemen, and apparently the owners studied there, hence the Arabian influences in the menu. Currently the menu is somewhat limited but they do offer some daily specials so check the board. They also offer shisha for those interested.

Stepping in, I liked what I saw. Black walls doubling as the menu chalkboard, red bricks, wooden furniture etc can only be summed up in one word – cozy. And given the rainy evenings lately, the warm ambience was comforting. And with a coffee table piled with Nat Geo mags and wi fi, could easily spend hours here sipping away at the aromatic cuppas.

Despite their most talked about drinks being the Arabian tea and coffee, Gahwa and Shahi, it was the coffee that called out to me. Between me and my friend, we had the Flat White (RM7) & Long Black(RM5.50). If flat whites are available at any cafe, I would automatically order that to a latte even if both are prepared in the same way, with the only major difference being the ratio of milk to espresso. Satisfying cuppa indeed.

We also shared the Creamy Pumpkin Soup (RM9) which is served with a dollop of sour cream and mint leaves and Arab toasts. The soup is very creamy indeed, but lacking in the sweetness of the pumpkin for me. But the toast when dipped into the creaminess of the soup was comfort food indeed.

The Big Breaky (RM13) with eggs cooked any way, mushrooms, beef bacon, baked beans and Arab toast seems like a good deal.

The Baked Eggs (RM10) takes about 15 minutes to be served so if you’re feeling exceptionally ravenous, do order something else. But the eggs, baked with roasted tomatoes and shredded cheese was cooked perfectly, to the consistency I love. They have the option to add other ingredients, at an add-on charge so I opted for the mushrooms. Tastewise it can be a little bland for some, but nothing a good shake of salt and pepper can’t fix.

The Gulf Rice (RM16) was Mukha’s take on our Briyani rice. I must admit that I wasn’t wowed by the Basmathi rice with chicken cooked in briyani spices & served with papadom. But given the strong competition of briyani restaurants out there, this does pale in comparison in terms of flavour.

The one thing I noticed a lot of patrons ordering was the Steak Sandwich (RM15). When I asked for it, they asked if I wanted to upgrade it to The Lot instead, by adding an egg and beef bacon? Sounds good! Served with sweet potato curls and a yoghurt dip, it was quite delightful to tuck in to this. The sweet potato chips are a tad oilier than I’d like but the steak sandwich does do itself justice. Dare I even say the best thing we had so far in Mukha?

A meal isn’t complete without dessert. And so far we have tried their Affogato(RM6) & Banoffee Pie (RM8.50). Mudcake with ice cream was our initial choice but as it had sold out, we went for the Banoffee Pie which was highly recommended by them. We did like it, as the sweetness of the toffee cuts through the crust. However I’m glad we were sharing as the sweetness was cloying after a while. But still, quite memorable.

The affogato was served with the espresso on the side, which I appreciated. Rich, creamy and strong.

Some of the food may not have hit the spot for us but overall, I love the vibe this cafe exudes. And yes, to return for the coffee and desserts. The baristas are friendly to boot too so that’s another plus.

Mukha Cafe (www/fb)
No. 15, Lorong Rahim Kajai 13
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours : Mon – Thurs 12pm-10pm, Fri 2pm-12am, Sat 12pm–12am. Closed Sundays.

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Mei Sei Ka, Kg. Bukit Tinggi

Luckily for us (and unluckily for bosses), we have had a couple of long weekends in November and I took advantage of that to make the weekend trip to Janda Baik. We started off late and after being held up by the long weekend traffic, we only time for a little trip down to the gurgling stream and soon it was dinner time.

Had a couple of friends who drove up to Kampung Bukit Tinggi to dine with us and we gathered together at this restaurant which my colleague recommended. As it was a rainy night, most of the restaurants were doing little business but hey, faster serving time for us ya?

We tried their Fried noodles with beans and pork belly and I thought it was scrumptious. The sliced pork belly had a light crunchiness to it which was so satisfying and the noodles had soaked in the flavour of the gravy.

The Steamed Patin was very fresh also. The juicy and tender flesh was delightful.

We also decided to have a portion of the Curry Wild Boar (咖哩山猪肉) but this was frankly the least memorable out of all the dishes we had.

Kampung Bukit Tinggi also happens to sell loads of fresh produce and the Stir Fried Watercress (炒西洋菜) was very fresh and sweet.

Bentong’s ginger is also purported to be the best around town so of course the restaurants also come up with dishes featuring it and one that we had was the Ginger Chicken Vermicelli (烝姜鸡米粉). The vermicelli here is different from the usual store bought ones, and has more of a bite to it. The ginger taste is not overpowering, and great for heating us up on a cold night. However I wished they used better chicken cuts like the one I tried at another shop. The resulting soup was rather sweet and tummy warming.

When I saw Steamed Freshwater Prawns (烝生虾) on the menu, wanted to relive a childhood memory of going back to my dad’s hometown where freshwater prawns were widely sold at the market. So what was once a distant memory, could be now experienced again at RM7/100gm. As the prawn looked rather big and few at the table actually wanted prawns, we only ordered one. Should have had at least two! Despite it being frozen, it was still quite tasty though it could have done with a little less cooking, so that the flesh wasn’t as chewy.

Since my lust for freshwater prawns wasn’t satiated in our first meal, we stopped here again for a quick lunch before heading back to KL. Alas, there were only two of us left and we couldn’t order much. Having tried the steamed version, this time we opted for the stir fried (干煎生虾) method. The coating of minced garlic, ginger and various sauces was finger licking good!

The owner also recommended their Nyonya Sotong (娘惹苏东) which sees the squid slices cooked in a tangy sauce with sliced chilli, four angled beans and onions. For me, the sauce was not spicy at all but I could see this being a perfect accompaniment for white rice.

Lastly, we had Stir Fried Tin Chat with Wolfberries (枸杞田七). Despite the somewhat slimy texture of the leafy vegetables and a very light bitter tinge, I love eating it, especially when it’s cooked with egg! But here, they usually stir fry it with wolfberries, and since the vegetable itself is purported to have medicinal properties, it’s double the effect. Haha.

All in all, this place is worth a try. I heard the claypot fish and frog dishes are quite good too. We didn’t managed to try them coz they had sold out the fish and due to the rainy season, fresh frogs are scarce. That only warrants a return trip!

Restoran Mei Sei Ka 美食家饭店
Lot 96, Kg. Bukit Tinggi
28750 Bentong,
Pahang.

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Coffee in Love, Sri Hartamas

It was about a fortnight ago when I made an impromptu stop at this cafe as I was driving down the road from Plaza Damas. It has been intriguing reading up on write ups about this place but my biggest worry was the humidity. Luckily for us, the weather was beautiful that day and with the fans whirring away, I barely felt the heat. But then there were the mosquitoes…

They have just opened when we arrived and so we had the entire place to ourselves. There’s always some romanticism about dining in the garden but given our weather, I am always apprehensive of trying to eat outdoors unless there’s proper shade and ventilation. Here, they have tried their level best to create an refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The entire cafe was well shaded by plants and woven roofs etc. They have taken the same concept as many new cafes by recycling old chairs and tables which creates this very whimsical and sustainable environment. What was interesting was probably the splash of colours by the smatterings of decor such as the red watering can, wooden figurines, cushions and even knick knacks of yesteryears.

As they are only 1 or 2 of the co-owners here, self-service and self clean up is practiced here. They encourage you to order at the counter, collect when your hear the bell and then return the tray at the counter as you leave. Currently there don’t serve a full meal, but have some snacks like cupcakes, hot dogs and puffs. I found it interesting that they practiced the old way of keeping money in a tin attached to a pulley. Haha.

As they proudly recommend their Supremo coffee beans which are 100% whole Columbian beans, I decided to order a latte. The beans are mostly the same size, which helps with even roasting to better extract the aroma of the coffee beans.

Served in a mug, my latte was indeed very aromatic and flavourful which I fully appreciated. I find that some establishments serve very milky lattes but this had a nice balance between the espresso and milk.

My companion had the iced version, as it was beginning to warm up. They were also nice enough to supply us with a bottle of cold water, along with 2 jam jars doubling up as glasses.

They only serve light snacks at the moment and have quite an array of fillings for these puffs of which we tried 4 flavours; mushroom & onion, minced beef, mac & cheese and a potato version one. Order any 2 and you get a serving of coleslaw with them. The pastry was similar to that of curry puffs, only with alternative fillings. I would recommend the mushroom and beef one as the other 2 was maybe overloading on carbs a tad.

They also serve a range of homebaked cupcakes. And the range of flavours they offer are mostly complimentary to the distinctive flavours of coffee. We opted for the Guinness one as it seemed the most promising. Lightly infused with stout, the dark chocolate cupcake was quite a delight tastewise though I felt that it was very dense and heavy texturewise.

Generally the pricing is reasonable and they have a coffee and cupcake deal too so it’s a great place to have tea in the early evenings. They also cater for private BBQ dos at the cafe ranging from RM56-70 per pax.

Coffee In Love (www/FB)
c/o Eastern Nursery 132KV,
Jalan 1/70A,
Taman Sri Hartamas,
50480 Kuala Lumpur.
GPS 3.166055,101.663811
Opening times: Tues-Fri, 2pm-7pm; Sat & Sun, 12noon-7pm. Closed Mondays

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