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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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Le Şener, Kuşadası

Our next stop on my Turkish road trip was Kuşadası, a seaside resort town in the Aydın province. It was a picturesque drive in as we were greeted by sea views. We parked at a nearby otopark and walked into the Ismail Cem Peace & Friendship square which extends into the waterfront dotted with public benches and bobbing boats.

The leisure walk along the waterfront towards the stretch of seafood restaurants at the end was pleasant as I had a good view of the daily catch of some men who were fishing by the waterfront. We walked around the restaurants a bit, checking their menu and finally decided on Le Sener, a restaurant that was adjoining the local fish market that allowed us to buy fresh sea produce from the fishmongers and then, cook it for us for a small fee.

Started with off some mezethes, consisting of yoghurt, cacık (yoghurt with cucumber and garlic) and egpplants with tomatoes. It was excellent to eat with the soft bread provided.

Then a fresh, piquant salad followed with abundant herbs. I am starting to really enjoy salads after this Mediterranean vacation!

As the hamsi (anchovy) season was reaching its end, we had to get our fill of them. We decided to have hamsi tava where the fishies are coated with cornflour and pan fried. The anchovies are arranged around the skillet in a ring and cooked until brown and lightly crisp and served as such. Just pick them up by the tails and eat them whole, in between bites of bread and salad.

My friend said that most of the calamari served in Istanbul are of the frozen variant so when we spotted fresh ones here at the fish market, she had to get them. Had the restaurant deep fry it for us and the calamari rings, lightly coated in batter were divine.

Next to the restaurant was a Midye Dolmasi (Turkish Stuffed Mussels) vendor and couldn’t resist getting a few to try. Stuffed with herbed rice, and complimented with a squeeze of lemon, these were really good! I would have seconds if I weren’t so full already. Slightly sweet, meaty and flavourful, I can see these being very addictive snacks.

After the satisfying lunch, walked around some nearby shops for a bit before we got in the car to head towards the Denizli province where the famed Pamukkale is.

Le Şener
Kuşadası Balık Hali Yanı

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Lezzet Lokantasi Kofteci Ali Usta’nin Yeri, Selçuk

Selçuk is the gateway to Ephesus, which is well known as the ruins of a Greek & later, a Roman city. By the time we got to Selçuk, it was past sunset and we found an inn to settle down. From what we saw as we were driving in, the town seemed on the small-ish side so we decided to walk around the area where our inn was to explore, but not before asking for a dinner recommendation.

One thing that really intrigued me was the storks’ nests on the nearby ruins! I later found out that the ruins were actually the remaind of a Byzantine aqueduct and the storks nest there year after year. Hmm, which explains all the bird poop. Lol.

As we were walking to the restaurant our innkeepers recommended, noticed that a lot of the shops were closed. But the teahouses were a buzzin! I have read about Turkish teahouses being the the men’s domain as they play backgammon while sipping on their çay. But to see it in action was quite something.

Typical start to a Turkish meal, ekmek or bread. Served with some local white cheese drizzled with olive oil and topped with tomatoes & spring onions. The cheese itself is really quite mild and was wonderful with the toasted bread.

A mixed salad of fresh green with beets. Crunchy & refreshing.

Skewered chicken with tomatoes and chunky fries. The chicken was juicy and very tasty.

We also had some Beef Kofte which was bouncy and flavourful.

The lamb chops, or pirzola was the highlight of our meal. Tender, moist and brimming with flavour. Even ordered a second portion as we cleaned this plate.

Complimentary fruits from the owner, perfect way of finishing the meal.

By the time we were done with our meal, it started drizzling so we walked back to our inn very quickly and watched some telly before calling it a night.

Lezzet Lokantasi Kofteci Ali Usta’nin Yeri Ev Yemekleri
Ataturk Mah. 25 Sk. No.18/N
Selçuk, Turkey.

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Tarihi Pidecioğlu Pide Firini , Bursa

We wanted to see some other parts of Turkey also apart from Istanbul so my friend suggested a road trip. We just wanted to go to some of the main sites over a span of 2-3 days which is doable even if a tad on the rushed side. To get to Bursa, we decided to take the ferry to cross the Sea of Marmara. The ride was about 40 mins long so most drivers either took a nap in their car or proceeded upstairs to talk over steaming hot çay. But as the cabin upstairs was predominantly a men’s area, i kept myself entertained by watching the changing scenery and was rewarded with the above shot. Hehe.

Bursa was actually rather pleasant. We parked near one of the tourist attractions, Yesil Cami (Green Mosque) and walked from thereforth. Bursa is also known for its quaint, picturesque Ottoman houses and as we wound through alleys and bridges, really took in the architecture.

We were walking through the Kayhan Carsisi towards the Koza Han (Silk Cocoon Market) when this scene caught our eyes. Men kneading away and putting the dough straight into a woodfire oven! The freshly baked tandir ekmegi, which is like our local naan, really tempted us with the aroma. So we decided to sit down and after seeing the amount of bread being hoisted into delivery vans to be delivered all around town, I think we made the right choice.

Anyhow, as per the sound of the name, it’s a pide restaurant. Pide is essentially a oval bread with topping, pretty much like a Turkish version of a pizza.

One of my favourites of the meal was this gorgeous Kuşbaşı pide, which is spiced lamb chunks. It was so good! Flavourful, juicy and piping hot!

We also had the etli pide which is spiced minced beef.

There’s also Kaşarlı Pide which is melted, gooey cheese filling.

What can I say? The freshly baked flatbread pizza was really one of the highlights of the meals I had in Turkey. In fact, my friend is even thinking of making a trip to Bursa just to have more of this as we talked about it recently. Yup, that yummy!

Tarihi Pidecioğlu Pide Firini
Kayhan Caddesi No:73,
16230 Bursa,

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New Shanghai, Pavilion KL

It was a girls’ afternoon tea session. One of them was keen for us to try New Shanghai due to this memorable cake that she had. As it was a weekend, the shop was packed and we had to wait for a while before we managed to get seats.

I quite like the decor of the shop. They have indeed tried to bring in a Shanghainese feel to it. We were seated at the armchairs and the tables were a bit too small and low to truly enjoy the food. But to sink in and sip at tea while catching up? Perfect. They have a corner where the cooked snacks are rolled out for patrons to buy for takeaway or dine in. Only certain dim sum items are cooked upon order.

Turns out the cake was this Osmanthus Cake (桂花糕) at RM4.80. Brimming with wolfberries more than Osmanthus flowers, it was too sweet for my liking. But it was fragrant, so those with a sweet tooth will definitely enjoy it.

We also had Fried Yam (风巢芋角) at RM2.80 each and pan fried Lotus Root Pancake (生煎莲藕饼) at RM3.80. Both were pretty tasty but would have tasted even better if it was served fresh off the wok or piping hot. The fried yam lacked the flakiness I hoped for though. But the lotus root pancake more than made up for my disappointment in the fried yam.

The Shanghai Pancake (上海煎锅贴) and Homemade Fishcake (家乡煎鱼饼) at RM3.80 each were flavourful and well seasoned. The Sesame Ball Teochew Style (潮式炸煎堆) at RM2.80 each was generously filled.

None of the steamed buns we had truly appealed to me. And we tried 3 types, Yam Bun (香芋包), Pumpkin Bun (松皮金瓜包) and BBQ Chicken Bun (密汁叉烧包) at RM2.80 each. Cold buns another no go for me.

So the best item we had was the Siew Mai (鱼孑烧卖) at RM8.80 as it was freshly steamed. So yummy that it didn’t even matter that it was pork free!

Overall, the food here is good though I truly wish for it to be at the right temperature for those who opt to dine in. Maybe I should just do as the masses do, dapao (some more get cute paper bag!) and reheat at home before eating. Heh.

New Shanghai (www)
Lot 1.02.00, Pavilion KL,
168, Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel:03-2142 2833

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Kelana Jaya Ramadhan Bazaar 2011

Going to the Kelana Jaya ramadhan bazaar this year was a bit of an adventure thanks to the grey skies and torrential rain. We were rather early heading to the bazaar, hoping to miss the rain but halfway through, it started to pour. Took refuge under one of the stall’s giant umbrella and had a bit of a laugh whilst waiting for the rain to stop…

Still dry when we got there…

Remember seeing this kek batik stall last year here too. It’s actually quite easy to make, with marie biscuits, milo and evaporated milk as it’s main ingredients.

Deep fried mushrooms, also a return stall.

This honey,sea coconut drink stall is new though.

Nasi Briyani stall from a mamak if I am not mistaken.

This stall has nasi lemak kukus with deep fried burung puyuh (quail)!

I think this stall is something new this year, selling ayam tempayan kelana, whole chicken cooked in big earthenware jars. At RM16 each, we decided to try half of it. It was actually quite yummy, and tender.

Beautifully marinated chicken wings over the pit.

The ayam golek, rotisserie roasted chicken also called out to us. We spotted 2 stalls and decided to try this one. I personally felt that it was a bit dry so I did prefer the ayam tempayan afterall.

Hehe, lechekang!! Felt the need to snap this simply because of the many spelling variations on leng chee kang at ramadhan bazaars that tickles us.

I remember this bubur desserts stall too but prices have gone up since last year. 😦

And just as we were making our way back the way we came it started to rain! So we “rested” next to Awie’s satar stall for some time until the rain started to subside. I remember the guy manning the stall fondly coz he’s a friendly soul indeed, and always ready with a smile. He also sells roasted corn on the cob.

RM 3 for 4 pieces of satar which is one of the better ones I have tried in Ramadhan bazaars so far. And the sizes are also more a bit substantial.

The Kanji Tok stall opposite us.

When the rain finally stopped, we decided to pick up some pecal, which is like gado-gado. Blanched greens (pucuk ubi, kangkung, long beans etc) with peanut sauce. at RM2 per pack. They also sold deep fried cempedak and it smells really good! Love it when cempedak is in season. Hehe.

This nasi ambeng stall was also spotted last year and the food still looks so tempting!

Chicken & beef samosas.

The guys behind the roasted lamb stall only started to heat the griddle after the rain stopped. But look at the lamb roasting slowly over the pit!

Another kuih stall that also sells apam balik

Popiah basah in the making.

We also tried Farni’s nasi kukus and the ayam goreng berempah was fantastic! Flavourful and juicy, really enjoyed tucking into it.

Kelana Jaya’s bazaar remains one to visit if you have time as there’s many interesting offerings there. And I spot quite a few regulars from last year, which is always comforting.

Kelana Jaya Ramadhan Bazaar
Along Jalan SS6/1
Kelana Jaya,
Petaling Jaya.

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TTDI Ramadhan Bazaar 2011

Ramadhan is nearing its end and I haven’t been inspired to visit any bazaars until last weekend. Roped in a friend and headed for one of the nearest ones to her, at TTDI. We were quite lucky to get parking as soon as we arrived.

I feel the market is smaller this round, maybe because it’s been shifted to span across one street instead of last year’s L shape stretch. Still, the crowd was impressive.

Colourful drinks calling out to passerbys.

Sup Gearbox stall.

Various lauk and kuih.

Nasi with ayam goreng berempah and Nasi Ambeng stall. The fried chicken looks really tasty and juicy…

My usual choice at the bazaar is Nasi Kerabu, and this time I had it with salted egg and bergedil. The rice is a bit clumpy but otherwise not too bad.

Pandan flavoured Putu Bambu. This stall has them in a green shade, which I hope is due to the pandanus leave, or probably colouring. Haha. This stall seems to do well and even has pre-packed ones so waiting time is cut down.

Satar, my favourite cone-shaped Terengganu snack is also available here. The guys manning the stall said they’re from Selayang, hence the name. We did buy some to try and tastewise, it was not too bad, thought a bit on the sweet side. 3 pieces for RM2.

This popiah basah stall was one of them doing brisk business so I expect it’s quite popular with those thronging this bazaar.

King of murtabaks. Haha.

Putu piring stall next to the grilled lamb stall. The putu piring stall is a regular I think, coz they were here last year too. I watched the boy behind the stall make the putu piring and was rather impressed with his deft fingers going at it. There’s also another grilled lamb stall in the bazaar but I think this was the original one from last year, selling the roti arab.

Various laksas and noodles.

Chicken kebab meat roasting. Looks promising, eh?

Ikan Bakar station.

Ayam Bakar.

Yummy cucur udang (prawn fritters) at RM2 for 3 pieces.

ABC Power!

A bread & butter pudding stall. They have come up with many creative flavours at RM 1.80 per slice. I went for the original and almond with peanut butter. I thought it was too milky and even the custard sauce didn’t really help. But still, the creativity in flavours was a plus.

I didn’t really buy too much stuff to try in comparison to previous years so this post is mostly pictures only. Hope you guys enjoyed it. Lol.

TTDI Ramadhan Bazaar
Along Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 2
Taman Tun Dr Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur

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