Archive for non-halal

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,
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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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,

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Amelie Cafe, Penang.

I first read about this place in an expat magazine. I must admit I was intrigued and when we finally made our way up north to Penang, I went looking for it.

It really is quite hidden as many have already said. Lucky I read earlier that it’s next to the Cheah Kongsi or I would have really missed it as the entrance was somewhat hidden by all the foliage of the potted plants.

There are only about 4-5 tables inside as the set up is really small. Judging from the many reviews I have read, the design of the cafe is ever evolving according to the recyclables they managed to get their hands on. It’s very cosy and whimsical, especially when dressed with all the random knick knacks. I noticed that they have a “no photography” policy but I can understand why especially when photographers tend to linger and loiter and the space is just too tiny to accommodate that. However, I can’t resist stealing some shots with my phone though… oops.

They have a standard drinks menu and some specials according to ingredient availability. So one day it may be banana & plum lassi, another, ice blended coconut and pineapple (ranging from RM10-12) etc. The Latte (RM10) I had was aromatic and creamy, just how I like it. They use illy beans here which always mean a decent cuppa to me.

From the moment we stepped in, the greasy yet inviting smells of bacon frying wafted over so it wasn’t much of a surprise when the Bacon & Cream Cheese Bagel (RM15) caught our eye. Loved the bagel itself and I think I would be contented even if it was just plain cheese.

We also had Linguine Pomodoro with Pork Sausage (RM17). As Pomodoro basically means tomato, this linguine was prepared with the simple ingredients of tomatoes, olive oil, garlic basil etc. It was light and refreshing. I did read somewhere that they made their own pasta too but if I am not mistaken, these were the dried, ready ones as I saw him cooking them from my spot.

We had Panna Cotta with Plum Sauce (RM12) and it had a really firm consistency compared to what I am used to. I did wonder a bit about the plums sauce but when I saw it in its sugary segmented form, it all made sense.

Another dessert I had was the Crepe with frozen mango yoghurt (RM12 ). The crepe was beautifully made. But the mango yoghurt was rather tasteless with a slight hint of tartness. I actually think that the crepes would be perfect with something creamier.

All in all, it’s quite a charming cafe to spend some time at. As only the husband & wife team are preparing and serving by themselves, there’s some waiting time involved during “peak periods” but nothing unbearable. In fact it gave us a a reason to linger!

Amelie Cafe (www)
No 6, Armenian Street,
10200 Penang.
(Next to Cheah Clan Kongsi)
Tel: +6012 496 7838
Opening Hours : 10am-7pm (Closed Mondays)

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JTean Kitchen, SS2 PJ

If you are a regular foodie and you follow most mainstream (and non-halal) eating floggers, you must have heard of JTean Kitchen. Located in SSTwo Mall, this place markets its cuisine as fusion bak kut teh. C’mon, that sounds pretty awesome right? A few weeks ago, I rounded up some kakis and we decided to sample the food so many flogs out there have been raving about.

The interior, its signature BKT pork burger and view of the kitchen.

Firstly, service here wasn’t fantastic. We booked the place for 11 pax but a few cancelled. As it was close to lunch time and more people were streaming in, we told them in good faith that they can split the tables for other diners. In return, the waitress gave us super rude attitude, yo. She was muttering to herself, yelling at other staff to help her carry the table, looking extremely annoyed. Another waitress took our order and she didn’t speak English. That posed a problem for bananas like me but I didn’t expect this to happen in a restaurant with an English name + menu and located in affluent PJ. But she was helpful regardless and Mandarin speakers in the crew took charge of the ordering.

The JPork BKT Burger (RM7.90). We came with high expectations based on several blog reviews but were sorely disappointed. The patty only had a hint of BKT taste. Otherwise, all I could taste was the peppery, tangy mayonnaise sauce. What is it even doing in the burger? Boo.

Tean’s BKT that had a mix of ribs, pork belly and stomach (RM20.90). Sadly, it was nothing to shout about. It was like any other average BKT and tasted quite plain.

The Pork Leg (RM10.90).

The J-Ribs served with wedges, side salad and a special sauce (RM34.90). I thought this was the ‘yummiest’ tasting one, relative to the other so-so dishes. The ribs itself were charred nicely and retained some juiciness of the meat but the flavor did not really come through. I was convinced the special sauce was just ordinary black pepper sauce.

Stewed Chicken Feet, Tofu and Mushrooms (RM12.90). This was also pretty average. It had no real oomph to it – no sharp herbal notes or a heaty, flavorful kick.

We all left the place feeling kinda disappointed and our bill for 7 of us came up to RM215.00. Don’t think any of us will be going back anytime soon. I had to eat in Hungry Hog for dinner just to make myself feel better. The redeeming factor for this place perhaps was the decently-priced drinks list with quite a nice selection of ‘fancy’ tea (although I like to kick it old school with pu er in a clay teapot that you make yourself). Oh and SSTwo Mall’s parking is still free.

JTean Kitchen (www)
G-58, Ground Floor
SSTwo Mall
No. 40, Jalan SS2/72
47300 Petaling Jaya
Selangor DE
Opening Hours: 10.00am – 10:00pm (opens daily)

Tel and Fax: 03 7954 0819

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Happy City Seafood Steamboat, Kepong

A sudden urge to eat hot, soupy steamboat took over me a few weekends ago. I ended up at Happy City Seafood Steamboat, located near Carrefour and Happy City Food Court along Jalan Kepong. This place does live seafood steamboat and the ingredients are as fresh as you can get.

This place offers ala carte and some set meals for the indecisive – like me 🙂 We settled for the RM79.90 set that feeds 2-3 pax. You also get to pick your soup. There are several options ranging from porridge to the free ‘yin yang’ soup based. I picked the Drunken Pot (RM15) that had Chinese herbs in it like goji and dong quai. There is also a bottle of Chinese wine on the side for the y’know, drunken effect 🙂 So in this particular set, you get …

… clams

… red snapper

… awesome live prawns that jump out of the plate

… and their ‘steamboat set’ x 1 of meat/fishballs, seafood, vegetables, noodles and egg. Yup, one of everything. Have fun splitting and halving the quail egg, mussel, tofu etc. lol.

With each round of adding ingredients into the pot, I added more and more Chinese wine to the soup. By the end of the meal, the soup was sweet and tangy with herbal notes. It was easily the BEST soup I’ve ever had with my usual steamboat finale of yee mee and three-quarter cooked egg. Ended the meal by downing a glass of honey sea coconut drink, it was an amazing meal, yo.

Service was quick and top notch. I initially had trouble finding a table but one of their Burmese waiters spotted me waiting and cleared a table meant for storing spare pots and cutleries. Very cool. The gas tank also died on us and they replaced it in no time. My only beef with this place? They don’t do mud crabs 😦

Parking wasn’t easy that night as all of Kepong and outsiders converged to eat in this area that also houses several other steamboat restaurants. But trust me, after having such a huge, scrumptious meal – I appreciated the short walk back to the car. I am already planning to take my family here to try this place. Heh.

Happy City Seafood Steamboat
Jalan Metro Perdana Timur 2,
52100 Kepong,
Kuala Lumpur.
Business Hours: 5:00PM – 1:00AM

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Restoran OK Kari Kepala Ikan, Imbi

It’s funny how I missed out on this row of restaurants whenever I was in the Imbi area. Thanks to my good friend who stumbled upon this place, we found ourselves here over the weekend to try the dishes she raved about.

For a place that has Fish head curry in their signage, it was a bit strange that none of the tables seemed to order that. Instead, claypots of beautifully cooked porridge were the centerpieces. It does make one wonder, how does their curry really fare then?

They have quite a variety of porridges, from fish to frog to prawns and our choices were fish (RM10) and the 3 eggs 粥 (RM11). The texture and consistency was just how I like my porridge, almost like a paste. My personal favourite was probably the eggy porridge with the subtle blend of flavours of the century egg and salted duck eggs.

Another dish that wowed me was the Butter Pumpkin (RM10). There’s something about the savoury hints of the egg strands combined with the sweetness of the pumpkin that just works.

I had high hopes for the salted egg eggplant (RM10) as it sounded like a perfect combination. Yet I personally felt that the taste of the eggplant wasn’t brought out by the batter as much as the pumpkin was. But still, quite an ingenious way to deep fry eggplant!

Taking inspiration from Thai food is the kerabu paku (RM7) where blanched fiddlehead ferns are tossed with dried shrimps, chilli, onions in a sourish dressing and liberally topped with shallots.

We also had a choy poh (radish) omelette (RM8) which will go quite well with the plainer porridge.

Also had a portion of the chicken which was firm to bite. Perfect with the accompanying chili & ginger dip.

Overall, the service was quick and the food was reasonably priced. And they have other items on their menu which I would love to try. Only issue is probably the parking around the area. But Malaysians are such a bunch of creative parkers…

Restoran OK Kari Kepala Ikan 巴东咖喱鱼头餐厅
No53-4, Ground Floor,
Jalan Barat,
Off Jalan Imbi,
55100 Kuala Lumpur.

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