Delicious Hawker Food in Glenmarie

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Only U Restaurant

Address: No. 16-G, Jalan Jurureka U1/40, Hicom-glenmarie Industrial Park, Selangor, 40150 Shah Alam, Malaysia

Contact: +60 17-288 5575

Business Hours: Monday to Saturday 7am – 3pm, closed on Sundays
When you think of Glenmarie, you’d be forgiven for just thinking bout car showrooms, factories and long stretches of road with lots of roundabouts. You’d hardly consider it a place to find authentic hawker food, let alone really delicious ones at a really cheap price.
Well, you’d only find it at Only U. A hawker-shop restaurant in the middle of a long stretch of shophouses in the pseudo-industrial residential area of Glenmarie.
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The inside’s like any regular kopitiam. Totally no frills, looks relatively neat but ultimately very minimalist (without trying in the hipster-faux manner). There is one main stall there that seems to sell everything.
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All types of noodles, from the curry varieties to the Kampar ones and even Hokkien prawn mee ones. There was even pork noodles (seen on other tables).
I tried their Hokkien Mee (or Prawn Noodles for non-Penangites).
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It was really good. Slight mistake in ordering ‘large’ as their large was gigantic. See a comparison of the large next to my wife’s regular bowl of curry noodles.
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The broth was really good. Unmistakably prawn-goodness, few strips of kangkung, half a half-boiled egg, thinly sliced slivers of lean pork meat and very tiny boiled shrimps all mixed into yellow mee and beehoon soaked in their very delicious soup broth. The chilli was ok, though not spicy enough.
My wife had the curry noodles. It came with slices of honey roast pork (char siew). She claimed it was alright only. I had a taste. It was pretty decent, but not the best out there.
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Overall, a decent place to pop in for a quick hawker meal fix, if you happen to be in the Glenmarie area.
I got a shock at the bill. It was really cheap, compared to others in Klang Valley. I hope they maintain this pricing. I guess being in Glenmarie (Shah Alam area), they can’t really charge too expensive.
Bonus for this place: just 2-3 doors away is the famous Lim’s Fried Chicken. They have their own kickass rice and curry to eat with your fried chicken, I heard, but I didn’t get to try (no thanks to my ‘large’ bowl of hokkien mee). I did pop over to take-away 1 large piece of fried chicken goodness though.
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RATING

Pricing: 9/10 – Very cheap for its taste and quality

Quality: 7/10 – Good stuff, not the best hawker food out there but it is good enough to satisfy a fix.

Environment: 6/10 – Nothing to shout about and not for people who like good atmosphere. Your typical chinese kopitiam

Service: 7/10 – Not bad. Food came pretty fast.

Location: 6/10 – All the way in Glenmarie. You won’t go there unless you’re there for a specific purpose

Comeback Factor: Only if I’m in the area and want hawker food.

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Porky Breakfast Place inside Starling Mall

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Red Kettle @ The Starling
Address: F130, 1st Flr, The Starling Mall,, Jalan SS 21/37, Damansara Utama, Damansara Uptown, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Contact:  +60 16-389 9130
Business Hours: Everyday 10am – 10pm

Starling Mall is a new kid in town, when it comes to suburban malls in PJ (at least at press time, judging by how many malls are sprouting up as we speak). Being new, it has a  very airy, open and modern design. This look and feel has translated to the food outlets in the mall, Red Kettle being one of them.

With a very open, breezy concept with an unobstructed view of the outside of the mall (the shoplots of Uptown), it gives a laidback feel with its Scandinavian, minimalist designed furniture and fittings.

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Was told that they have a very decent selection of breads and confectionary, though we did not try it. Instead, due to our hunger, we went for the heavy brunchy stuff: The Red Kettle Dutch Baby and Sourdough Bacon Cheese & Eggs.

 

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Red Kettle Dutch Baby is its equivalent of the big breakfast, the only difference is in an additional pancake lining the hot cast-iron girdle. The pancake was nice and soft, without too much flavour but meant to soak in the drippings from the egg, homemade pork sausage and mushrooms. The mushrooms and salad were pretty standard fare, and the pork sausage was good. Chunky, flavourful and didn’t have too much of that processed meat feel. They even threw in a piece of sourdough bread to keep you full. To me, what stood out was the eggs. I chose scrambled, a style which many places unfortunately could not get right. This place does it perfect; soft, fluffy and slight wet folded in nice ribbons.

If I have one bone to pick with this dish is that there’s way too much carbs and it gets you filled up very fast. Other big breakfast combos have only 1 slice of toast or baguette or sourdough, combined with grilled vege and protein and eggs and maybe beans. This one’s addition of the at least 2 cm thick pancake lining the pan makes for way too much carbs. They should replace the sourdough with something else, say beans or maybe bacon strips, to give the meal a more balanced feel.

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The Sourdough Bacon Cheese & Eggs was exactly like what it’s named, with the addition of some salad. It was good. The eggs, sunny side up, were done just right and its runny yolk was a great natural ‘sauce’ to coat the melted cheese, thick bacon slices with sourdough bread. Portioning is just right, and I am particularly impressed with the fact that they used quality bacon slices, which were leaner and thicker in cut compared to other places where the bacon tends to be mostly fat, very thin and almost crackling like in texture. This one had a good bite and not too oily.

Coffee’s good, as I went for the Vietnamese drip to accompany the meal. Very chilled and nice place to meet up, catch up with friends or just enjoy a lazy weekend brunch.

RATING

Pricing: 6/10 – It’s quite standard for a modern breakfast-bakery type place. Plus, it’s inside a mall, so it’s understandable that they need to cover costs. A brunch of 2 heavy-hitting meals with 2 drinks set us back RM70, so about 35 per pax inclusive GST.

Quality: 8.5/10 – Very good with a really homemade feel to it.

Environment: 8.5/10 – Relaxing deli feel with nice eating area inside a mall.

Service: 7/10 – Generally good and besides ordering, the rest is self-service.

Location: 8/10 – Inside a mall in Uptown, right in the heart of suburban new PJ.

Comeback Factor: Most likely place to have brunch when I’m in Starling, but since there are still so many good breakfast places in PJ, will perhaps want to try others.

Old School Banana Leaf Rice in a Mess

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Sri Ganapathi Mess

Address: 47, Jalan 1/10, Seksyen 1, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Contact: +60 16-279 1384

Business Hours: Everyday 11.30am – 4pm

One of the definitions of the word ‘mess’ refers to “a building or room in which members of the armed forces take their meals; mess hall”.

Well, no one knows whether Sri Ganapathy Mess was actually used as a building or room for soldiers to have their meals before, but one thing’s for sure is that the food they serve there today is nothing short of a beautiful, delicious mess which you want to keep coming back for more.

Located deep inside an old part of PJ State, it is actually an old bungalow which they have converted into a banana leaf restaurant. Well, it isn’t so much of a restaurant as it is a simple, no-frills, minimalist, canteen-style place for people to have an unpretentious meal of hearty banana leaf that pulls no punches in terms of taste.

 

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As you walk in the entrance, your senses are immediately assailed by heady aroma of frying meat from their huge woks adorning the entrance, mixed with heady spices from hot curries being prepared. A very clever positioning, if you ask me. If you were not hungry when you were outside, you are guaranteed to be as you make your walk down to the seating areas.

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The seating area on the outside is like a typical school canteen. A long, aluminium top table with benches on either side for people to sit and have their meals. Inside, you have more regular 4 and 6 seater tables inside the rooms of the old bungalow. Some rooms are even air-conditioned but nothing fancy.

The highlight of this place definitely comes in the form of its food. Oh, its glorious food. One of the highlights is the crab rasam, which tastes like the most flavour-packed, potent combo of crab goodness distilled with spices into soup. Simply gorgeous.

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The rice and vegetable set is pretty standard, with the usual medley of lovely vegetable.

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The meats are great, with their mutton varuval and dry chicken curry tasting extremely awesome. Their crunchy fried stuff also packs a real whallop, with their ikan bulus so addictive you can’t stop eating it.

 

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A great, value-for-money banana leaf place that is sure to satisfy any cravings for BLR when the mood hits.

RATING

Pricing: 6/10 – Very reasonable and cheaper than your more popular or viral BLR places.

Quality: 9/10 – Great stuff, delicious and good to the last drop.

Environment: 6/10 – Nothing to shout about and not for people who like good atmosphere. However, if you like the school canteen or mess-type seating, this is surely a good place for you.

Service: 7/10 – Pretty decent for a place with such fast turnover.

Location: 6/10 – It’s quite deep inside a very old part of PJ State and a bit far from town.

Comeback Factor: Definitely, if I am in PJ and wants some good BLR.

Chowdown Edition : Chicken Chop Fight

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In this new type of article, I will pit 2 contenders in the same food genre and find out which one tops the other in terms of pricing, quality, taste, environment, service, location and comeback factor.

Today, it’s all about the chicken chop. Not any hipster, fusion or fine dining style variation but the old school, coffee shop-style, greasy, delicious breaded and fried chicken on a plate doused with delicious sauce and served by a Western Food stall.

Contender 1:

Western Food inside Restoran Hup Soon

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Address: 7, Jalan SS 3/29, Taman University, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Business Hours (coffeeshop only, chicken chop probably at night only):
Everyday 7am – 10pm, except closed on Tuesday
Contender 2:Western Food inside Restoran Kuan Yew

Address: Jalan SS 3/31, Taman Universiti, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Contact: +60 12-383 4762
Business Hours (coffeeshop only, chicken chop probably at night only):
Everyday 6am – 12pm, 6pm – 11pm
THE REVIEW:
Hup Soon’s Chicken Chop

The coffee shop is your archetypal suburban kopitiam you’d grow up eating. Very familiar feel, nostalgic and comforting. It feels lived in and tells a story of a different era gone by. The western food stall was a throwback to the good ole days of simple, straight to the point, no-frills style of block capital fonts illuminated by white lighting. Fantastic.

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They have many different choices of western fare, as is the case with all respectable old school western food outlets, but our main aim is chicken chop, so chicken chop was what we ordered.

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It looked the part alright. Crispy yet airy batter drenched in Hainanese style tomato sauce which had chopped carrots, peas and onions. Served with crinkle fries and coleslaw, it was as old school as you could get.

The chicken was sufficiently tenderised, and tasted really good. Not too oily yet retained its moisture. It worked pretty well with the batter. Coleslaw was alright, and the fries was what you’d expect from a bag of frozen fries. Combined together, it was a nostalgic trip for your tastebuds to days where a good plate of chicken chop was a treat on days your mum decides not to cook.

Satisfied. But we were not done yet, because …

Kuan Yew’s Chicken Chop

We literally hopped next door for Kuan Yew’s chicken chop. Yes folks, these 2 coffee shops were located next to each other.

This coffee shop seemed just a tad more occupied with people, as they had more variety of hawker fare and it seemed more people (read: ah peks) went there to drink (read: Carlsberg / Tiger large bottle with small glasses with ice cubes).

Well, that isn’t our main aim, which was the chicken chop. So we tried.

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The sauce for this was a bit different. It wasn’t so tomato-ey and it didn’t have the carrots or peas. It was more creamy, slightly more towards pasta sauce consistency and less tangy. It was very nice, though just different slightly from the more familiar taste of Hup Soon’s one.

Chicken was good also. Almost the same standard as Hup Soon, though it loses out very (and I mean very) slightly in terms of crispiness of batter and size of chicken. However, the chicken was even juicier and oilier than Hup Soon’s. The batter was also slightly oilier. Fries was about the same standard but the coleslaw had a slight edge over Hup Soon’s as it was less creamy and more fresh than Hup Soon’s.

VERDICT & RATING

Pricing:  Hup Soon’s is RM1 cheaper than Kuan Yew’s. (1 point)
Quality: Both are equal in this respect (tied)
Taste: Hup Soon’s had the slight edge thanks to its sauce and batter (1 point)
Environment: Both are your quintessential kopitiam but the environment at Kuan Yew feels a tad more attuned for drinking and it seems they have slightly more variety in terms of other food, so this one goes to Kuan Yew (1 point)
Service: Hup Soon’s came faster than Kuan Yew’s though that may be because there were more people at Kuan Yew’s (0.5 point)
Location: Both are literally next to each other (tied)
Comeback Factor: For the chicken, Hup Soon’s. For chicken, hangout and drinks, Kuan Yew’s (tied)
TOTAL: Hup Soon (2.5) wins Kuan Yew’s (1)

Seafood, Sashimi & Western @ The Fat Fish

 

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The Fat Fish
Address: 15-0-5 Shoplex Mont’ Kiara,, Mont Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Business Hours: Everyday 11.30am – 10pm, closed on Mondays
Who would’ve thought a mish-mash deli that serves lightish Western fare like sandwiches, pastas and pizzas together with a full-blown seafood counter stocked with fresh sashimi, tuna, scallops, sea urchins and crayfish would work so well?
Tucked inside a shoplex next to 1Mont Kiara shopping complex, you’d be forgiven for missing it as it isn’t that easily spotted from the main road thanks to shady trees and Coffee Bean being right in front.
But once you go there, you’d find a very nice, chilled, deli that cooks food for you too.
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First-timers may be confused wondering whether it’s a deli, a shop selling seafood, a Japanese resto or a Western food diner. It’s all of the above, under one roof.
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The selection of seafood, which includes freshly chucked oysters, was simply impressive and oozing with freshness.
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We tried their generously cut thick slices of salmon sashimi. Very value-for-money. The salmon belly was especially oily and to die for. If you’re a fan of salmon sashimi, you won’t regret hitting up on these babies.
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Not to be outdone by the fresh seafood, we found the pasta selection pretty decent and comes packed with creative flavours. For instance, I tried the salted duck egg pasta with smoked duck breast slices. Truly savoury goodness.
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Others in our group had the truffle pasta and even a mentaiko pasta where the pasta was seasoned and cooked with … mentaiko!
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The combo of Japanese sashimi and pasta shouldn’t have worked but it did.
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There was even a sushi donut made out of an assortment of sushi. It was a novelty more than anything.
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Overall, a very satisfying experience, and a place worth visiting over and over again. Would recommend it to sashimi lovers, fresh seafood lovers or people in groups who want a good time with good food and relaxing environment in one of the more posh areas of suburban KL.

RATING

Pricing: 7/10 – For the freshness and good portioning, I’d say it’s value-for-money. It may be more expensive than just eating at a Japanese restaurant, but the slices they cut here are much thicker and satisfies much more than a normal restaurant.

Quality: 9/10 – Ultra fresh and you pick your own stuff.

Environment: 8.5/10 – Relaxing deli feel with nice eating area.

Service: 7.5/10 – Generally good with friendly wait staff, though may get busy at crowded times and service may be a tad slower.

Location: 8/10 – In the heart of Hartamas / Kiara area. It’s next to Plaza 1MK, opposite Plaza Mont Kiara and a stone’s throw from Desa Sri Hartamas.

Comeback Factor: Will be my regular haunt to satisfy seafood and sashimi cravings.

Smoked Meats @ Bangi

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Itik Salai Mastar
Address: Kampung Sungai Ramal Dalam, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia
Business Hours: Everyday 11am – 10pm except closed on Fridays
A relatively hidden gem of a place with great nasi campur Melayu with smoked goodness ranging from its infamous duck (itik salai), beef, chicken and fish doused with is infamous Masak Lemak Cili Api.
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The place is actually a lot inside a Malay food court in Bangi where there are other stalls such as those selling drinks, kuihs, sundries and even popcorn.
From KL or PJ, it’s a decent 40 minute by car into Bangi and then drive until you find Medan Selera Adikku. Once there, park and walk towards the corner lot that has a lot of people queuing up (see pic above) or where there are lots of smoke coming from its smoking section (see pic below).
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Next to its smoking station you would see several large woks and pans bubbling with its delicious Masak Lemak Cili Api, a yellow-looking curry that does not look that spicy but packs quite a whallop in the heat department, together with savoury spiciness.
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You can choose to order the meats doused or cooked inside is Masak Lemak Cili Api or, if you’re a carnivore like me who wants to appreciate the full smokiness of the meat, you order the meat plain and ask for the curry as an accompaniment. Like this.
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The rice set comes with 2 slices of cucumber and a piece of deep-fried ikan masin. You can then choose however much meat you want. I whacked 1 duck leg, 1 portion of thinly carved smoked beef and grilled ikan keli (catfish). Some in our group also tried the variations of the meat cooked in the curry. And there was also salted duck egg to add on to your feast.
The duck was extremely good with smoky flavour complimenting its gamey duck oil smell with just the hint of seasoning.
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It was an extremely indulgent meal where you eat in no-fuss, no-frills, canteen-like atmosphere; perfect for a lazy afternoon spent with friends and family sprinkled with great laughter, eating with your hands and filling yourselves to your heart’s desire.
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A very nice place and one I would definitely come back again (considering the prices are still very value-for-money).
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RATING

Pricing: 9/10 – Very cheap and affordable if you live in PJ/KL and are used to getting chopped to pieces when you eat out.

Quality: 8.5/10 – Very great pieces of meat cooked in Malay kampung style.

Environment: 7/10 – Laidback, chilled and very no-frills. The only slight drawback is that the tables can get swamped with flies.

Service: 7.5/10 – Though it is self-served, the people helping to man the lines and serve the food are extremely helpful and would even help bring side plates and utensils to your table if they see you struggling with more food than you can manage.

Location: 6/10 – It’s in Bangi, a town outside of Greater KL which is around a 40-minute drive from the city if there is no traffic jam.

Comeback Factor: Will definitely consider when craving for smoked duck or entertaining out-of-towners who want a slightly off-the-beaten trail foody goodness. But the distance would deter too regular visits.

Japanese Dining & Grill

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Koyaku Japanese Dining & Grill – Tropicana Avenue
Address: P-G-16, Tropicana, Persiaran Tropicana, Tropicana, 47410 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Contact: +60 3-7890 0555
Business Hours: Everyday 6am – 10.30pm

 

We love our sushi bars and fresh raw fish, but the good ones are usually far from home and pricey.

So it came as a pleasant surprise to discover this little gem of a place called Koyaku that serves a selection of fresh, affordable sushi, sashimi, rolls and the full works, inside a quaint little outdoor sushi bar relatively near to where we live.

 

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Still quite new but the place is cosy, the fish are fresh and if you sit indoors, you get to dine with quirky Japanese mood music playing in the background and with the sushi chef and helpers slicing up fresh pieces of fish for your orders right in front of you. 

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Quality of the sashimi is pretty decent, though the slices aren’t as thick as a mid-to-high end commercial sushi bar like Ichiro for example. But just enough to satiate a sudden sushi crave.

They also have several creative and varied sushi rolls utilising lots of stuff such as spicy mayo, cheese, avacado, prawns, tobiko and different types of fish.

The menu is pretty good for a small-ish establishment like this. Prefer it to the Sushi Zanmai’s or Sakae Sushi’s (let’s not even mention Sushi King).

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Come check Koyaku out. Opposite Casa Tropicana and just outside the newly opened Village Grocer.

RATING

Pricing: 7.5/10 – Affordable for a sushi outlet and reasonably priced.

Quality: 7.5/10 – Good stuff for a small outlet like this.

Environment: 8/10 – Very nice especially if you dine outdoors or inside the little sushi shack.

Service: 7.5/10 – Good and attentive.

Location: 6.5/10 – Residential area of Casa Tropicana area. It’s located in the new commercial development called Tropicana Avenue.

Comeback Factor: Yes, when the mood strikes for sushi.

Brunch @ Milligram – Coffee & Eatery

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Milligram – Coffee & Eatery
Address: No. 8, Jalan SS26/4, Taman Mayang Jaya, Petaling Jaya, 47301 Selangor, Malaysia
Business Hours: Everyday 11am – 11pm
Discovered another gem of a brunch place deep inside an old part of new PJ (Taman Mayang, to be exact). It is along the same row as shophouses from where the famous Williams is located.
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Well, actually, it’s more than just a brunch place as we discovered it is open 11 to 11. But it had a very nice, breezy, brunch-y feel. So for the purposes of this post, will just confine it to the great brunch grub which we tried.
Also, the sign on their display glass panel is very misleading. It says ‘Your Friendly Neighbourhood Coffee Place’. They are WRONG. It should be amended to ‘Your Friendly Neighbourhood Coffee AND GOOD FOOD Place’. Coz we loved the food.
It was 11am and we were the only customers there. Had the whole place to ourselves.
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The interior and decor really does give you a very pleasant, warm ambience. Staff are friendly, helpful and you get the feeling that they know their stuff pretty well.
They have a rather decent selection of cakes, cookies, macaroons and dessert stuff. They even have quite a great juice and tea selection despite calling themselves a coffee place. A very understated place.
In less than half an hour, by about 11.30am or so, the place started filling up. And, from the body language and look of the patrons, you could tell that they were regulars. We felt like the newcomers. A great indication of a place having great food is seeing many regulars.
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Well, the food did not disappoint.
I ordered the aptly named Kilogram Brekkie which was well worth putting on the extra kilo for: it had fluffy omelette, crusty bread, baked beans, sauteed mushrooms, vegetables, fruit, streaky bacon and a giant juicy pork sausage. The portioning was just right. Not too little to make a mockery of the “big breakfast” tag and not too much to make you full till dinner.
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My wife had Pork Bacon & Poached Egg Carbonara, which was awesome too. Runny, creamy and sinfully delicious. The pasta was al dente and perfectly delicious to slurp down with the great sauce. They were rather generous with the bacon too.
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Very cosy, no-frills environment with seriously good selection of breakfast and lunch choices. We loved it. Will definitely be back to try out more of their stuff.

p.s. – an added bonus for animal lovers is that this place seems to love cats. There are a few friendly cats hanging around outside, acting like they are very used to this place. I saw a bowl of kibbles and water outside the shop, signifying that this place takes care of them! Good on them! Any place that is kind to animals is a place worth supporting.

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p.p.s – we found out later through their instagram that this cat’s name is Gram, who is a regular around here!
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RATING

Pricing: 8.5/10 – Extremely value for money. Their stuff seems approx 20-30% cheaper than other equivalents at other outlets. Perhaps being in such an old residential area means cheaper rent which they transfer to us by way of cheaper pricing. Great!

Quality: 8.5/10 – Great stuff, full of flavour and portion is great.

Environment: 8.5/10 – Cosy, relaxed, breezy, simple. Just nice for a nice meal.

Service: 8.5/10 – Good wait staff and relatively fast (perhaps because we were the only ones when we ordered).

Location: 8/10 – Taman Mayang area, a sleepy old little residential area dwarfed by its more famous neighbours Taman Megah and Damansara Jaya. Old-timers would have no problem finding this place. Just say “Williams area”.

Comeback Factor: Of course.

Homely Family Diner @ Table & Apron

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Table & Apron (formerly known as The Kitchen Table)
Address: 23, Jalan SS 20/11, Damansara Kim, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Phone:+60 3-7733 4000
Business Hours: Everyday except Monday, 11.30am – 5pm, 6pm – 10pm
Do not let the quiet neighbourhood and simple exterior fool you. This place is a cosy, family-oriented diner with delicious grub and really good wait staff waiting for you to uncover.
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The Damansara Kim area has gained quite a reputation for being the locale for sleeper hits. There are quite a few good grub places here, from Chinese to Thai to porky Western joints. This is one of them.
For those not sure where it’s located, it’s the same row as the more famous Euro Deli.
Firstly, the place itself is very welcoming, warm and vibrant. It is an open kitchen concept at the back of the shop lot which makes the patrons feel more engaged and in tune with the energy all around.
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Next, the decor is very minimalist but still stylish enough not to look drab. It has the feel of a hipster cafe crossed with a Western family diner.
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The food is Western-style fused with Malaysian ingredients / flavours. Menu does not offer too many options, it is only 2 pages, so they obviously subscribe to “quality over quantity”.
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We tried Charred Eggplant, which was infused with served on sourdough bread. Tasted very fresh and good. It’s basically their take on the classic bruschetta.
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We then had Paku and Green Mango, which was their take on a salad with local twist. The dried shrimp, pickled mango and peanuts all worked fantastically. It was lovely.
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Next to arrive was Calamari & Citrus. Simple dish, but fresh and springy. Succulent roasted / lightly grilled slices of calamari squeezed with lime, doused in butter and hints of celery.
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What came next was the Ulam Herbed Crab Rice. This was a very well-made dish. Nasi ulam is one of my traditional local favourites. So, to taste it in a modern resto with crab meat flavouring it was gorgeous.
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Next to arrive was the Mushroom Orecchiette. Despite not knowing how to pronounce it properly, we knew the moment it landed on our table that it would taste fantastic. It has a very homey, rustic kind of feel. Essentially, it’s a mini bowl (or cup) shaped pasta in miso butter sauce with liberal amounts of mushrooms. Oh, and they crack one semi-raw kampung egg on top of it. So simple, so yummy.
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For our meats, we could not leave this place without trying its Sticky Pork Ribs. Sanbanto pork marinaded in some kicap manis glaze and then cooked until soft and yummy. This was gorgeous. The marinade was equal to the quality of the meat. An educational nugget for those interested: Sanbanto pork is not pork from Japan (despite its name) but an area in Johor (Jemaluang, to be exact) where they get ISO22000 certification for their pork. Real local quality stuff.
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The next dish was, to me, my personal favourite of the night: simple fried chicken. No pretences, no fancy sauces, no nothing but simple deep-fried chicken that has skin so crunchy you feel like you’re biting into a bunch of crumpled paper and yet super-moist and juicy meat on the inside. There’s nothing more I could say to justify this simple great dish but to say “you gotta try it”. Perfect dish if you’re washing it down with ice cold beer (they have craft brew bottles there too).
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For dessert, we tried their Earl Grey Creme Brulee, Apple Pie and then Lime & Lemon Curd (served on short bread). I’m not much of a dessert person, so can’t really tell if they are good. As far as I felt, they were alright. I’ve had better desserts elsewhere, so maybe desserts aren’t their main strengths.

 

Overall, we really enjoyed our dinner at this unpretentious, cosy place with good food. The place is rather small-ish, so it can get quite loud due to proximity of their tables to each other. Depending on whether you like a very vibrant place or not, this could be a good or bad thing. I like it coz I don’t mind a lil spunky environment when I eat. Gives great energy. The staff were excellent. Well-trained, super polite and prompt in service.

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RATING

Pricing: 7/10 – Pretty standard pricing for a restaurant of its level. Our bill came up to around 400, working out to about 66 per pax. Not bad, considering the stuff we had.

Quality: 8.5/10 – Very, very good food and fresh Western food fused with local style. Dessert was average though, otherwise would have given a 9.

Environment: 8.5/10 – Cosy, vibrant, simple, energetic. I like.

Service: 9.5/10 – Couldn’t have asked for more polite, smiley and nice waiters & waitresses (around 4 different servers served us tonight and all were equally awesome).

Location: 7/10 – Damansara Kim area. A leafy, quiet, suburban part of PJ with lots of hidden gems for food.

Comeback Factor: Of course.

Porky Thai Food in a Mall

BITE-SIZED

Thai Hou Sek (1 Utama)
Address: 1 Utama Shopping Centre, S32 Second Floor, 1,, 1, Lebuh Bandar Utama, Bandar Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Phone: +60 3-7731 7933
Business Hours: Everyday, 10am – 10pm
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Sometimes, you would shop, shop and shop (or if you’re a husband / boyfriend / son / brother, accompany your women to do so) for an entire day at a mall, and come dinnertime, feel in the mood for something delicious, filling and spicy.
This is the place for such an occasion.
Located in one of the upper floors of the new Old Wing (with the New Wing being now older in terms of look and style), Thai Hou Sek is a resto serving Thai food that is loaded with porky goodness. So, if you’re a porky lover and also someone who loves your soury Thai food, it’s a bonus.
The place is very cosy, with artful decor and enough eclectic mix of art-pieces to give it a modern and stylish feel. The wait staff were pretty decent (though an important caveat: I went during school hols so the temp staff were mostly enthusiastic students probably just filling their time during their school break).
On to the food.
Nothing spectacular, but decent and nice. Portions are good, the amount of pork served are generous, and the freshness of ingredients (very important for Thai cuisine) are there. The only downside to all of this is the pricing. You could expect to pay maybe 10-20% more than a resto of its equivalent standard, but that’s a given considering rental in 1 Utama isn’t exactly cheap.
As there were only 2 of us, we had the following:
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Braised pork belly with flat rice noodles. Delicious, sweet and full of porky oiliness and comes with hard boiled eggs and some preserved vegetables for that tangy taste difference. Overall, pretty good, but recommended for sharing as the sweetness could be a bit overwhelming come the end of the bowl. The braised pork was soft and delicious.
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Siew Yoke (crispy roast pork belly) Tomyum. This was good. The tomyum had enough spiciness and kick, while the roast pork gave it a fantastic porky taste. Caveat though: I am a big fan of siew yoke, and I think it goes with ANY food. So I am still not too certain whether the tomyum taste was elevated a few notches higher than it actually was simply because of the roast pork belly. Overall, very satisfying.
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Minced pork with basil leaves and rice, pad-thai style. This was alright. Nothing out of this world but yet it ticks all the boxes. The rice was a tad too soft though, and the dish would have been elevated had they used proper Thai jasmine rice. Still, a good dish to fill up your stomache and tickle your tastebuds.
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Overall, we were happy with our meal, while being conscious of the fact that the price may not be considered too value-for-money simply because it is in a shopping complex. It is still one of the better food options inside 1U. However, if I am not already inside 1U, I would not drive out all the way there just for this when I want Thai food.

RATING

Pricing: 5/10 – A bit on the premium side, due to the fact that it is inside one of Klang Valley’s higher end shopping malls.

Quality: 7/10 – Good stuff with good taste that does not disappoint. The pork in every dish was the bonus.

Environment: 7.5/10 – Quite nicely done up and tucked inside a busy shopping mall. A respite from shopping and walking it is.

Service: 7.5/10 – Good and attentive.

Location: 7/10 – Highly convenient if you are already in 1U. Even if you are not, 1U is one of the more strategically located and accessible malls in PJ.

Comeback Factor: Only if I was already inside 1U shopping. If I was not in 1U, there are better options out there.